Rapper-turned-singer leaves behind beats for band


By Cynthia Romero

Timothy Dark spends his days sifting through antiques, setting out furniture, props and vintage clothing on the sidewalk outside of Billy’s Antiques & Props on East Houston St. for passersby to catch a glimpse of the past. Dark may have an eye for vintage finds, but his mind is always on his music.

“I’ve been rapping for the past 12 years,” Dark said. “I used to rap with a CD that had drums and strings, but then my friend John recorded my tracks with his guitar.”

Fast-forward a couple of years and Dark’s twosome became a full eight-member unit. The band includes Lisa Bianco on guitar, Dan Policar on keys, Colin Kasprowicz on bass, Ben Bynum on drums, Kathy Zimmer and Sarah Turk on vocals and Sunnyburnz for his “flows.”

With six albums under his belt, Dark said his latest album has a much different sound. His song “Who Am I?” deals with a person’s struggle to establish an identity.

“My music has evolved a lot, because I don’t rap as much anymore, but I am singing,” he said. “The sound is folky, rock and pop, in addition to the rapping. And because I have so many talented musicians to work with, the sound is just very eclectic.”

Born and raised in the Bronx, Dark said his upbringing has had a big impact on his music. A recent performance at Webster Hall has made Dark’s outlook a positive one for his future music projects.

“My friend Lach really helped me put my music out there,” he said. “He moved the open mic out to the sidewalk of Webster Hall. I went by and ended up getting the gig. That night was really memorable for me.”

The songwriting experience really isn’t difficult for Dark at all.

“The night Obama became president, I cried and then I wrote a song,” he said. “Also, the night Michael Jackson died, I wrote a song about that. It’s really all about what’s going on around the world and what’s affecting me.”

A songwriter at heart, Dark collaborated with musician Nellie McKay on his song “Religion.” Dark describes his partnership with McKay as one of the best experiences of his life.

“I was introduced to her by her old manager at the Sidewalk Cafe and we’ve been friends ever since,” he said. “I was also her tour manager for a week and we went to Seattle and San Fran. It was one of the best weeks of my life.”

As part of the Anti-Folk Festival, Dark recently performed songs off his latest album, “The World According to Timothy Dark,” at Sidewalk Cafe on Avenue A.