QueenBee, Francesca Valle
Born and raised in the mean streets of Los Angeles, Ca, Francesca grew up surrounded by and in the middle of “the industry”. She started her career path as a musician and performer before she was 5 years old. Alumnae of CSULAs music department with an emphasis in classical voice and guitar, Francesca’s skills cover a vast array of information. With a background and formal education in opera and “the classics”, Francesca is equally comfortable on stage with a chamber orchestra as she is with a rock band.
Francesca started teaching music at the early age of 16 with great success. She has honed her skills both in the private studio and in the classroom. Having served as musical faculty the California Music Academy, Cornelia Connelly High School, Pasadena Saturday Music Conservatory, and East Los Angeles College, Francesca sharpened skills in formal educational communities. She has been afforded incredible opportunities to lead large choirs and sing before sold out stadiums outside of her teaching studios. Francesca has performed across 4 continents as a solo artist, chorister and instrumentalist. Francesca has had the privilege of performing for several heads of state in some of the most cherished venues in the world.
Francesca has released two solo albums and contributed to countless recordings over the past 20 years. She is regularly published in respected musical periodicals and writing journals. She is also an internationally successful clinician and educator. She has taught online for more than 10 years and was no stranger to virtual lessons when Covid 19 changed the world forever.
With a constant effort to maintain a professional studio learning environment and with a focus on reading skills and solid technique, Francesca’s students enjoy lessons packed with information and light-heartedness. Francesca’s students can be seen on major television networks, radio stations and performing all over the world in various projects.
With a passion for giving back, Francesca leads the education department for Voices of Our City Choir, a community choir that serves San Diego’s unsheltered and homeless populations as a full time volunteer. There she leads songwriting clinics and generates curriculum for this awarding winning program. Recently VOOCC made several appearances on America’s Got Talent and were awarded the Golden Buzzer by Terry Crews when they performed their original song, created in Francesca’s songwriting classes, entitled Sounds of the Sidewalk.
In 2019, in an effort to help more clients and better leverage her efforts Francesca created a collaborative studio focused on vocalists and artist development to more closely work with teachers she had been mentoring and to allow her see and influence more clients everyday. The first teachers Francesca brought onboard were professional teachers and musicians that had already been studying with Francesca and were ready to start sharing their own incredible knowledge and process. Francesca was the first QueenBee at BugByte Studios but she has and will continue to share that role with other collaborators that have been elevated from the role of NurseBee at BugByte. In the building of this collaboration, Francesca has focused on empowering all humans to find their voices, but pays special attention to marginalized folks in various communities. She seeks out women, members of the LGBT community, and people of color to model BugByte’s values and empower our students and instructors. It is important to her that BugByte students can see themselves in their educators and that she models her values of equity and love.
QueenBee, Kinnie Dye
Kinnie’s roots are in Oklahoma. She was singing in church before she could read. Kinnie is an alumni of Oklahoma City University and studied under the late Florence Birdwell, one of the world’s most accomplished and renowned voice teachers. The influence is palpable, not only in Kinnie’s voice, but in each lesson she teachers.
After college, Kinnie moved to NYC where she toured with several Broadway National Tours. There, she honed her chops, and tested her skills in some of the most challenging gigs in the industry. She loved the tour life, but wanted a more diverse musical experience. She began singing for her friend’s band and booking tours across the country. In 2016, Kinnie parted ways from the band and began recording her own music with the help of San Diego producer, Jeff Berkley. She has multiple projects available wherever you listen to music. When she’s not teaching, she’s performing and writing music. Kinnie has written dozens of personalized songs for couples on their wedding day, it’s one of her favorite gigs.
Kinnie was one of the founding members of Rock and Roll Camp San Diego where she not only program planned but coached and mentored hundreds of girls all learning instruments and writing songs for the first time. Perhaps one of the most optimistic humans you will ever meet, Kinnie can find the path to joy with little effort and her energy is infectious. Beloved by her students and peers, Kinnie is a constant source of light to our Hive. She was one of the first teaching collaborators to team up with BugByte and has had great influence in its development. Our founder jokingly refers to Kinnie as her, “other self”. She is a valued and trusted member of our leadership and that is why she shares the title of “QueenBee”.
NurseBee, Eulis Kay
Born in Los Angeles, California, Eulis Kay has been involved with music since age 10. The clarinet started him on a journey through several styles and genres from classical to jazz, klezmer to fusion. The love of melody soon fostered an interest in the tonal colors and versatility of the human voice, and High School saw Eulis embrace both instrumental and vocal music. After majoring in Clarinet Performance for 2 years at the California State University, Los Angeles, the urge for singing took over and Eulis switched his focus to vocal performance in 2003. After majoring in Clarinet Performance at the California State University, Los Angeles, Eulis switched his focus to Vocal Performance and began working as a musician full time. This opened up a whole new world of performance opportunities including operas (The Medium, Hansel und Gretel), musicals (Little Shop of Horrors, The Fantasticks), choral groups (Five of Five a cappella, The Pacific Chorale) and stage shows (Disneyland Resort, Tokyo Disney Resort).
Through opera, musical theatre, choral groups, and stage shows as well as his work as a session singer, church musician, and actor in television and film productions, Eulis has built a varied career as a performer, musician, and teacher.
Today, Eulis resides in Southern California and splits his work and play time between Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties performing, teaching, writing and arranging.
With an extensive performance background and a strong musical skillset, Eulis is a valuable member of BugByte’s team. in his genuine curiosity and love for watching the growth in his students, Eulis brings a focus to our clients that is often described as “game changing” and “leveling up”.
NurseBee, Kahlil Nash
A graduate of both San Diego’s renowned SDSCPA and The Sound Academy; Kahlil was one of the youngest nominees ever for a San Diego Music Award in 2021 for his self-produced sophomore album. Kahlil has identified as a musician, essentially, since birth. In his decade of professional music making, Kahlil has recorded and performed with Bootsy Collins, Andra Day, Mike-N-Keys and many other notable artists. An avid performer, Kahlil works for hire not only as a singer, but as a guitarist, pianist and drummer. He is currently producing several albums for various SoCal artists. An advocate for local collaboration, Kahlil has founded a non-profit, “The Garage”, in service of local musicians and live music making. He hosts weekly performances for in San Diego
Longing for the stage, Kahlil Nash began performing when he was 3 years old. He would spend the first 10 years performing in community plays and talent showcases at local night clubs before attending a creative and performing arts school. Kahlil’s insatiable appetite would lead him to write and record his own music at 13 years old. In 2016, Kahlil self-released his 1st EP entitled ‘Elation’.
Kahlil’s music connects with the audience and has given him the opportunity to perform at a vast array of prominent venues and events; including a 2-year residency at Hard Rock Cafe San Diego, shows at House of Blues San Diego (Voodoo Room/Mainstage), San Diego County Fair, the UpFest Peace Ride (Los Angeles) and the Rise Up as One concert, where he sang back up for Grammy-nominated artist Andra Day, just to name a few.
Kahlil began studying with BugByte’s founder at the tender age of 9 years old. After seeing him practice and hone his craft for more than a decade, Francesca pulled Kahlil in to begin sharing his experiences BugByte clients. He has struck a chords with our young performers, just breaking into the industry.
NurseBee, Felicia Johnson
Felicia Johnson, a California native, is a dynamic vocalist and entertainer who began her career at the age of 5. Throughout her academic school years, she participated in her school choirs and was quickly promoted to lead vocalist of the county’s honor choir in high school. In 2010, she won the City of San Francisco vocal competition which landed her the opportunity to perform alongside the popular R&B boy group The Stylistics. At university, Felicia studied music performance and theory. Her musical influences include Teena Marie, Chaka Khan, Minnie Ripperton, Whitney Houston, Prince and several others. Today you can find her performing her heart out all over the country in some of the nation’s most successful acts for cover artists. Felicia brings high energy to every show and lesson. She teaches her vocal students to pursue their passion and discover their own voice with love and honesty.
A mother to two beautiful children, Promise and Perry Jr., Felicia is a mom first. She brings her patience, kindness and maternal nature to each lesson. It is fantastically common to hear her students refer to her as “family”. And with Felicia, it truly is a family affair. Felicia is known to pull students on stage with her from time to time and fosters her relationships with clients well outside the walls of her digital classroom.
Felicia frequently collaborates with her husband, another incredibly talented musician, Perry O’Neal in multiple projects, including their duo, Fresh Play. Few musicians play as many gigs as Felicia does in a year. She knows the challenges of the work/mom balance and helps BugByte honor one of our core values, “Make room for mommies.”
NurseBee, Tess Posner
Tess Posner is an alternative pop artist from the Bay Area, California whose sound brings powerful vocals, haunting melodies and atmospheric rhythms together to bring the listener on a journey to deep places. Tess started singing in coffee shops as a teenager and released her first EP in 2018.
Tess’s honest and politically-conscious lyrics have attracted attention and her single “New Angels” was a semi-finalist in the International Songwriting Competition in 2019. Her single “Ocean” reached over 1 million streams on Spotify and she has worked with producers including Trey Vittetoe (Selena Gomez) and Arthur Pingrey (Sia, Norah Jones) on projects. Her music has grown to over 2.9 million streams on Spotify to date.
Tess began studying with Francesca in 2021 and showed immense talent in ways of performance and communication. It didn’t take long for this focused and driven woman to transcend her role as student performer to the role of Maestra.
Tess spent many years in the non profit world and brings a valuable lens to BugByte Studios. Posner holds a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Mathematics from Saint John’s College and a Master’s degree from Columbia University in Social Enterprise Administration. Early in her career, Posner built and ran Samsa School, a non-profit organization providing low-income people worldwide with tools and education to find work in the digital economy. Then, she became the managing director of TechHire at Opportunity@Work, a White House initiative that sought to increase diversity in the technology industry. In 2016, Posner was selected as a fellow at the Institute for the Future.
In 2022, Tess left the non profit world to pursue her musical career full time. An accomplished songwriter, Tess is in the process of recording an album set to be released in late 2022.
NurseBee, Gabriela Belan
Gabriela has been singing since birth. A native Costa Rican, Gabriela is our Spanish EXPERT! With her especially keen ear, Gaby works with our clients working with various speech issues such as lisps and rhotacism. Don’t be surprised if she makes you roll your Rs a lot! Haha!
Classically trained CSULA alumni, Gaby has found her niche in Choral Music, even marrying one of the choral world’s great pedagogues, Dr. William Wells Belan. Together, The Belan’s have toured countless choirs internationally and participated in a myriad of choral festivals. The Belans have served as mentors and beloved friends to our founder, Francesca for over two decades.
With an NBA (another over achiever) in tow, Gaby is not only an incredible sight singer and musician, but she doubles as a business and marketing expert. Comfortable with all things marketing and branding, Gaby brings a particularly useful lens to our clients that plan to monetize their musical journey.
With two teenage daughters (both musicians and singers), Gaby keeps a pulse on modern pop music. Don’t let her interest classical music and musicals mislead you, Gaby’s brain holds an extensive library of Top 40 hits.
NurseBee, Eboni Muse
Eboni is one of San Diego’s truest movers and shakers. Renowned for her stage performances, Eboni can frequently be found throughout Southern California performing in a variety of musicals throughout the year.
Transcending the cliché of “starving artist”, Eboni spent many years with a “day job” working with kids at the YMCA. Her years of practicing patience with the kiddos, makes her an ideal collaborator for BugByte’s youngest clients.
Modeling leadership from the front, Eboni is the Founder of Artists 4 Black Lives San Diego and Vice President of the San Diego Black Artist Collective (B.A.C.). Eboni spends countless hours empowering her community and sharing her talents.
Eboni has been recognized for her talents and has received the Craig Noel Award for Outstanding Featured Performance in a Musical for the role of MotorMouth Maybelle in Hairspray. In 2020, Broadway World San Diego Awards honored her as Vocalist of the Decade; Audrey Two, Little Shop of Horrors, New Village Arts. also in 2020, she was named Best Singer by Black San Diego Magazine.
Eboni is a graduate of Pacific Conservatory for the Performing Arts and has countless credits as a stage performer.
NurseBee, Andy Riggs
Andy Riggs is a singer, pianist, vocal coach/voice teacher, and conductor. Andy received his Bachelor of Arts in Music with an Emphasis in Performance from Anderson University in Anderson, IN. Andy is currently working on a Master of Music in Choral Conducting at California State University, Los Angeles.
Andy began teaching voice to students in 2004, and has worked with students all over the world. Andy has had dozens of clients perform in the Semi-Finals of America’s Got Talent. Andy has clients that have performed on television, at Carnegie Hall, in musicals, operas, cabarets, and in bands.
Andy has performed on stages in Norway, Finland, Sweden, Russia, Ireland, and throughout the United States. He has sung at Carnegie Hall, with the Indianapolis Symphony, the Indianapolis Opera Chorus, Indianapolis Men’s Chorus, San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus, the La Jolla Symphony Chorus, and has recently been hired as a vocalist for Sacra Profana. Andy has also performed in many musicals throughout his career. Andy has also been hired as a section leader, Director of Music, and Minister of Music for many open and affirming churches. Andy has also sung background vocals and performed for music videos.
Andy has conducted the Pioneer Ocean View United Church of Christ choir who were invited to sing with Distinguished Concerts International New York at Carnegie Hall. Andy also conducted for the Voices of Our City Choir who performed for America’s Got Talent, and Andy conducted the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus as their Guest Artistic Director, bringing the chorus back to the stage after covid shut music organizations down.
Andy has sung with Grammy Award, Dove Award, and Oscar nominated artists.
Andy started his time in Southern California without knowing anyone in the industry prior to moving here. Andy has worked hard and created a vast network of supportive musicians and artists in Los Angeles and San Diego. Andy is dedicated to helping his clients achieve their goals as well.
NurseBee, Athena Kennedy
Athena Kennedy is a singer, songwriter, pianist, and recording artist who has been living in Nashville the past three years to work on her artist project. Athena has been classically trained in music since she was five years old and has found a true love in teaching people the ins and outs of the music industry as well as how to be a performing artist.
Athena comes from a long line of classically trained pianists and has a keen ear for pitch and deep love for all things music! From the moment Athena started to learn music she knew she was destined to share the magic of music with the world. Athenas goal isn’t just to teach you how to perform and gain confidence on a stage, but to ignite a lifelong symphony of creativity and passion within you. So, whether you’re a complete beginner or coming back to singing after a break, let’s make some music and have a blast along the way!
When I was 18 and anxious to embark on a music filled journey of recording, touring, adventuring and a fair amount of mayhem, I never could have imagined that detours, obstacles, and challenges would create a wildly different life experience than what I pictured in my daydreams. Through the wins and losses of many battles, my music never left me.
I slayed dragons, and nearly drowned in the depths of sorrow and grief. I laughed hard and loved much. All the while, I was writing endlessly. Not always performing or promoting, in fact, often stuck in an agoraphobic groundhog’s day. Yet, always creating, expressing, and thankfully, recording. I am so achingly proud of the music I’ve put out into the spaces, for everyone to hear.
California, Washington, Alaska, Arizona, and Oregon provided rich settings for the drama of my life thus far. Settled now in Sedona, Arizona, where I gratefully live in a cottage in a canyon. Breathing deep and healing, creating, observing and being. It’s from the womb of the red rock canyon and healing waters of Oak Creek that I’ve conceived and created my latest work, an album called, “Unlovable”.
The concept album takes the listener through specific experiences and themes in the realm of mental health. I took a lot of time with the lyrics on this one because I wanted to get it just right. My fellow warriors deserve that. I hope it finds its way into the hearts of anyone who wants to connect to their own story or the story of someone they love. The inner world of those who deal with the trials and tribulations of living with mental health issues are poetically presented through compelling songs and soundscapes. Want more details? Listen to the music, it’s all there 💚 With love, Meg