LA’s Got Talent

Los Angeles is known as the city of angels, but when red carpets, Hollywood glamour, and action-packed media become the focus, it’s easy for substance to get lost in the fray. The five Los Angeles creatives featured in this section are outliers on the rise who have become true angels of the city, gracing Los Angeles with their gifts and their valuable vision. The featured talent was curated by Ariana Delawari, a filmmaker and musician herself, whose own work has caused a stir in the LA artistic sphere. Gifted photographer Phil Knott, who has shot for numerous celebrities and big name brands, captures the spirit of these LA creatives in an authentic light as they continue to change and enrich the world around them.

Photography Phil Knott

Ariana Delawari is an Afghan American filmmaker, musician, and activist. Her multi award-winning film We Came Home is a ten year documentation of post 9/11 Afghanistan, her family story, and the making of her first album Lion of Panjshir. The film was just acquired for worldwide distribution and will be released soon. Most recently Delawari released her second album, Entelechy, and co-wrote and performed a song for Jill Soloway and Sarah Gubbins’ new feminist television show I Love Dick. The song is called Zan Hastam or I am a Woman in Dari, and is an anthem to feminine desire and boldness.

Darian Zahedi is the lead guitarist for the band CRX, and a photographer. He has shot for the Chic Beats of SOMA Magazine, as well as for J Brand, Foxes Magazine, Collide, and the perfume brand Regime des Fleurs. Forming CRX with The Strokes guitarist, Nick Valensi, Zahedi has toured all over the country with the band after releasing their debut album, New Skin. Concurrently, Zahedi and his CRX bandmate and longtime collaborator, Jon Safley, are finishing up their own EP and accompanying series of music videos under the name People On People. Their first single Only Heaven is due out later this year.

Miguel Atwood-Ferguson is a multi-instrumentalist, arranger, composer, music director, producer, DJ, and educator based in his hometown of LA. Atwood-Ferguson’s body of work is vast, having contributed to thousands of live concerts and over 500 recordings, which range from collaborations with John Williams to Mary J. Blige. One of Miguel’s great achievements is when he composed and conducted the historic ‘Suite for Ma Dukes’ concert, during which he lead over 60 musicians in tribute to the transcendent modern hip-hop producer, J Dilla. Atwood-Ferguson’s debut record Les Jardins Mystiques will be released on the indie LA label “Brainfeeder” in 2018.

Nicole Disson is a producer and actor known for her cross-genre artistic career and ability to cultivate talent. Disson created THE SERIES, a multi-disciplinary live performance that infuses social experiences with performing and visual arts. THE SERIES has been featured at multiple iconic venues throughout LA. She produces short films and online content, most recently Zoe Cassavetes’ web-series Junior (blackpills for VICE). Nicole also produces live performance events, including in her role as project manager for choreographer Benjamin Millepied’s company. As an actor, Nicole has performed live at venues like the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and SOHO House.

An award-winning writer, Amanda Gorman, 18, is the first ever Youth Poet Laureate of the United States. She is a poet, OZY Genius winner, commissioned speaker, and a Harvard sophomore. She is the Founder of One Pen One Page, a nonprofit organization that promotes literacy and leadership through creative writing workshops. She is also Editor-in-Chief of the OPOP online literary magazine, which elevates the voices and powers of youth through storytelling. She has visited the White House for First Lady Michelle Obama’s poetry celebration and published a collection of poetry, “The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough.”