Our agent Zach Allen is a star on the rise, in the worlds of both music and real estate. He answered our questions about his life and career – and what it feels like to open for a rock icon at the world’s most famous arena.
Tell us about your band TEMPT… What are your influences and how would you describe your sound?
TEMPT is a 4-member band based here in NYC. We’re influenced by rock and roll from the late ‘70s and 1980s – music with great guitar riffs and that’s easy to sing along to… and with swagger and a rock star attitude. It’s what to play when you’re driving with the top down. Think Def Leppard or Van Halen but with a modern spin. The band has been together for 5 years. Harrison Marcello is the guitar player and I’m the vocalist. Our drummer is Nick Burrows and Chris Gooden is our base player. This current version of the band has been around for about two years. We write all our own music – it’s a collaborative process.
My parents always played music around the house when I was growing up and as a result, I have always been a big music fan. My mom loved Rod Stewart, The Rolling Stones and Aerosmith. My dad was more into Neil Diamond and Barry Manilow – ‘Lite FM’ type stuff. I took more after my mom and my first album was Guns-N-Roses’ ‘Appetite for Destruction.’ I’ve been singing since I was ten and joined my first band when I was 13. My first band had pop/punk sound.
Music and real estate seem like pretty diverse interests… Can you tell us how/why you got involved in real estate?
Music is my first love, but my interest in real estate began when I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. In it, he discusses the idea of passive income – and building wealth by investing. My aunt lives in Nashville and with her help, I bought two new-construction, single family homes there that I currently rent out. Ultimately, I want to invest in property here in the city. I decided to get my real estate license and took the course online. I interviewed with Citi Habitats first, as I heard they had the best training program. I met with Fabrizio (Uberti Bona), the Senior Managing Director of the Upper East Side office. He’s a big music fan and we connected immediately.
In terms of my business, I specialize mostly in apartments on the Upper East Side. There’s a ton of inventory there for reasonable prices. My advice to home seekers is to have your paperwork ready before you begin your search. In the time it takes to gather your bank statements, tax returns etc., someone else can come in and ‘steal’ your dream apartment. Also, be sure to keep an open mind when it comes to your target area. New York City is a big place and there are a lot of cool neighborhoods.
Recently, your band won a contest to open for Bon Jovi at MSG… How did that come about?
The concert was sponsored by radio station WBAB on Long Island. They announced on social media that they were looking for a band to open for Bon Jovi at Madison Square Garden, so we sent them our music video. Listeners and fans voted for the top three bands, and the winner was chosen by station management. The winning band was going to announced on the air on a Monday afternoon…. And we waited around for the news. When they said our name, I was overjoyed. For any musician, playing Madison Square Garden is the ‘ultimate goal.’ We had 10 days to prepare. We were given a 20-minute set, and we practiced and practiced every day to make sure we sounded our best and our timing was on point. To say it was an unforgettable experience is an understatement.
How did it feel to be up on stage performing for such a large group of people?
We had a healthy anxiety but we knew our set backwards and forwards. The sound check was crazy – looking out and seeing all those empty seats that would be filled later that night. We got to meet Jon Bon Jovi before the show and he was great. He said, “Do you know why you guys get only 20 minutes instead of 30 minutes? Well, when I was your age back in the early ‘80s we opened for ZZ Top. We got a 30-minute set but we were so excited, we blasted through it in 20 minutes!” The night of the performance was an out of body experience –but luckily muscle memory kicked in and we were able to fully enjoy the moment. The 20 minutes went by in a flash. The crowd response was incredible – the cheering got louder after every song. After the show, there was a big group of people waiting in the mezzanine to meet us and get our autographs. It was an amazing feeling and I felt like we really connected with people.
What are some of your favorite places in New York – and what do you think makes this city so special?
I’m a big sports fan – so I love Yankee stadium (both the old one and the new update). I like the camaraderie of the crowd and the positive vibes. As for restaurants, I’d say Italian food is my favorite. I love Carbone. It’s one of my favorite restaurants along with ZZ’s down the block for drinks. Mission Chinese on The Lower East Side is another top dining experience, as is going out for BBQ in Koreatown. Central Park is one of my favorite places to unwind, it’s beautiful and iconic. In terms of venues, Irving Plaza and the Gramercy Theatre are among the best… And of course, Madison Square Garden.
After visiting other cities, I’ve truly come to love the transportation in New York. You can get to all corners of the city affordably. I think that living in NYC motivates you to hustle. You grow up faster here. The best and brightest people from all over the world are in our city – and if you can make it here – you really can make it anywhere.