Raised in Tribeca, they’re playing the festival

By Laura S. Greene

Monique Staffile, left, and Agata Dabkowski, center, charter members of the Downtown Little League’s Girls Softball division, and their bandmate, Tarah Healy, who has moved to Tribeca, will be releasing their first album this week and be performing at the festival.
These three Madonnas might be on the fringe of making it big, but scoring record deals and opening acts does not cloud their vision. These Downtown natives will never forget their Tribeca roots because that’s what they’re all about — making it on their own and not forgetting who helped them along the way.

They are Her, a three-girl band that combines rock, hip-hop and soul in a way 21-year-old founding member Monique Staffile describes as “urban rock.” Staffile, along with band mate, Agata Dabkowski, also 21, grew up in Tribeca’s Independence Plaza on Greenwich St., where the trio will be returning to perform at the second annual Tribeca Film Festival’s Family Festival on Saturday May 10. They will be taking the main stage at 2 p.m. Saturday’s festivities will include dozens of performers and will take place on the second weekend of the two-weekend event.

As Tribeca youngsters, Staffile and Dabkowski attended P.S. 234 and learned to love the music of the Bangles, the Go-Go’s and Bananarama. When the girls realized there was not a girls softball league in their area, they started the Downtown Little League’s Girls Softball division. As twenty-something Tribeca girls, they have begun to make a name for themselves by playing Downtown clubs like C.B.G.B.’s, The Village Underground, Webster Hall and last year’s film festival.

“People knew us,” Staffile said. “They knew us from the softball and because we grew up here. The other girl [Tarah Healy, 23] lost her uncle in the trade center so she wanted to do [the festival] and we of course wanted to do this for our neighborhood and Tribeca. We called them up in January and said we must play again.” Healy’s uncle, Paul Geier, worked for Cantor Fitzgerald.

When Staffile was 19, Her signed with Sony, but she says that when Sony started writing songs for the girls and telling them what to do and what to wear, they walked away.

“We had no freedom,” Staffile said. “We left the label and now we’re doing it ourselves.”

Not wanting to become the next corporate band, they signed onto an independent record label, Rock Records. The three divas have their first album, “Her,” coming out May 9, the day before they play the festival. The album will be on sale at the show.

“If we were with a major record label, we probably wouldn’t be able to play something like the Tribeca Film Festival,” Staffile said. “And we probably wouldn’t be able to play gigs like C.B.G.B.’s either.”

Currently, all three band members live in Tribeca and practice at Off Wall Street Jam, a member organization that helps them get gigs and gives them a place to practice.


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