John “Gungie” Rivera is considered one of the finest “conductors” in the music and nightlife space. His journey began in the Castle Hill section of the Bronx while witnessing the way music always brought his family together.
Gungie, the first word that was ever uttered out of his mouth, became his moniker early on. The name also became synonymous with introducing various venues to the masses so they could enjoy new genres of music in hip-hop and freestyle.
John “Gungie” Rivera started his career as a DJ, introducing the world to the classics we enjoy today. His passion for music and bringing people together quickly led him to becoming one of the most sought-after nightclub promoters in New York City history.
Beginning his journey in the late 1980’s, Gungie would dominate the nightclub scene for three decades. That path would place him as the “Go-To” if you needed your record played, your band put on a stage, or wanted the best entertainment experience New York had to offer.
Gungie, never satisfied with complacency, transitioned over to becoming a well-respected Music Industry executive, producing hits and eventually landing his own recording label, “Prestigio”, under the Sony Discos umbrella. Gungie struck immediate gold as label CEO when his first artist introduced under the “Prestigio” title became the fastest selling independent artist in Sony Discos Distributed Label history to go Gold.
Gungie tied all of his contributions together when he formed Prestige Productions, which boasted industry-leading clients from television, radio, and Corporate America. Prestige Productions also became one of the largest concert promoters in the Latin and urban genres in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Japan.
Despite all the success and accolades that Gungie has achieved, his most rewarding achievement is to give back to the community and youth.
When the political world approached Gungie’s company to engage a younger demographic to vote and understand the issues that are impacting our youth, he leveraged the power of music and created “Salsa the Vote”. The campaign empowered our youth and involved them in decisions that affected their future. Gungie also organized marketing and fundraising campaigns for the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club, produced the annual galas for Promesa Foundation, and was part of a Latino division for the charitable organization LIFEBeat.
Out of his love for the arts and cultural engagement, Gungie has done work for the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater and co-produced plays for Teatro SEA, a bilingual non-profit organization founded in Puerto Rico that produces socially conscious and educational productions for children and young adults. Some of the company’s famous plays include The Roberto Clemente DC-7 playas well as La Gloria, a play honoring the life of Celia Cruz and other iconic Latin singers.
Alivia Nicholson is an English literature graduate with a minor in religious studies and plans to pursue a master’s degree in literary theory. Fascinated by pop culture and captivated by the beauty of surrealism and poetry, she brings a unique perspective to her interpretations. With an open-minded and curious approach, she actively contributes to discussions, bridging the gap between academic discourse and popular culture. As a contributor to NYC tastemakers, her aim is to foster meaningful conversations and cultural engagement through her insights.
Paola Manzano is a Puerto Rican writer majoring in English Lit at the University of Puerto Rico. Her love for writing came from being infatuated with classic literature. She is passionate about her culture and protective of her island. Therefore loves to hike, surf, and explore nature; she considers herself a nomad. She is looking forward to pouring out all that passion into her writing for NYC Tastemakers and is immensely grateful for being a part of this beautifully diverse team.
Cassidy Paredes recently graduated from Liberty University with a BS in English and Writing. While in college, her passion and love for writing inspired her to publish her two books, Picture Perfect and Even This Will Fade, on Amazon. She is excited to start the next stage of her career with NYCTastemakers and continue growing as a writer and editor.
Bryan Vallejo is an instrumental member of the Cristian Rivera Foundation. Bryan attended the Borough of Manhattan Community College where he received his Associate’s in multimedia programming. He continued his education at the Institute of Pittsburgh for animation. Bryan has always had a passion for drawing and creating images so that they can come to life. One of his biggest accomplishments was the opportunity to illustrate “Cristian’s Journey” written by CRF Founder, John “Gungie” Rivera. Bryan is grateful for the potential that John saw in him, as well as his role in CRF.
Baron Reichenbach is a recent graduate of the University of South Florida, where he studied Digital Communications and Multimedia Journalism, and these days you’re most likely to find him either raising butterflies in his garden or writing from an indie coffee shop. As a journalist, he mostly inhabits a world of quirky film reviews, holiday candy critiques, and LGBT+ advocacy. Baron is honored to join the NYC Tastemakers team, where he hopes to grow his experience as a writer and newsroom team player.
Caitlyn Taylor is a graduate from Calvin University where she received a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. With a long time passion for video games, TV, and movies, Caitlyn took to journalism as a way to understand the ins and outs of her favorite industries. Caitlyn is ecstatic to join the NYC Tastemakers team, with the hopes of improving her skills as a writer and broadening her experience.
Conall Anderson is a junior at the University of Oregon majoring in political science and public relations with a minor in Spanish. He enjoys music, teaching, politics, and TV shows. He completed an internship with the Rivera Marketing and Media Group and stayed on as Team Leader, beginning his career in political communication.
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