Long-time friends and schoolmates Jonathan and Phillip grew up in different parts of the world, but they both consider themselves New Yorkers. It’s where they’ve lived for over a decade, and where ARKAI was formed.
ARKAI means “leaders” and they founded the business to create something new out of the very old artistic tradition of music. They held onto the belief that there was true potential in their business, and that they had found something worth sharing with the world. As one of the creative capitals of the world, New York really forced them to figure out who they were, what made them unique, and what they had to offer within the rich and bustling arts and culture landscape. The city’s incredible diversity has also undoubtedly informed and molded their artistic identities.
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit and all of their concerts and plans were put on hold, they took a step back to reflect on what they had to offer during a time when so many were suffering.
Using their music, ARKAI decided to create an initiative that they called SupportNew York City and held fundraising concerts to support two sectors that they saw were being ravaged by the pandemic: small businesses and nonprofits. They had to build everything from scratch, from their mission and vision, websites, health guidelines, contracts, lists of potential partners, a multimedia production house, and, perhaps most importantly, a community of believers who would help ignite and support the project. In hindsight, they now see how this initiative actually gave them opportunities to practice and develop the skills that they now employ every day. As of June 2022, they have produced over twenty SupportNew York City events, which have helped raise over $80,000 for their small business and nonprofit partners all across the United States.