Photo by Arianna Grainey, 2015

Alec Damiano has always had two passions: music and communication. 

Damiano was born in Nogales, Ariz., where she was literally brought into the world with music—the doctor blasted mariachi music on his stereo while she was being delivered. At the tender age of four years old, she began playing the violin and singing in Mariachi Sombra de Nogales, opening for notable Mexican acts like Juan Gabriel and Los Temerarios.

Since she was able to pick up a pencil, Damiano was always writing her own poems, songs and short stories. She was part of her elementary school’s newspaper and had her own column when she was only in kindergarten. Throughout her academic career, she won various writing contests, whether the required mediums were poetry or prose. She would also write and film her own amateur plays, eventually falling in love with the camera.

During her teenage years, Damiano taught herself how to play a variety of instruments like the piano, guitar, and viola. She was the bass drum captain at Desert Shadows Middle School, and was a member of their mariachi and jazz bands. Damiano was also the first chair violinist of both the Desert Shadows Middle School and Nogales High School orchestras. She performed alongside Mark Wood of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra as a featured soloist in his “Electrify Your Strings” program. For her senior project, she constructed a seven-string electric violin called The Banshee, inspired by Wood.

She moved to Tempe, Arizona to pursue her bachelor’s degree at Arizona State University in 2011. She taught herself how to play bass guitar later that year.

After being in and out of bands that did not suit her vision, she created the solo project Black Monarch in 2013. Damiano wrote the material and recorded all the instruments and vocals herself.

She formed what would eventually become Varkan in January 2014, where she sings and plays bass. Varkan has opened for national and international acts such as Doro, D.R.I., and Holy Grail.

Damiano was also the art blogger for State Press Magazine, based at Arizona State University. Always thinking outside the box, she increased the readership of the publication by covering unique and innovative topics (like painting with blood).

Her narrative, “Tears of Joy,” was published in the online edition of Teen Ink Magazine, and her poem, “Ode to Ozzy Osbourne,” was published in the book “Stars in Our Hearts: Imagination” (2011).

Damiano runs a heavy metal music blog called The Blog of Shredding. She has interviewed renowned musicians like Doro Pesch, 1349, and Rachel Bolan of Skid Row (the first heavy metal band to have a #1 album in the SoundScan era). Some of her interviews and videos have been featured on prestigious metal news site BLABBERMOUTH.NET. She has also created music videos and promotional tools for local Phoenix bands such as Warhead, Ye’iitsoh, and Autolysis.

She also contributed to Arizona Metal at The Blaze 1330 AM, sometimes appearing on metal podcast “Damage, Inc”.

She occasionally assisted concert promotion company Kill Death Productions with public relations, graphic design and photography. She also worked at the ASU Foundation for a New American University in video production.

Damiano was also a video DJ, video editor, and photographer for Heavy Metal Television. Her photos of King Diamond’s concert in Tucson, Ariz. were featured on the band’s official social media pages.

She graduated summa cum laude from ASU in 2015 and is currently pursuing her MBA in music business from Southern New Hampshire University. She will be recording with Varkan in the near future.

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