Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, AJ Raggs - Angelo Ragghianti - has been performing for almost 11 years. From the time he was 8 years old, AJ was cultured with some of the greatest music of all time. He dreamed of becoming a professional singer, and so far, those dreams are beginning to take shape. AJ performs year-round as a cantor in his local church and at Saint Paul Cathedral in Oakland, at weddings, restaurants, retirement living homes, and church festivals in the Pittsburgh area.
With his newly formed band of 7 musicians (Vocals, piano, lead and rhythm guitar, Bass, Drums, and Synthesizer) he recently performed at the Carnegie Mellon University Pre-College 4th of July Celebration. Not long ago, AJ was given an opportunity to work with Rick Purcell. This new mentorship led to many new performance opportunities including two annual cotillion balls - The Medallion Ball at the Wyndham Hotel and The Cinderella Ball at the William Penn Omni Hotel (2016 - present) - with the Rick Purcell Big Band. AJ has also sung at the Starlite Lounge in Blawnox alongside semi-famous Pittsburgh Rocker Norman Nardini.
Emma Youngblood Photography
In May of 2017, AJ graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with University Honors and a BFA in vocal performance, where he studied under baritone Daniel Teadt. There, he was a member of the CMU Originals, an award winning all male a cappella group that placed 2nd in the world in the 2016 Inter-Collegiate Championship of A Cappella. AJ's YouTube Channel has over 50,000 views and 200 subscribers. Currently, AJ is recording his first EP at Audible Images Recording Studios in Millvale, PA. The Grammy Award Winning studio has recorded some of today's hit artists, including Ariana Grande, Daya, and Ne-Yo, among others. At CMU, AJ was also an active member in Scotch and Soda Theatre, the student run premiere theatre group on campus. Recently, he performed there as Gomez Addams in The Addams Family Musical. He has also been seen in Strauss's Die Fledermaus as Alfred, and Pane in Francesco Cavalli's La Calisto on the CMU Opera Stage. AJ was a student at the Afro American Music Institute (AAMI) in Homewood, PA for eight years. There he studied Jazz piano under Howard Alexander III, and Jazz voice under Dr. James Johnson II.
AJ attended the Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts High School (CAPA) as a vocal major. AJ studied there under Mark Spondike and was a member of the CAPA Concert, Jazz and Chamber Choirs. As a vocal student, AJ participated in both the required Opera Workshop productions, and the All School Musical extra-curricular for all four years. His roles in these productions included Ralph Rackstraw in HMS Pinafore; The Letterbox in Griffelkin; Mr. Bumble in Oliver! and Usnavi de la Vega in In the Heights. For his role in In the Heights, AJ won the Gene Kelly Award - Best Actor 2013. He then moved on to New York as a nominee in the 2013 National High School Musical Theater Awards (The Jimmy's). While at CAPA, AJ received an award for Outstanding Vocal Student 2013, and also received the Superintendent's Excellence For All Award for Pittsburgh CAPA Class of 2013. In 2014, AJ was the winner of the Familylinks Just Jazz II: Brass and Steel Up and Comer Contest, of which the prize was performing during the cocktail hour of that fundraising event next to some notable Jazz musicians: Lisa Ferraro, Houston Person, Benny Benack III, Roger Humphries, Eric Susoeff, Tony Depaolis, Max Leake, Tom Wendt, and Dwayne Dolphin.