Tag Archives: Mind and Soul 101.3

From the Heart

August 20, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Cristina Bertuldo caught herself singing—and lowered her voice to a slight hum. 

“Sometimes, I’m very selfish with my gift,” she explains. “So many of my friends ask why I don’t sing as often.”

She’s a sensitive soul, that Bertuldo, always looking for the good in others even after she’s been burnt. She’s an Omaha singer-songwriter who battles depression and anxiety.

Bertuldo has the unique ability of conveying the passion and pain in songs yet somehow maintaining a playful mood. She preaches from her scars. The local 101.3 FM radio personality, yoga instructor, photographer, and mentor uses music as a healing force.

“I just want people to know that they aren’t alone and not to be afraid to reach out,” she says. “If I could preach one thing…be kind because you have no idea what another person is going through.”

Bertuldo, now known as Lady Scientist, is (by all appearances) a well-adjusted woman whose voice dances with delight as she recalls a favorite anecdote or takes stock of her good fortune. In college, however, Bertuldo encountered her first bout with depression after her best friend’s parents died in a car accident. Overwhelmed by emotion, she returned home early from college. She turned to music, which soothed her soul.

Shortly after that brief stint in college, Bertuldo attended a Nikka Costa concert at the Music Box, a now-closed Omaha venue, and met producer Printz Board, who put her in touch with musicians to sing backup.

In 2006, Bertuldo sang onstage with Allan “apl.de.ap” Pineda Lindo of the Black Eyed Peas at a Council Bluffs concert. She met Lindo when recording in the same studio as the Black Eyed Peas. He was on the video shoot of “Don’t Lie,” when Bertuldo approached him and threw her spiel about her talent. He asked her to freestyle. She did. They linked up, and Bertuldo moved to LA, but the pressures of the music business, and the big city, brought back demons.

“I was dealing with depression and anxiety on top of that,” she says. “When you’re caught up in that…you can’t grow.” 

In 2008, she moved back to her Nebraska home to heal. By way of random and not-so-random connections, she was occasionally booked as an opening singer at area concerts and music venues. Her sultry  yet soulful voice kept her on stage. In 2011, she won an Omaha Hip Hop Award for Best Female R&B singer. 

“Whenever I tried to push music out of the way,” she explains. “It always fell in my lap.”

Right now, she prefers to be behind the scenes helping others. She helped a friend broaden her reach in fashion design with pop-up boutiques. She began consulting another friend through the use of her photography. And she began mentoring Chikadibia Ebirim, a local self-produced musician whom she assisted with music promotion. 

“I wasn’t trying to heal myself,” she says. “But I was healing myself by helping other people.”

Life has been a roller coaster, she adds. “I’ve hit rock bottom several times. [Because] I deal with dark thoughts, I think people who are capable of so much light have this darkness they also battle.” 


Follow @ladyscientist on Facebook for more information.

This article was printed in the September/October 2018 edition of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Mark McGaugh

February 27, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Mark McGaugh describes himself as “that kid everybody always thought was going to be a doctor or a president.” Known as a young child for reading the encyclopedia and watching the History Channel, it’s no surprise that this 24-year-old’s inquiring mind was fascinated by the possibilities of music. His musical career began in the fourth grade, with a recorder class at Belvedere Elementary School.

By fifth grade, he made his first forays into hip-hop during freestyle rapping sessions in the library with friends. It wasn’t until middle school at King Science & Technology Magnet Center when he picked up the alto saxophone that McGaugh started to explore the worlds of classical and jazz music. Omaha North brought the opportunity to join drumline, but the music alone wasn’t enough to protect a teenage McGaugh from the social pressures he faced.

“Growing up here in North Omaha, in a single-parent household, it’s rough. The story goes on and on, but I went through it,” he says.

When he found himself embroiled in some trouble during his junior year, the young man had to step back and decide what he wanted his focus to be. “It was a turning point in my life,” McGaugh reflects on getting caught up with the wrong crowd as a moment when he chose to dedicate his life to music.

Although hip-hop, church choir, and the musical endeavors of family members have always been in the background, McGaugh realized that his interests in music could only go so far when limited to school band. “To be a DJ, or you know, a little black boy on the corner rapping bars, you can [only] get so far here in Nebraska.” Fortunately, his mother always strongly supported her son’s musical interests, provided he focus on his education first.

When he graduated from North High in 2011, that focus on academic achievement culminated in an opportunity to attend Florida A&M University.

“I flew the coop,” he recalls. “I went to Florida with a dream.” That dream was centered around widening his musical horizons, but the young man found his perspective changing about life as a whole. “Going to Florida A&M, which is a historically black school, just seeing the different perspective of what’s possible for me, that definitely opened my eyes to a lot of things.”

During college, McGaugh discovered a passion for broadcast journalism. As he earned his degree in the field, he hosted campus radio shows that investigated some of the most intense national news issues of the time. From an exclusive interview with the mayor of Flint in the heat of the city’s devastating water crisis, to reporting on violence against students at a Georgia Donald Trump rally, to debate over Florida’s infamous “Stand Your Ground” law, McGaugh provided valuable insight and information to his community. “That was a big eye-opener,” he says of the talk show.

While diving into broadcast journalism, McGaugh never lost sight of his dream to pursue music. In addition to his more intense Saturday morning show, he covered sports news and hosted a hip-hop show for campus radio. When he wasn’t studying, he was working for a local music promotion agency to help independent record labels distribute their sound.

“That was a good insight into seeing how the music industry works,” McGaugh says. He learned about the importance of understanding what goes into deciding whose music gets played, met artists, and made connections. He reports that “it’s really an effort over talent thing.”

While he was earning his degree and working with promoters across Florida, McGaugh didn’t forget the needs of his hometown. Upon graduation, he returned to Omaha and could clearly see voids in the artistic community—as well as the potential of the city. “There was an actual music scene that was here when I came back from Florida that wasn’t here when I left.” He refers to a number of musical players changing the Omaha scene—Reverb Lounge, Slowdown, One Percent Productions, and Make Believe Records—all giving new energy to budding artists across the city.

Inspired by these new efforts to invigorate the local music scene, McGaugh made a commitment to making a difference in the musical landscape of the city through community radio. The new Mind and Soul 101.3 station, housed inside the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation on Evans Street, was just the type of platform McGaugh wanted to help develop in his community. He began as assistant program director at the station in January 2017, and now hosts “Lunchtime Live,” formats shows, looks up stories, and keeps things running smoothly to give voice to his community.

“My ultimate goal with being at this radio station is making sure that the message of the community isn’t watered down or isn’t ignored,” McGaugh explains. As he continues to pursue his own passion for music and a newfound interest in DJing, he loves being a part of the platform that shares the messages of all types of people in his city and gives new artists a chance to have their voices heard. McGaugh believes that with the help of organizations like Mind & Soul, the future for Omaha music is bright. “Ultimately, the goal is just to help the world.”

This article appears in the March/April 2018 edition of Encounter