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Tag: Maroon 5
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Funk Soul Brother

Brandon Kelley

Brandon Kelley grew up the son of a preacher man in the deep South. When he became a musician, he didn’t rebel against his upbringing and dabble in the dark side, nor did he succumb to it entirely and bring piety into play. Instead, Kelley took his love of gospel and joined it in holy union with his pop sensibilities. What you get with Kelley is soulful, catchy rock, not far off from Jason Mraz or James Morrison. “Radio” begins with a plaintive piano before breaking into a torrential chorus that lodges itself in your brain after the first listen. “Don’t Ignore” asks the question we all are wondering: Why are shows like Three’s Company no longer on? Organs, acoustic guitars, an ambling bass and Kelley’s drawled, soulful vocals make for an easy, amiable tune. For funkier, Maroon 5-ish fodder, skip to “What I Need” where a shuddering organ, wah-wah guitars and percolating bass build a monster groove. Expect big things from this artist. We do.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Call: Best Of OurStage 2010

This year was certainly a huge one for rock on OurStage. Our 2010 competitions allowed winning artists to play with incredible acts, such as Bon Jovi, Hanson, the Goo Goo Dolls, Mayday Parade, Anberlin and John Mayer.

Outside of the site, our artists have received national radio airplay, scored festival performance sets and had songs placed in TV shows, commercials and movie trailers. From experimental to pop punk, here are 10 of the best OurStage rock artists from 2010!

The Worsties

The Worsties

It takes a very talented band to be able to reach the Number 1 spot on the Best of Rock Charts, and The Worsties kept that spot for 20 weeks! After having their songs placed on MTV and Oxygen, the band won the coveted opening spot for Bon Jovi and Kid Rock in Chicago. Take a listen to “What’s Her Face” in the player below—we guarantee you’ll be headbanging with this female-fronted rock outfit in no time.

Eclectic Approach

As their name suggests, Seattle’s Eclectic Approach pull from a variety of influences to make funky pop rock that is sure to get you off your feet. Meeting somewhere between Maroon 5 and the Black Eyed Peas, Eclectic Approach have got it all— tight beats, catchy hooks, sweet guitar licks and smooth vocals. This year was a big for these guys thanks to six Top 10 wins, including two in the “Shout It Out with HANSON” Competition (they ended up opening for the trio in Portland, OR). Check out “Cool” in the player below and be sure to add it to your next party playlist!

Again and Again

They’ve played at the Vans Warped Tour, sold over 150,000 records and had their album mixed by top modern rock producer Marc Hudson (Chiodos, Saves the Day). They’re Again and Again from Renton, WA and they’re shaping up to be the next big electronic pop rock act. While competing in the “SUBWAY Fresh Artists” Competition (they finished in the Top 10 for their region), the bad was out on tour across the US. Listen to “Excuse This Honesty” in the player below and get ready to mark your calendars with future tour dates!

Take One Car live at Bamboozle

Take One Car

Millerton, NY’s experimental rock group Take One Car have had an extremely successful year. Having released their full-length album When the Ceiling Meets The Floor last year, the band set out to tour and promote their effort as much as possible in 2010. Their hard work paid off when they were selected to perform TWICE at New Jersey’s Bamboozle festival in May (once at Hoodwink, covering At The Drive-In, and a daytime set on Saturday, as themselves). The group followed their Bamboozle performances with more touring, competing in Airwalk Unsigned Hero Contest and opening for the likes of VersaEmerge and The Gay Blades. Check out “The Menagerie” in the player below and be sure to stay tuned, because these guys (and girl) will be releasing a new album next year! They’ve also been invited back to Bamboozle for 2011, so don’t miss their set!

Transmit Now

Can you imagine watching the People’s Choice Awards and hearing your song play as Hugh Jackman accepts his award for Best Action Hero? Well, Tampa, Florida’s pop rock group Transmit Now experienced it in 2010. Additionally, they were featured in J-14 Magazine as a weekly “Hot Band” and released their first full-length album, Downtown Merry-Go-Round. Listen to “Let’s Go Out Tonight” in the player below and blast it on your next night out!

Bronze Radio Return

Bronze Radio Return won fans over in 2010 with their smooth and sultry indie rock. With a warm acoustic sound, Bronze Radio Return are easily compared to Damien Rice and Coldplay. They won the coveted John Mayer “Side Stage Warfare” Competition for the Boston date and racked up four more Top 10 wins in Acoustic, Indie Rock and Modern Rock Channels. Check out “Digital Love” in the player below by BRR, a band that MySpace Records calls one of the best unsigned groups.

Cedar Avenue

Minneapolis acoustic rock outfit Cedar Avenue had great success on OurStage this year. They opened for Hanson in Milwaukee, had their song placed on ABC’s Cougartown and had eight Top 10 wins on the site, including the “SUBWAY Fresh Artists” Competition for their region. Fronted by husband and wife team Derrin and Jesse Mathews, Cedar Avenue has also opened for sold out crowds at Augustana, A Fine Frenzy and Graham Colton concerts. Check out “Up North” in the player below and get ready to rock!

Orange Avenue

Orange Avenue

From one avenue to the next, pop rock group Orange Avenue was named as one of MTV’s newest Buzzworthy bands for 2010. They’ve shared the stage with the All American Rejects, Rihanna, Smash Mouth and more, and had three Top 10 wins on OurStage, including one for their region in the “SUBWAY Fresh Artists” Competition. They also had their music featured on “MLB Tonight” and their video for “Just Refrain” was played at the Winter Olympics. Listen to the track in the player below and be on the lookout for Orange Avenue on MTV and on the radio!

The Appreciation Post

After being named Alternative Press’ Top Unsigned Band in 2009, The Appreciation Post took 2010 by storm. In addition to releasing two EPs, the group also competed in the “Converse Battle of the Bands” Competition and took home the title of champion after opening for Mayday Parade and Anberlin. Check out the synth-heavy “The Beating of a Lifetime” in the player below and check out the band’s webstore for awesome deals and free music!

The Black Rabbits

Indie rock group The Black Rabbits spent 2010 as both the winners of a year’s worth of guitar strings from Ernie Ball and one of our Needle in the Haystack artists. They were subsequently signed to Rock Ridge Music and have been working hard putting together their debut album! Listen to “Emotion” in the player below and stay tuned for new music coming soon!

We’re already looking forward to meeting the next rock stars of 2011! Who were your favorite OS rock artists this year? Let us know in the comments below!

Q&A With Bruno Mars

He’s the man providing the bright, soulful hooks of two of this summer’s catchiest songs, Travie McCoy‘s “Billionaire” and B.O.B’s “Nothin’ On You.” Bruno Mars may be 2010′s greatest overnight success story, but he actually got his big break behind the scenes as one of the songwriters behind 2009′s smash “Right Round” by Flo Rida and Ke$ha.

Bruno released his full-length album Doo-Wops and Hooligans this week, and he’s also the musical guest on Saturday Night Live tonight at 11:30 PM EST on NBC! In a few days, he will be performing live on some of Maroon 5 and OneRepublic‘s west coast tour dates this month, followed by some European dates with Travie and some US headlining dates in November. OurStage caught up with Bruno to talk about life leading up to international fame, his new record and his live shows.

OS: Most people know you best from your guest appearances on B.O.B’s “Nothin’ On You” and Travie’s “Billionaire.” They were both huge hits, but they’re very different, musically. Is your new album mostly one style or does it span a few different genres?

BM: No, it spans a few different genres! [laughs] I just write whatever I feel. One day, I felt like writing a love song, and I came up with “Nothin’ On You”… and the other day, it was a reggae song. Not too much thought behind it, I just want to like it, you know, as I’m recording it.

OS: In addition to being a vocalist, you’re also 1/3 of a songwriting team called The Smeezingtons. Following the success of “Billionaire” and Flo Rida’s “Right Round,” do you have plans to continue writing for other artists as well?

BM: Yeah, we’re actually really excited…we had a couple songs that came out. We did a song for Mike Posner, which is “Bom Chicka Wow Wow,” it’s a fun song. But we’re really excited  about the song we wrote with Cee-Lo. “Fuck You,” it’s called.

OS: Yeah, Cee-Lo’s great…he was on your EP.

BM: That’s right, that’s how we got introduced and we ended up working with him again and we came up with that little jam.

OS: So, you grew up in a family full of musicians. How did seeing your family members perform influence your own live show?

BM: A lot of different things. My father was a great drummer and I wanted to learn how to play the drums. My uncle was an incredible guitar player, he made me want to play guitar. He was a great singer, he made me want to sing. I just came from a live performance…that’s more of my background. I’ve been doing that longer than I’ve been songwriting and producing…that’s kind of my comfort zone. I’m a lot more comfortable being on stage than doing interviews [laughs].

OS: You play guitar, piano, drums…do you play all these different instruments during your live show or just stick with one?

BM: Yeah, well…we’re gonna really fine tune our show. If it makes sense, you know…I’m not trying to go up there and look like a “boy wonder.” If it makes sense for me to play drums in said song or piano in said song, we’ll do it…but I don’t want to do it just to self-indulge.

OS: So you’re going to be on tour with Maroon 5 and One Republic, playing at some huge, sold-out venues. Besides the size of the shows themselves, how will this tour be different for you?

BM: It will be different for me because I’ve never done anything like it! [laughs] I’ve done a couple of stadiums with B.O.B…just two, actually…but I finally get to do my own thing, with a band. And I’m in great company. It’s exciting.

OS: So you’re going to be playing all solo material? Will you be adding anything else to your set?

BM: We’ll see…that’s the thing, every time we go on stage, I’m always throwing new things out to keep everyone excited and keep everyone on their toes, so it’s never the same show.

OS: That’s awesome.

BM: But yet, it’s always amazing! [laughs]

OS: Of course! Now, you write music of all different styles, as we talked about before… so you must have a wide range of musical taste. Which three albums would you highly recommend to your fans?

BM: Wow, good question! Off the top of my head, I would say: get Michael Jackson’s Bad album. I’d say get [Prince's] Purple Rain…and I’d say get Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys.

OS: Very nice choices. Have those influenced your writing this time around for Doo-Wops and Hooligans?

BM: Yeah, actually, they have.

OS: You’ve said that your EP was titled It’s Better If You Don’t Understand because you feel that people are constantly trying to fit you into one category. What would you like new fans to know about your music and you as a musician?

BM: I just want them to know how passionate I am about it and I’m really doing it because I believe in these songs…that’s the goal, is to focus on the song and to think about the live show. So when you hear these songs, it’s like…we’re trying to make a movie. We want people to just get involved with this movie and want to come and see the movie.

OS: So before we wrap things up, I wanted to say, “Congratulations”… your song “Just The Way You Are” is Number 5 on iTunes today!

BM: Yeah, I’m just trying to beat that damn Katy Perry! [laughs] That’s another thing that’s just incredible…the people that are in front of me are like, Eminem and Katy Perry…

OS: That must be insane, to see your name on there with those names…

BM: Right, right. But…I’m happy!

Check out Bruno Mars on tour this fall:
10/14 - Save Mart Center, Fresno, CA
10/15 - Arco Arena, Sacramento, CA
10/16 - Viejas Arena, San Diego, CA
11/16 – Slim’s, San Francisco, CA
11/20-  Martini Ranch, Scottsdale, AZ
11/23 – The Loft, Dallas, TX
11/24 – Warehouse Live, Houston, TX
11/26 – Pops, Sauget, IL
11/27  - Bottom Lounge, Chicago, IL
11/28 – Grog Shop, Cleveland, OH
11/30 – Paradise Rock Club, Boston, MA

All Keyed Up

Jes Hudak

Things happen when you’re 13 — first kisses, first cigarettes, first piercings — and, if you’re like Jes Hudak, first albums. Maybe it’s a little precocious for a 9th grader to drop a record on her classmates and hit the local open mic night, but getting a head start can pay off. Now well into her 20s, the LA ingenue has already been a contestant on American Idol and Rock Star: INXS, toured with Enrique Iglesias, Maroon 5 and Howie Day, sung both the National Anthem at Giants Stadium and a Tom Jones cover for a Pantene commercial, and picked up her fair share of music awards along the way. Here’s what the fuss is about: Hudak’s limber voice and gift for writing insistent little piano melodies that won’t let you soon forget them. “National Holiday” is blissed-out piano pop, while “No One in the World” is sexier terrain, where a chorus of cooing Hudaks and the squiggle of electric guitar raise the temperature. High school boys, eat your heart out.

Grace Potter Wants You to Open Her Show!

www.ourstage.com
EMBED THIS VIDEO

Last month, I told you how OurStage band Merrill opened for Maroon 5. A couple days ago, OurStage band Teamwork opened for Matt Nathanson. How did these relatively unknown bands land such cool gigs? The OurStage Marketplace of course!

Click here to find out how you could open for soulful rock band Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. In the meantime, enjoy our interview backstage at the Wilbur Theatre in Boston. We had a lot of fun, particularly Andy (our video director) who was blown away by Grace’s on-camera charisma.

Stay tuned to Grace’s profile for blog posts featuring out-takes from this interview.

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Daily Dose: Wednesday, October 15th

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Daily Download: Merrill

With recent success, landing a spot opening Maroon 5 and Counting Crows, pop-rockers, Merrill have been tearing it up. Honoring their recent accomplishment we have a track for download today that proves, “It’s U” (helping great music succeed!) A shockingly sunny sound from oft rainy/cloudy Portland, Ore., Merrill overcame missing equipment and technical difficulties, at the Maroon 5 set, to rock the crowd. Discover, Merrill.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Merrill | It’s U
Need help downloading? Click HERE for step-by-step instructions.

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Merrill Opens for Maroon 5 Thanks to OurStage MarketPlace

You may remember the band Merrill, who won a performance slot at last year’s Bumbershoot Festival after landing in the OurStage top-ten for Pop and Rock. Well this year, they landed an opening slot for Maroon 5 and Counting Crows, using the new OurStage Marketplace (like Craig’s List for musicians). After the show, Chris Merrill (for whom the band is named) wrote me the following letter:

My Dearest OurStagers,

Continue reading ‘Merrill Opens for Maroon 5 Thanks to OurStage MarketPlace’

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