R&B Singer-Songwriter On The Rise And Breaking Hometown Stereotypes

Seattle native Tess Henley (@TessHenley) is a force to be reckoned with as a soulful artist with a pop side. This is fascinating as the Seattle area is best known as the hotbed for artists such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden. It is refreshing to have an artist who has the ability to move the meter and break stereotypes. This is evident in her video “Who Are You”, which has Top 40 hit all over it. She has been part of shows that were headlined by R&B superstars Jill Scott and Anthony Hamilton. Alicia Keys, Fiona Apple, and Vanessa Carlton better look over their shoulders. There’s another piano player on the scene and she plays for keeps.

Henley, no relation to Eagles member Don (as far as we know), is ready to blow up and should be confident heading into this new year. Three years ago was a big period in her career, as she won the 2011 Independent Music Award for Best R&B Song (“Boy In The Window”) and the soultracks.com International Songwriting Competition. This demonstrates Henley’s ability to perform and pen tracks. There are complaints from the general public about one-dimensional musical acts. Henley is a breath of fresh air, clearly capable of being able to write her own music, play an instrument, and have the vocal chops to pull off the total package.

Henley’s debut full-length record High Heels & Sneakers is available now at online retailers and features “From The Get Go” and the song featured here. She is doing well with Twitter followers considering she is an independent artist and is #2 R&B artist in Seattle on ReverbNation. 2014 should be a huge year, so be on the lookout for Tess Henley to take the music world by storm. She can write, sing, play, dance, and look good doing it.


Southern Solo Artist Is Set To Break The Mold

Dallas pop artist Boy Epic (@BoyEpic) ranks #1 on ReverbNation and has his take on Top 40-music available at iTunes. Not much is known about the personal side of the man behind Boy Epic, and quite frankly it is a genius marketing strategy. It adds to the mystique and intrigue of the artist. Furthermore, it places the emphasis on the music itself.

Boy Epic has covers of established chart-topping tracks posted on social media in addition to his original tunes. “Unfaithful” is a song that, if there is justice, will take its rightful place on “American Top 40 with Ryan Seacrest”. It is a track that holds its own with other pop stars’ hits, some of which are remade by Boy Epic.

The only way to really know what Boy Epic’s music is all about is to listen for oneself. On the other hand, if there is additional coaxing involved, think Katy Perry-esque tunes combined with the vocals of Kill Hannah’s Mat Devine. That would be the best way to describe the unique style of this star on the rise.

Enjoy the music video above for a Boy Epic original, which is up to over 17,000 views on YouTube and, if all goes well, should go viral. He may be unsigned, but more than likely a deal will be inked. That is, if the labels know what is best for business.

Talented Pop Singer From Down Under Brings The Vocal Thunder

Bred in Sydney, Australia, Emmaline (@iamEmmaline) is a singer and songwriter who will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come. She began writing music at 16 years of age with old school influences Etta James and Nat King Cole on her mind. Fast forward to now, her experience and inspirations have led to her latest effort “Love & Understanding”, with over 11,000 hits on YouTube and counting as well as accessibility on iTunes.

The single, if it obtains North American distribution, has potential to climb the Top 40 Pop and R&B Charts. There is a hint of the Erykah Badu and Gwen Stefani influences Emmaline touts on her official Facebook profile. It’s only a matter of time before she takes the world by storm. Do not expect any meat dresses or twerking to garner attention, though. Emmaline looks to be in the music game for the long haul.

Substance Over Style: Why Kerosintini Should Surpass t.A.T.u

Rodion and Marina, better known as Kerosintini (@KerosintinI), is a Russian electronica duo who show Top 40 Pop potential with “You Are Going Insane”. Back in the mid-1990s and last decade, this would have been a surefire hit with mainstream radio programmers. In this social media era, to be a hit a song does not necessarily need to be overplayed on the radio. Millions of views of a single video can generate revenue and increase downloads and CD sales.

This tandem is the ultimate DIY group, as they handle all of the production themselves right down to the video featured here. It is shy of a million views now, but with the proper awareness nothing is going to hold Kerosintini back from international success.

t.A.T.u, a one-time global sensation, made it big with “All The Things She Said”, a highly regarded pop rock track with a controversial music video in tow. The video’s theme and the band’s “gimmick” were off-putting to some music consumers and Lena Katina and Yulia Volkova’s popularity waned. Rodion and Marina are a nice looking pair, but they are going to let the music they produce and perform speak for itself.

Hoya Saxa: Popular Musical Act Recaptures Magic With New Single

Vertical Horizon (@VerticalHorizon), whose origin stems from a couple of Georgetown University students jamming, is launching a new record this fall with a free track available at the band’s official website. VH may have some new faces in the lineup, but the latest single “Broken Over You” brings the same awesome sound heard over a decade ago.

The Matt Scannell-led act might have sold the same amount of records and had as many Top 40 hits as similar artists like Matchbox Twenty and Nickelback, but record company red tape kept the group’s follow-up to album “Everything You Want” from widespread publicity. Despite the limited attention, the CD “Go” yielded three charting tracks: “I’m Still Here”, “Forever”, and “When You Cry”.

For the upcoming release, “Echoes From The Underground”, it appears the band is maintaining its independent roots and shying away from any major-label tampering. In this day and age of the social media boom, a lot of artists do not need it as much and can feel free to make music on their terms. As a matter of fact, the single “Broken Over You” is already #3 on the Alternative Addiction Top 20 Chart.

Until the new record drops, please check out a classic video from Vertical Horizon’s first heyday. The song peaked at #4 on Billboard’s Adult Top 40 and #23 on the Hot 100.

A Band Whose Success May Make Veteran Groups Jealous

Smallpools is an act that formed earlier this year and already has a record deal with a major (RCA). There are artists who work for years, if not decades, to become signed to a contract for more exposure and income. Some critically acclaimed groups like Frostiva , The Big Creak, and The Favors split up before that recording contract and radio airplay ever happen.

Not only is this band on RCA, but their song featured in this video, is #26 on the Mediabase Alternative Chart and climbing. Damone and Longwave, former members of the RCA family, never received that kind of success during their stints with the label.

After three weeks on YouTube, the video already has over 150,000 views. If it can surpass that magic number of a million and the song become licensed in a commercial or two, watch out.

Not Bad For A Band That Formed Just Last Year

The Winery Dogs is a New York-based ‘Supergroup’ that formed in 2012 consisting of rock veterans drummer Mike Portnoy, bassist Billy Sheehan, and singer Richie Kotzen. These guys have had success with other groups such as Dream Theater and Mr. Big, respectively, but now have a new self-titled record out. It will include this song, which is #27 on this week’s Mediabase Rock Chart. Some bands go years without a record deal and entries on the charts. This is hope for any artist out there to never give up.

A Band Wade Barrett Could Be Proud Of

This Manchester-based group has hit alternative rock stations with this tune and are taking the U.S. by storm. Unfortunately, it looks like the track might bottom out as it is down in plays this week at #34, but do not let that stop you from enjoying this catchy track.

Crossover Rock Band Could Potentially Hit Top 10 With Kick Arse Track

The members of veteran rock group Skillet may happen to be Christians, however, do not let that fool you. The band has reinvented themselves from their earlier look and sound and this new tune is a throwback to more recent hits “Monster” and “Hero”. They are one of only a handful of artists from the “Christian” genre to be regarded by the mainstream as just a great band, joining the likes of P.O.D., Switchfoot, and Owl City.

On Mediabase’s Active Rock Chart, the song is at #15 with 757 spins last week and climbing. Will this make the Top 10 and even higher? That’s up to the listeners. If a station near you is not playing this, check it out here to make your decision.

Review of Lucky City at World Of Beer (Easton)

Last night, Cleveland-based singer-songwriter Sean Benjamin and his band made his return to the capital city and entertained the masses at World Of Beer, an establishment located in Northeast Columbus. It was a very interesting show and some of that had to do with the ‘venue’ itself.

Regional music scene veteran Benjamin was his usually solid self on guitar and vocals, this go around flanked with Lucky City cohorts Egan Ammerman and Jason Seich who sounded great. The group broke out WNCI Top 40-type tracks like “Sky Dive” from Benjamin’s latest studio record, “I Exist”, as well as covers of hits of yesteryear. The best of the bunch was “No Diggity” from BLACKStreet. The lounge-y version of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” fit in with the intoxication of the patrons and established that Lucky City likes to put its personal spin on covers versus doing a ‘knock off’ of the original. The band broke out new material as well, which fits in with Benjamin’s solo hits. A Kickstarter campaign does not seem too far behind in getting an EP of full-length of new tracks recorded and out to the masses.

The only and major problem with the gig, however, is that World Of Beer is not a typical live music facility. The group was positioned at an upstairs portion of the building in a restricted area approximately 12 feet off the main floor. Therefore, while you could hear the awesome music, the group and the audience were unable to see each other creating a massive discord. A less informed visitor of the place would have thought the radio was playing. Due to the obstructed view, applause was minimal as most of the crowd were watching sports on the countless TVs or shouting amongst themselves. This setup is perfect for artists with absolutely zero stage presence or who have stage fright and want to play for a crowd without actually playing for them.

Lucky City are three handsome guys who deserve a chance to connect with a live audience. Obviously, being the professionals they are, Benjamin, Seich, and Ammerman like playing at the atypical watering hole and did not dog their performance. If you are a live music fan, this particular place may not be for you. The group, however, is worth a listen so checking them out at other establishments will be something you will not regret.

Similar artists: Jason Mraz, Calvin Harris, Shane Harper, Josh Kelley, Matt Nathanson.

Photo courtesy of the group’s Facebook page.Image