Hello people of the internet!!! Do you love amazing bands with fun, energetic songs such as: Boys Like Girls, Fall Out Boy, Yellowcard, 5 Seconds of Summer, and The Vamps, then you’ll love today’s ‘YouTube Wednesday’ featured band. This band has spent the past few years steadily playing gigs, adding AMAZING songs to their repertoire, and building a fanbase that has given them 118,000 Twitter followers, 15,422 YouTube subscribers, and 21,158 Facebook likes. So if you aren’t already a fan of An Honest Year, then you’re behind on what’s soon to be your next big musical obsession. So please read on, and learn why YOU will soon become COMPLETELY obsessed with An Honest Year (you’re welcome in advance!).
An Honest Year is a Pop/Alternative band from Philadelphia, PA. The band consists of: Matt McKay (lead vocals), Stephen Morrell (lead guitarist), Jon Pfingsten (rhythm guitarist), Jordan Mitchell (bass/vocals), and Greg Pinney (drums). The band made a powerful debut on to the music scene, with their September 2012 self-titled EP. The EP helped the band begin to earn a loyal fanbase, and thus allowed them to sell out numerous local shows. An Honest Year has also had the privilege of sharing the stage with numerous popular bands such as: twenty one pilots, Switchfoot, New Politics, MS MR, Rookie of the Year, Sandlot Heroes, Dinner and a Suit, Phone Calls From Home, and more. The band further solidified their place in the hearts of their fans with the release of their latest EP ‘Moments’ in September of 2013.
An Honest Year uploaded its’ first YouTube cover video on February 5th, 2013. In the video, they covered Coldplay’s track ‘Sparks’ (Coldplay – Sparks Cover (An Honest Year)). The members of the band (that participated in the cover, the whole band was not in the video) do an amazing job of delivering the emotional intensity that this song requires, and in doing so, prove that An Honest Year are not just phenomenal musicians, but true artists. Coldplay can often be a hard band to cover, because their songs are not only beautifully performed, but also have a haunting affect that gives the band a unique sound. An Honest Year is able to take this song and put a new spin on it that makes their rendition equally haunting and alluring, in its’ own way. I personally love it when a band/artist is able to make a song their own, while also keeping the original version’s charm intact, luckily for us, An Honest Year is able to pull off this task like true pros. The next cover that we are going to discuss is An Honest Year’s take on the Boys Like Girls hit song ‘Thunder’, which was uploaded on September 16th, 2013 (Boys Like Girls – Thunder Cover (An Honest Year) – YouTube). I really loved this version of the song, because it was even more stripped down and raw than the original version was, which made the track even more amazing. Once again, the band members in the video were able to properly deliver the emotional content of the song, but do so in a way that felt totally unique to An Honest Year’s sound. I really felt that the members of the band connected with the song, and because of this were able to make me feel as if they meant every word and note that they were performing. Honestly if I didn’t know any better I would have thought that this cover was one of the band’s original songs. I definitely hope that they cover more Boys Like Girls songs in the future (hint hint!). The last cover song that we are going to discuss in this blog post is An Honest Year’s rendition of the hit single ‘She Looks So Perfect’ by 5 Seconds of Summer (which you know has become one of the BIGGEST songs of the summer of 2014). This cover was uploaded on February 10th, 2014 (5 Seconds Of Summer – She Looks So Perfect Cover (An Honest Year) 5SOS – YouTube). When I saw that they covered this song, I was a little worried because the original version of this song is so awesome. Luckily my fears were unfounded, because An Honest Year did an INCREDIBLE job of keeping the upbeat, energetic vibe of this song alive, but also breathing a fresh feel into the track. This is honestly one of my favorite covers that An Honest Year has posted, because I feel that it really shows that this band is the total package. I definitely suggest that you all check out this cover, because you will fall in love with it.
Next, let’s move on to An Honest Year’s original material, because we all know that the mark of a truly great band is whether or not they can produce their own amazing original material. I really loved the band’s debut self-titled EP, because the sound was really different than a lot of the Pop/Alternative rock that you hear on the radio today. The whole EP felt like a trip back to the mid 2000’s, and definitely showed the influence that popular bands during that time had on An Honest Year. The EP contains themes of love, loss, and basic confusion about the world. I really loved how honest the songs felt, which resulted in a very relatable EP that I would certainly find myself listening to on repeat (trust me you will too). The band released an acoustic version of their next track ‘Your Forgiveness’, which was released on YouTube and SoundCloud on December 2nd, 2012. This track stayed with the sound that An Honest Year has cultivated, and proves that this amazing band has the passion and talent to handle an acoustic performance without losing a step. On May 12th, 2013, the band released the official music video for their song ‘Liars & a Thief’ (An Honest Year – Liar & a Thief (Official Music Video) – YouTube) off of their Moments EP. The video follows the lead singer (Matt), as he falls for a really pretty girl, who continuously uses and abuses him, and he is “powerless” to stop. At the end of the video, the band members begin to approach the girl in the video and her group of pretty friends, and the girls attack the guys. It is a really funny video, which adds to the high energy of the track, and makes it even more amazing. The Moments EP also contains a non acoustic version of ‘Your Forgiveness’, which is fun, upbeat, and honestly makes me conflicted about which version I like the best (it’s a serious problem you guys). Although I honestly love the entire EP, some tracks that I feel deserve a special shout out, include: ‘Don’t Leave Me’, (which has moments where the vibe of the song ventures into a harder alternative rock sound. A bit into the realm of the band Breaking Benjamin, definitely a change of pace for An Honest Year, but they pull it off nicely), the inspirational ‘Live Your Life’ (which I can’t stop playing on repeat), and of course the title track ‘Moments’ (which is about not letting those precious moments/important pass you by. Although I picked these particular tracks out, I would honestly suggest that you listen to the whole record, because you WILL love it). I also really loved this EP, because An Honest Year experimented with their sound a little bit, but did not lose the essence of who they are (which is really easy for an artist/band to do). Also, you can certainly see how much hard, meticulous work went into making this EP (which I appreciate because hard work equals passion, and I love to listen to artists/bands that are passionate about what they do). . These two projects, along with the band’s cover videos certainly make me excited for the next project that the An Honest Year will release.
With infectious hooks, and powerhouse instrumental and vocal skills on their side, it is easy to see that An Honest Year will very soon become a staple on all of your music playlists. I have no doubt that this band is on its’ way to having a long career in the music industry, and will certainly make a lasting legacy for themselves. It’s not very often that a band is able to make such an immediate and powerful impact on fans, so the fact that An Honest Year is on such a steady rise definitely speaks volumes about the band’s advanced level of artistry, and their future in the industry. They are truly on a roller coaster that only goes up (sorry I had to throw a little ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ reference). I am so excited to see what is next for this limitless band! So if you haven’t listened to their music yet, what are you waiting for!?! I highly suggest that you check out An Honest Year’s music, I promise that you will become completely addicted to every one of their tracks. Have I ever lied to you before people of the internet? Then go on and meet the band that you will become obsessed with for the rest of the year (and many more years to come after that).
Keep up to date with An Honest Year!!!:
Band Twitter: http://twitter.com/anhonestyear
Band Instagram: http://instagram.com/anhonestyear
Merch Store: http://merch.anhonestyear.com/
Hey people of the internet!!! How is your Monday…I know everyone loves Monday!!! (you may now sarcastically laugh…ok that’s enough). On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we are going to recap what happened at the first ever ‘I Heart Music Awards’…and A LOT happened so let’s get started! Now normally I talk about the host in a separate section, but this award show didn’t really have a single host and instead focused on using several different presenters. I think Pitbull served as the host (I’m not sure if that’s official or not) because he gave a very short monologue at the top of the show (after his performance). He mainly joked about the LA Clipper scandal (which is an NBA team for those of you who don’t know anything about sports…#NoShame). That was about it for the hosting duties…so let’s get the awards (yay!).
Hip-Hop/R&B Song of the Year:
‘Pour it Out’ by Rihanna:
This was definitely a tough category, but if we’re being completely honest, it’s hard for Rihanna to lose anything. Why you ask? Well first of all she’s Rihanna which means she’s awesome, and secondly this year she’s had hit after hit from her latest album ‘Unapologetic’ (which charted at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart). So it’s easy to see why Rihanna deserved this award.
‘Timber’ by Pitbull feat. Ke$ha
‘Timber’ was performed at the top of the show (which I will speak about later…get excited!), and was certainly a crowd favorite. But, this is no surprise since it did chart at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart(as well as #1 on numerous other charts all over the world). Ke$ha also has a record of releasing numerous hit singles, so when you get two powerhouses together, you can’t expect anything else but collaboration gold.
‘Wrecking Ball’ by Miley Cyrus
Now if there is an artist who has had an intense year, it’s Miley. If you’ve ever listened to ‘Wrecking Ball’, then you know that the song is full of angst and sadness, and the perfect song to cry to while eating a tub of ice cream. I think that any song that can make you think this much definitely contains some AMAZING lyrics.
Best New Artist:
She’s 17, won two Grammys for her first single, which she co-wrote…yeah I would say that Lorde is the best new artist. She has also been able to make history in her home country of New Zealand by being the first solo act to get a debut single to chart #1 in the U.S. With all of this early success, I can only imagine what this young artist will achieve next.
Best Fan Army:
Rihanna (Rihanna’s Navy)
It’s no surprise that Rihanna won this award, because in order to have the success that she has had, you have to have a fiercely loyal fanbase. In her career thus far, Rihanna has been able to conquer music, movies, and has become a fashion icon for millions. ‘Rihanna’s Navy’ definitely came through on this one, and proved why they deserve this award.
With 3,803,044 VERY loyal instagram followers (and that’s just as of May 5, 2014), it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Austin took home this award. This talented young musician has been taking award shows (particularly fan voted award shows) by storm this year, and has proven that he is ready for a mainstream pop career. With the release of his debut album ‘The Secret’ expected to drop later this month, I definitely think that Austin needs to make sure he has plenty of room in his trophy case.
Young Influencer Award:
She’s stared in a hit all teen Broadway production, on two hit Nickelodeon TV shows, and has now made her mark on Pop/R&B music (even drawing comparisons to Mariah Carey…yeah that’s intense), so you would think that it would be no surprise that Ariana received this award. However, it’s not only her impossibly perfect talent that has influence her fans, but also the fact that Ariana has cultivated a very intense connection with them, and even admits to becoming friends with some her fans after meeting them on Twitter. With such a close connection to their idol, it’s no surprise that Ariana is a large influence on her fans.
Alternative Rock Song of the Year:
‘Demons’ by Imagine Dragons
Ever since this song dropped on October 22nd, 2013 it has controlled the airwaves, and has continued to launch alternative rock band Imagine Dragons into the spotlight. This band continues to prove that they can release hit after hit (they even won a Grammy last year for their song ‘Radioactive’), so it’s easy to see how ‘Demons’ had a great chance of becoming the mega hit it has become.
Song of the Year:
‘Stay’ by Rihanna feat. Mikky Ekko
Do I really need to explain why this song won? If you own a radio then you know what a huge hit this has been for Rihanna and Mikky Ekko. This track has charted at #1 in numerous countries, and has been acclaimed by critics. Since this track followed up Rihanna’s very popular hit ‘Diamonds’, you know it had to be catchy, relatable, and still hold a bit of that edge that sets Rihanna apart from other radio artists. This song certainly delivers and also proves that Rihanna is more than capable of digging deep and delivering emotionally driven songs with truthfulness and passion.
Best Country Song:
Blake Shelton ‘Boys ‘Round Here’
Country superstar Blake Shelton has certainly had a huge hit with this track. It was a fun direction for Blake, but it also didn’t tray from the sound that has made his fans fall in love with him. The track reached #1 on the ‘U.S Billboard Country Airplay’, and was praised by critics for “taking a chance” with its’ sound.
EDM Song of the Year:
‘Wake Me Up’ by Avicii
If you didn’t know who this Swedish DJ/Producer was before, then you definitely knew who he was after the song was released on June 17th, 2013. This song not only launched Avicii, but also singer/songwriter Aloe Blacc (who co-wrote the track with Avicii). This song has definitely helped Avicii launch himself into the forefront of the rising EDM culture in mainstream music.
Until recently you may or not have known who this producer/singer/songwriter is but this year we all relieved a crash course in Pharrell 101. For nearly a decade, Pharrell has produced hits for artists such as: Gwen Stefani, Snoop Dogg, Nelly, Kanye West, Pitbull, Maroon 5, Fall Out Boy, Robin Thicke, Miley Cyrus, Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran, etc. Pharrell has been well known for years in the music industry, as an innovator due to his experimentation with different sounds, and his collaborations with artists from very diverse genres. Lately, Pharrell has taken his creativity to a new level, and is now also well known for his vocal ability and onstage showmanship (as well as his famous brown hat from the Grammys…you know which one). With such an established history and bright future, it is obvious that Pharrell will continue to make a lasting impression on the music industry.
Artist of the Year:
I think we’ve gone through all the reasons why Rihanna is the artist of the year. I mean with hit track after hit track, and the deep love of her fans, I don’t think that any other artist could have received this award.
Pitbull & G.R.L.:
Pitbull and American/British/Canadian girl group G.R.L. (which was formed by the ‘Pussycat Dolls’ mastermind Robin Antin), performed their new track ‘Wild Wild Love’. The members of G.R.L. wore cool black leather short shorts and some wore fun dresses. Pitbull wore a coral jacket with a peach shirt and white pants. The back screen displayed a brown sky, with small white clouds. The staging also included lots of flashing lights that got the crowd excited. As ‘Wild Wild Love’ ended, Pitbull began performing his hit track ‘Timber’. For this performance, dancers came out and added an energy boost to the already high energy performance. This was definitely a fun way to start the show.
Country superstar kept the energy high by performing his 200 hit ‘My Kinda Night’. Luke kept his outfit casual by wearing skinny jeans, a black t-shirt, and matching black baseball cap. His staging included lots if cool spotlights shooting out throughout the stage. Luke also brought his showmanship to the table by showing off fun dance moves, and interacting with the fans. He’s performance definitely made this our “kinda night”. Good job Luke!
Now if you own a radio and do not live under a rock, you know who Bastille is, and you’re guilty of car singing their hit ‘Pompeii’ one too many times( it’s ok we’ve all done it…and the song is definitely awesome enough to warrant that crazy look random strangers on the road give you as you’re driving). Bastille gave an amazing performance that included lots of cool flashing lights, and the lead singer assisting on the drums at different points of the song. The performance made an impression by being very memorable, and so intriguing that you couldn’t look away. I think that this performance proved that Bastille will become as famous as they want to be (yes it was THAT amazing!).
Ed Sheeran began his performance with an up tempo version of his 2012 (2011 in the U.K.) hit ‘The A Team’. The performance was shown via satellite from the ‘Hotel Cafe’ in Los Angeles, CA. He followed up this song with his newest hit ‘Sing’, which not only showed off his amazing vocal abilities, but also his guitar skills. It was a very fun performance to watch, and further cemented why Ed’s talent has been able to capture his fans’ hearts.
Ariana began her performance with her breakout hit ‘The Way’ (which you have DEFINITELY had hairbrush karaoke sessions too). Ariana came out wearing a black jazz with knee-high white go-go dancing style boots. She was accompanied by several male dancers who wore white shorts and black dress coats, enter background singers wore black dresses that matched Ariana dress except they wore black boots. The back screen had ‘Ariana’ written in large bright lights. As always, Ariana gave spectacular performance of ‘The Way’. She then changed into a sparkly black dress, her background singers wore black pants and white mid drifts, and her background dancers wore black shirts (some wore white shorts) and no shirts. After changing, Ariana sang her new hit song ‘Problem’, which of course she sang flawlessly, which warranted cheers from the crowd.
The most anticipated performance of the night was definitely the premiere of Michael Jackson’s debut single ‘Love Never Felt so Good’ off of his second posthumous (which means that it was released after his death) album ‘Xscape’. The track features Justin Timberlake, and was previously recorded by Johnny Mathis in 1984. The performance was really intricate, with numerous dancers who were dressed like Michael, and danced along with video of clips of Michael (which were shown on the back screens). Usher came out as the song began and danced along with the other dancers. It was really cool to see all of these talented dancers pay homage to Michael Jackson, and celebrate his work. The performance ended with a large poster falling over the screen, with the cover of Michael’s album on it. This was definitely the crowd favorite performance of the night.
Hip-Hop/Rap artist was up next with his track ‘California Love’. He wore a baseball cap, blue jeans, and a cool jacket. Before his performance he did a testimony about seeing a Dr. Dre and Tupac shoot a music video in his hometown of Compton, CA. His song gave off a very 80s meets Run DMC meets Will Smith vibe, and the performer was a lot of fun to watch.
30 Seconds to Mars:
30 Seconds to Mars performed their new song ‘City of Angels’ (I’ll give you one chance to guess which city the song is about…well go on take a guess…you know you know it). The performance included testimonies from celebrities and regular people trying to have a career in LA on the good and bad things about the city (these testimonies were also in the band’s music video for the song). The performance had a very haunting vibe about it, and ended with a superman impersonator saying, “Do I think I’ll make it in the industry? Only if I keep believing”.
Next Shakira performed her new song ‘Empire’. The staging was very elaborate and perfectly matched the vibe of the song. The back screen had images of leaves falling behind a black background that alternated between black, pink, and yellow. Then once the chorus hit, colored smoke was released. Shakiest certainly got really into her performance, which made the crowd go crazy for her. Shakira also brought a very rock and road vibe to her performance at one point, when he grabbed her mic stand, turned it upside down, and sang into it while holding the mic above her head. It was a very fun and unforgettable performance to watch.
Next up was Blake Shelton who performed his new track ‘Doing What She Likes’. The staging was very simple, with a back screen that changed colors from blue to yellow, with the image of a palm tree on the screen. Blake accompanied his band on the guitar, and definitely gave a fun performance that the audience just loved.
Arcade Fire performed their track ‘Normal Person’ (which was shown via video). Their performance included cool purple lights that lit up the stage, and the audience wearing cool foam fingers. This high energy performance was a lot of fun to watch, and continued the high energy trend that ruled the evening.
The last performance of the night was given by Pharrell Williams who did a medley of several of his hit tracks. He began his performance with his track ‘Come Get it Bae’ off of his album ‘GIRL’. The staging was definitely the most elaborate of the night, and included multiple stages, and numerous dancers who wore very futuristic ‘Jetsons’ style outfits. The next song that was performed was the 2013 hit ‘Blurred Lines’. While singing this song, Pharrell went into the area that the celebrities were sitting, and sang to them. The next song that was performed was another big hit from 2013 entitled ‘Get Lucky’. While this track played, the dancers went into a circle of mirrors and danced to the song. The finally song that was fine was ‘Happy’ (which was included in the ‘Despicable Me’ soundtrack, as well as ‘GIRL’). The dancers reemerge in letterman jackets, which have them a very 50s vibe, and was a nice finishing touch to an amazing number.
This award show also contained numerous testimonies from artists such as Iggy Azalea, Coldplay, John Legend, Lady Gaga, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Pete Wentz of Fallout Boy, Adam Levine of Maroon 5, Rita Ora, and many more. the artists spoke about their experiences in LA, their first times encountering the city, and the lessons that they’ve learned from their failures and triumphs in the music business.
Hello people of the internet!!! For today’s YouTube Wednesday blog, I will be introducing you too another AMAZING band (you may now clap….ok now shall we begin? Great!). I found out about this band after one of their members followed me on Twitter, and I have to say that I have been completely obsessed with their debut cd (which they are giving away for free on their website…I know how amazing is that)! So please allow me a few minute to tell y’all why Rivers Monroe will soon add a permanent spot on your IPod’s playlist.
According to their Facebook fan page, Rivers Monroe was founded in Philadelphia when friends Mat Rivers (a pianist/vocalist) and Mike Monroe (a guitarist/vocalist) decided to join forces and begin a band. The two musicians later added a guitarist named Doc, a bassist named Kirby, and a drummer named Dan. Once the lineup was completed, the future of this amazing band was set. Over the years, Rivers Monroe has been able to gather a loyal fanbase, which has led them to perform a national tour, which was sponsored by Coca-Cola, Sunoco, Cerwin-Vega, Motel 6, and other businesses. The band currently has 7,688 likes on Facebook, 23,364 followers on Twitter, 620 followers on Instagram, and 307 subscribers on YouTube. Needless to say, these guys have certainly used social media to spread the word about their music, which shows that they are not only great musicians, but also have a firm grip on the “business” end of the music business.
Rivers Monroe has also had the experience of playing shows with many established bands, such as: Paramore, All Time Low, Fun, Incubus, Phoenix, The Wonder Years, Passion Pit, Allstar Weekend, and numerous others. Just in case you’re not familiar with any of these bands (and if you are not, your homework this week is too search all of these bands on YouTube…after you read this blog and check out Rivers Monroe of course), many of these bands have had platinum selling albums, have won Grammys, and have been on the Vans Warped Tour. So needless to say, Rivers Monroe has performed alongside a very impressive group of musicians, this definitely speaks volumes towards the band’s talent and fan base. Now if you thought that this band couldn’t get any more impressive, prepare to have your mind blown away one more time, Rivers Monroe has also been a fixture on TV. They have been featured on the Verses Network, NASCAR Network, FOX Sports TV, Speed TV, and their music has been featured in the 2011 and 2014 NASCAR video games. I honestly don’t know how this band finds the time to be this awesome…but yet they do!
Now that you know enough information about Rivers Monroe to win a trivia contest, allow me to introduce you to the amazing music that this band makes. The overall sound of Rivers Monroe is pop-punk, with definite stylistic influences from amazing alternative rock bands such as Fall-Out Boy and We The Kings. Their music is very high energy, and perfect for spring break/summer road trips, or for just dancing around your house. Although the majority of their music is very high energy and fun, Rivers Monroe also knows how to write very moving ballads. This allows them to tap into another aspect of their musicianship, and the result is a small hint of blue-eyed soul infused rock, that demonstrates that these guys can not only rock, but also know how to write lyrics that will cut deep into your soul. I understand that we have now become a singles centric society (meaning that we have the ability to only buy single tracks off of an album), I personally still love having the ability to buy and enjoy an album in its’ entirely. With Rivers Monroe’s album, I am able to play the album from beginning to end, and I never have to skip a track due to boredom. Trust me, finding an album that you truly enjoy from beginning to end is rare these days, so when you find a band that can do this, you know that you’ve truly found a band that will one day completely control the radio airways. I HIGHLY recommend this band for music lovers everywhere, because even if you think that Rivers Monroe’s music will not be something you like, you will soon find yourself addicted to their catchy beats and infectious hooks.
Here’s how to stay connected with Rivers Monroe:
Website: Rivers Monroe
Facebook: Rivers Monroe | Facebook
YouTube: RIVERS MONROE – YouTube
* All photos and information used in this blog belong to Rivers Monroe, Mat Rivers, Mike Monroe, Doc, Kirby, Dan, any and all managers, labels, lawyers, and publicists involved with Rivers Monroe, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, bistroonbridge.com, and all other original owners. I do not own anything in this blog. All opinions expressed in this blog are my own. I wrote this blog for entertainment purposes and no copyright infringement is intended.