Category Archives: Interviews

Robert Earl Keen returns with new music (interview)

We were hoping to post this earlier but life has a way of manifesting itself in strange ways.  We had the opportunity to interview one of the greatest indie songwriters of the past 30 years, just before he was scheduled to play the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles and introduce his new music.  He is currently in the studio working on making these songs available to his massive fan base.  We only wish we could have been there for the show.

Robert Earl Keen has been a staple on the indie music scene for the past 30 years.  Here is our interview

IVB:  Who would you say was your biggest influence? 

REK:  My most famous influence was Willie Nelson.  I liked Willie before Willie was cool.  If ya want to get a hint of that, pull up the Ernest Tubb show.  Willie was the special guest every week.

The person I tried to emulate was Norman Blake.  I spent hundreds of hours trying to play like Norman.  I know many of his songs and a few of his covers.  I recorded “Billy Gray” on Walking Distance and I first heard “Poor Ellen Smith” on Norman’s record.  I recorded that song on my 2015 Bluegrass album Happy Prisoner.
IVB:  Do you think that you have now moved into the role of influencer?

REK:  What is the difference between truth telling and bragging? There are so many people tooting their horns, I have a hard time with that question.  As human beings, we all influence things constantly.  We all share in this experience.  I’ve never been one for staking a claim on credit.  Here’s a short story that might enlighten you pertaining to that question:

TWENTY YEARS AGO there was a guy who owned a club in central Texas.  It was a quasi-dance club that catered to country music fans. When an artist would call to pitch for a chance to play the club, this club owner would ask, “Are you a Robert Earl Keen or are you a Hat Act?” I always got a kick out of that.
IVB:  Have your influences changed since you first began making music?  If so, what has changed?

REK:  I used to be frightened to death of the studio.  Mostly it was about the cost of making a record, but I also played with incredible musicians and far be it from me to waste their time.  I have more money now and I’m comfortable with the fact that recording takes time and diligence.  My playing is still mediocre at best, but I love the studio.  I try things now I never imagined.  It’s an incredible place to create music.  In the past, I had to keep all the music in my head.  Now I can work one song at a time and get the exact treatment I’m looking for in every song.  As to influences, I love classical music. I’ve come to understand that classical music is all about placement and nuance.  Classical music provides us with a map to understand recording like no other music can do.  Volume changes, tone, or how many instruments one uses to support the musical phrase.  Classical music has had the biggest influence on my musical thinking for the past ten years.
IVB:  Do you think the Americana industry itself has changed, or is the change more personal? 

REK:  Americana has changed drastically.  Here’s a credit grabber for you.  I was the original poster boy for Americana when it was created by Gavin Magazine in 1996 or 97.  I don’t remember the year.  I’m on the cover.

There was a gold rush like campaign to control and define Americana music.  In the beginning, it was wide open.  Americana included everyone from the folk scene – Greg Brown, Bill Morrissey, Patty Larkin, John Gorka, Dar Williams and so many others. Americana included west coasters – Dave Alvin, Norton Buffalo, Rosie Flores, all kinds of jam bands.  But it was Nashville who won out in the end.  Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett, Steve Earle, Rodney Crowell, Drive By Truckers, Patti Griffin, Lucinda Moore, Buddy Miller, and Jim Lauderdale were among the Nashville group.  I was lucky to be included in that group.

The field is much smaller now, but the amount of music that is out there in the world of Americana, and specifically the Nashville brand, is seemingly infinite.  I feel like I’m always changing. In that way I’m the same as I always was.

Wow, that was fun – it was such a honor to interview Keen and to hear his thoughts on the genre that inspired him and supported him all these years.  We look forward to hearing his new songs.

Indie musician and budding filmmaker Dan Tedesco is ‘Chasing the Lightning’

I have been fortunate enough to work with a couple of documentary film festivals since moving to Montana, the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival and the International Wildlife Film Festival.  When I see a documentary that features an indie musician, I get really excited.  Such is the case with the forthcoming documentary film Chasing the Lightning, by indie musician Dan Tedesco.  He is heading out soon to promote his short 20 minute film with a tour that will include a Question and Answer session followed by a concert of his music.  The tour includes a stop at Los Angeles’ El Cid on September 13.  We sat down with Tedesco for an interview and this is what transpired.

IVB:  What is your musical background?

DT:  Pretty eclectic.  I started with piano at the age of five, which led to the violin in elementary school.  I then fell in love with the guitar in junior high, which became my instrument of choice.  I took some lessons, but most of my training came from listening to music and finding out what I liked.  I started loving the jazz world and instrumental music, and played in the jazz workshop band (12-15 pieces).  I followed that up with an intense study of jazz at Arizona State University for several years.  However, I began to feel like the study was messing with my brain and I was losing the organics of playing.

After college I went back to my rock roots and began songwriting.  I wanted to be a studio musician, but also wanted more control of my musical destiny, so I decided to learn to sing.  I started playing out in Tempe about the time I was graduating and began getting some local support that encouraged me to continue doing it.  I even played at a hookah lounge weekly.   After graduation, I decided to move to Los Angeles to check out the music scene.  I stayed on a friend’s couch until he threw me out, and ended up staying in LA for about a year, doing open mics and working a full-time job while trying to play out.

This burning the candle at both ends finally caught up with me and I decided to get out of LA and move to Chicago.  I put together a summer’s worth of gigs (having grown up in the suburbs of Chicago, and formed a band called Dan Tedesco and the Long Haul.  We released our first album, Staring at a Green Light, in March 2009.   We tured regionally in the Midwest and I slowly lost members of my band.  By 2011, when we released Tracks on Fire, I was touring with just a drummer.  He eventually left me to pursue other avenues and I was back to playing solo.

I think that the experience of being in a band got me through that part of my career but cleared my need to find myself.   I next started looking at what I could do with a solo career.  I began by creating my own sound using a stomp box, amps, and the keys, stretching where my music could go sonically as a solo artist.  I wanted to keep it organic without using looping, and take the stereotype singer-songwriter and smash it.  I did this from 2012-2014 before releasing my third album Death in the Valley.

I toured solo until around the end of 2015.  Inspired by Springsteen’s Nebraska project, I began creating demos at home on my ipad,  I listened to them and liked the lo-fi aspect.  I sought advice from my friends who were very supportive, and people seemed to connect with it.  I’m really glad I did the project, which resulted in a self-titled album of 10 songs, which I released in October 2015.

I kept recording but pushed it further by adding layers through the  Garage Band program.  I even found a cool drum machine and used it to create some cool songs.  Once again my friends were supportive, so I decided to do a double album in May 2016, combining the first set of stripped down songs and then redoing them with the layers.  The project is currently up on Spotify.  Through this process I gained a basic working knowledge of sound engineering.  I am very proud of these songs and the response they have generated.  I am currently working on new record, and am about three-quarters done.

IVB:  Who are your musical influences?

DT:  Eddie Van Halen, Joe Satriani, and Eric Johnson (who taught Steve Vai and others) were my early ones.  Other artists that greatly influenced me were John Coltrane, Wes Montgomery, McCoy Tyner, Stanley Jordan and other jazz greats.  Dylan, Springsteen, Tom Petty, Jackson Brown and Tom Waits also influenced me as a songwriter.

IVB:  What prompted you to make Chasing the Lightning?

DT:   I think more than anything that it was a story that needed to be told.  I have watched a lot of documentary films and have never seen anyone tell the story of what it is to be a working musician.  Maybe on a grandiose level maybe, but not the simplistic facts of being one of the other 99% of working musicians.  I wanted to tell this story to people so that they could see what most of us are going through, the working class version.  I also wanted to let people know that it is a job and that it is hard work.  I wanted to inspire people to do this but also give them a reality check if they think it is all grandiose.  I believe that showing people is a lot more powerful than simply telling them.

I have always loved films and documentaries like Anthony Bordane’s Kitchen Confidential, which exposed the unknown world of a professional chef.  That film inspired me to expose my world so they can see the behind the scenes life of a working musician.  I wanted my film to be both enlightening and educational, a wake-up call of what can be expected from a life on the road as a full-time musician.  I hired a friend to come and do the video with me, and we shopped it to people but couldn’t find anyone to help me with finish it.  I ended up doing it myself, writing the narration and pulling up the right clips that I knew precisely where they were.  Since I decided to edit it myself,  I had to teach myself how to do that.  I watched YouTube videos to learn the process.  It was truly a magical experience as the clips would fit right in with the music and line up perfectly.  This was a sign to me that I was creating something special, a truly remarkable experience that I am so glad I could do.

IVB:  What are your plans for the movie?  For your future musical career?

DT:  I am getting ready to embark on a fall/winter tour to most of the country.  Each night we’ll do a screening of the film and a Q&A with the audience, followed by an hour musical set.  I have also submitted to several film festivals including Montana’s Big Sky Documentary Film Festival.  I’m waiting to see who is interested.

I am especially looking forward to the El Cid show in Los Angeles, as I am returning to the place I left to start this journey.  I will be also be playing Seattle, Eugene and Portland shows in the Pacific Northwest.

I’m hoping to work on a new album to be released later in 2017.   I have an investor for the new album which I hope will kick me in a new direction.  We live and die by the number of gigs we can get, so having an additional stream of revenue that is not just performance based gives me a little breathing room to grow my career.  When you have people that do what they say they will do, it is a plus for your career.  Unfortunately I have found that art does not always imitate life – and it can be disheartening.

I have made it a practice to not seek a massive fan base.  Instead, I strive to fine about 2,000 people that are committed to my music.  If each of those people spend just $40 a year, that gives me an income of $80,000 a year, plus what I earn from my performances, licensing, etc.  Every artist must define his or her own level of success.  Above all else there is a true need to find balance.

Artists worth checking out: Interview with Montanan Melissa Forrette

A couple of months ago we had the chance to see Jason Michael Carroll in concert at our local honky-tonk.  His opening act was a young Montanan named Melissa Forrette.  We were impressed with her stage presence and original material, although we felt her set had a few too many covers.  We got the chance to meet her later, and were impressed with her enough to want to do an interview and introduce her to you.  Please welcome former Californian and now Montanan Melissa Forrette to our list of up and coming indie artists.

IVB:  What is your musical background?

MF:  I played piano for about ten years growing up.  When I was a senior in high school, I was given an old Fender acoustic guitar by my uncle, which was his when he was a kid.    I stayed up all night learning my first three chords.  Having the guitar spurred me to do more songwriting, which has always been my passion.  I grew up in Santa Clara, California, and moved to Montana after I graduated from high school.  I had met a boy, a “cowboy,” headed to Montana, and decided to move here to work on ranches.  The relationship didn’t work out, but I got a great song from it – “You were a Cowboy when you were Mine.”

IVB:  How long have you been performing?

MF:  Actually I’ve only been performing for two years and my first show was at the Bitterroot Brewery in Hamilton.  I went to Nashville the year before I started to participate in the American Country Star competition as a songwriter, where I won the award for Singer/Songwriter of the Year for “I Made him Your Man.”

IVB:  Who are your influences?

MF:  Obviously, Merle Haggard.  I’ve also been influenced by Gary Stewart, George Jones, Vern Goskin, Randy Rogers,  and Turnpike Troubadour.  I love classic country, not the country music of today.

IVB:  What made you decide to DIY?

MF:  I didn’t really have a choice.  I’m not rich and was just learning how to be a musician.  It seemed the best way to do that was to just do it.

IVB:  Do you want to be a mainstream artist?

MF:  In a word, yes, although I’ve always considered myself to be more of a writer than a performer  However, I’ve reached the point where I refuse to sell myself short, and I want to see how far I can go.

IVB:  What are your future plans?

MF:  I will be going into the studio soon to record my first EP.  I’ve picked out five of my original songs to be included.  I eventually want to do a full length album, and have enough songs to do two albums.  I also plan to continue booking shows, maybe go on tour and get into some music festivals.  I am scheduled to open for Sawyer Brown on July 21 at the Darby Logger Days, and for classic country artist Moe Bandy for the 4th of July Roundup Rodeo.  I also want to go back to Nashville and play the Bluebird Café.  Last but not least, I want to put a band together, but it will have to have a steel guitar player.

IVB:  Any good stories from touring/recording/performing?

MF:  Once a police officer named Brian McPhillips contacted me on Facebook.  He had heard my song “Old Guitar” and wanted to cover it.  He did an amazing job and recorded a video on YouTube.

I also finally got to participate in a songwriter’s round at Douglas Corner in Nashville.  I flew in and got the slot around 1 a.m.  It was a fast trip but something I had always wanted to do.

IVB:  What kind of social media presence do you have?

MF:  Of course I have a Facebook account, and I recently created both Twitter and Instagram accounts.  I also have a website, which is still  under construction.

Interview with Kris Angelis about her new EP ‘Heartbreak is Contagious’

One of our favorite things to do is to interview indie artists, and Kris Angelis is one of our favorites.  We got the chance to preview a portion of her new EP about a year ago, and can hardly wait for the completed EP to be released on June 2.  Click on the presale link here.  The first ‘draft’ already won the “Best EP (female)” LA Music Critic Award for the first half of 2016.  Consequently we had to sit down with Angelis and find out the details.  Hope you enjoy our talk – we definitely enjoyed it.  

IVB:  Why did you wait so long to release Heartbreak is Contagious to digital platforms?

KA:  I had the album done a while ago and I was waiting before releasing t.  I was trying to see if I could get a placement on a TV show to get the album known.  I did get the Optimus placement and put the title track up on iTunes as a single.  I was also working on the “Kevin Bacon” song and trying to get him into a music video.  I talked to him at Sundance and asked him to be in my video in a cameo role.  There are still so many things being done to get this EP ready for placement.  I’m hoping that this will be an exciting new thing for everyone with the new song I recorded for the EP.

IVB:  What have you been doing since Heartbreak is Contagious was first released last year?

KA:  I’ve been working on getting representation for licensing, getting co-writes, and advertising.  Made a music video for the title track, which was released as a single.  The song also won first place in the International Acoustic Music Awards, and “Built this House” is a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition.  I’ve reach the top 15 in voting.  I’ve done some limited touring at events like NAMM Winter show in Anaheim and several festivals including Mondo, as well as in NY and along the east coast.  I also did the Mesa Music Festival in Arizona.  I’ve also started setting up house concert tours that enable me to garner new fans that are unfamiliar with my music.

IVB:  Do you prefer acting or singing?

KA:  I really enjoy both because they are similar but different.  I truly love the interaction with the audience when I’m singing.  With acting, I get to embody someone different, but I get to be myself with music, which makes me enjoy it a bit more.  There is nothing wrong with escaping but for me there is more freedom when I’m writing or recording a song.  Film also requires more resources to get your content out and do what I want as opposed to just writing and recording a song.  I do love acting and some things have come up that I can’t talk about yet.

IVB:  How can your fans get involved with the success of your new release?

KA:  The current plan is to sell 1000 copies of the EP between May 12 and June 2.  The importance is that it will automatically put us on the iTunes charts upon release ,which will put it in front of more industry people. In particular I am trying to get on the Billboard Heatseeker chart.  So I’m asking my fans to purchase my EP, either for themselves or to give to someone else, and share the link to the presale with their friends.  I would like them to reach out and encourage their friends to get involved.  Please post about the presale on social media, including their own personal touch.  I believe that truly makes a huge difference.  They can also follow me on Spotify, stream the songs and add them to their playlists.

What makes this EP so unique is that tit tells a cohesive personal story.  It tells my story of hurt, sorrow, hope and joy.  It is for anyone who has ever been in love, to encourage them in their struggle.  During our launch party on May 12, I’m going to play the songs, tell stories about them and encourage my fans to not give up.  I want them to know that they should just let go cause it’s not their fault, but allow their hearts to be open and available for whatever may come in the future.

If they join the mailing list at my website, they will get a link to the launch party at 7 p.m. PDT tonight (May 12).  They can also get involved by becoming one of my supporters on Patreon.

IVB:  What are your future plans?

KA:  Hoping to make a music video for “Kevin Bacon” as well as other songs.  I would love Kevin Bacon to be a part of it, but I’m doing the video either way.  I want to do more house concerts and touring, as well as put together my management, licensing and PR team, which will help to further my career.  I would also love to go on tour with a national act that will expand my fan base.

IVB:  What social media do you use?

KA:  I primarily use Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, but have recently begun branching out with Busker, Periscope, live streaming, and Spotify.

Getting to know the 2016 LA Music Critic Award winners – Allison Iraheta

Over the past few years, we have had the chance to see quite a few of our indie music friends take the national stage on American Idol and The Voice, including Brooke White, Tony Lucca, Katrina Parker, and Justin Hopkins, to name a few.  However, this is the first time that we have become friends with an artist who has gone indie after appearing on one of those shows.  Thanks to Patrick O’Heffernan for introducing us.

We had a delightful time interviewing Allison Iraheta, who appeared on season 8 of American Idol and was originally signed to Jive Records.  Many of her greatest achievements, though, have been accomplished after she became an indie artist.  Iraheta was the winner of the Best Pop/Rock Female Artist for the first half of 2016, primarily on the strength of her band’s single, “Desire (Lo Que Vale La Pena).”  Iraheta and Halo Circus also finished second in the Fan Favorite category.

IVB:  How long have you been performing?

AI:  Since I was six years old when I got my first gig at an opening for a department store.  I sang a ranchera song.  I was also a big fan of Selena, but unlike her, I grew up in South Central Los Angeles, and primarily spoke Spanish, being the child of Salvadorian parents.  We were surrounded by a true cultural mix of music.  I loved the emotion behind rancheras music, which in turn became the inspiration for our current music.  I recently turned 24.

IVB:   Who are your influences?

AI:  My first big influence was Linda Ronstadt, especially her album “Canciones de mi Padre.”  My dad also turned me on to Paul Williams.  Other artists that inspired me included Amy Winehouse, Roy Orbison, Brenda Lee, PJ Harvey, and Radiohead  This definitely led to our music being very diverse.  We didn’t have to be stuck with one sound but were able to show a myriad of colors.

IVB:   What made you decide to DIY?

AI:  I didn’t really have much of a choice.  As you know, I was signed to Jive Records just as the old music business began to fall apart.  There were lots of job upheavals and a change in the rules, affecting the whole industry.  I was actually dropped by Jive in the middle of my tour and found out about it via Twitter.  I was only 18, but decided to finish out the tour.  It was in shock, having gone from nothing to successful and then back again.  Once I got back from tour, I didn’t know where I was musically, and felt lost, not sure what to do anymore.  I did a few demos to make money and was very close to giving up on the industry.  I felt betrayed and injured and was not yet aware of the DIY side of the industry.  However, I don’t hold any resentments and am still friends with some of those same industry people.

I met Matthew (Hager) when I was doing a demo for a song he was pitching to Carrie Underwood.  We started writing together and I returned to my roots to find inspiration.  Everything we were doing sounded like it needed to be done by a band, which led to the formation of Halo Circus in 2013.  The support we have received is what has propelled us to where we are now, and new opportunities are happening all the time.  Everyone in the band is a veteran musician.  Matthew was a No. 1 Billboard multi-platinum producer who crossed multiple genres working with the likes of Duran Duran, Scott Weiland, Mindi Abair, and Mandy Moore.  Brian Stead was and is a relentless guitar aficionado who evokes energy and charisma.  In addition to being an accomplished Cantonese and orchestral drummer, Veronica Bellino worked with Jeff Beck and DMC of Run DMC before leaving Halo Circus.  She was replaced by Stead’s friend, Matteo Eyia.  

Magic happens in this band.  It happened when we were writing, when we were recording, and when we were failing.  The only thing that mattered was keeping it honest and getting it right, whatever that meant. We may be inconvenient, but we continue to attract believers.

IVB:  Do you want to go back to being a mainstream artist?

AI:  There is a balance to moving on from the previous level of exposure to the creative freedom we have now.  We believe we can return to that level, but on our own terms.  We are doing it through the back channel and believe that is a better way for us to return.  We love what is happening in the indie scene.

Last February, we shocked the music industry when we announced in Billboard Magazine that we would be embarking on the first fully crowd-sourced American tour ever to be attempted on such a large scale.  With the help of our fans and Road Nation, the program that allowed this format, we reached full funding just nine weeks later, and confirmed a tour of 30 cities.

IVB:  What are your future plans? 

AI:  We are definitely going back on tour in the not too distant future.  We would love to revisit some of the places where we played on our last tour.  We have some new stuff on the horizon and are so proud of those who have supported us from the beginning.  There will be surprises and thank you’s and fun stuff for everyone.

IVB:   Any good stories from touring/recording/performing?

AI.  During the tour we were scheduled to play a show in Orlando during Hurricane Matthew.  We played the show despite the weather.  When we got to the venue under very gray clouds, there were about 30 of our fans waiting for us with signs proclaiming “End of the World” show.  We lost our AirBnB reservation for the night due to the storm, and had no place to stay after the show.  Consequently, we started heading out of Orlando, but couldn’t find anyplace open that had gas or water.  We did finally find some gas, and just kept driving until we found a hotel where we could stay.  It was a scary time and we saw cars driving on the wrong side of the road, trying to get away from the storm.

IVB:  What is the significance of the rabbit?

AI:  It represented humans for me during the writing of our first album Bunny.  I seemed to notice them everywhere.  The totem for bunny meant prey, with their fluffy tails for hawks to see, but they are also very cute, adorable and fast.  I came to the conclusion that the prettier you are, the more different you are, the more likely you are to become prey.

IVB:  What social media do you use?

AI:  I have a Facebook page with a link to the band’s website.  I also use Twitter and Instagram, and of course we have a channel on YouTube, all of which our fans can subscribe to or follow.

Kaylee Keller wants to help her community with the release of her Christmas song

When we last visited with Kansas-born Kaylee Keller, she had just won the LA Music Critic Award for best lyric video for her collaboration with the Vinyljackers of her hit “Diamond.”

More recently, Keller released a duet with country singer Rusty Rierson of the Alabama classic hit, “Christmas in Your Arms.”  Check out the stream below.

Today we’re sitting down with Keller for another interview on what’s new in her career.  Grab a cup of coffee and learn new things about this amazing indie artist who, surprisingly, just turned 19 years old.

IVB:  What have you been doing since we last talked after your win for LA Music Critic best lyric video?

KK:  First, after I won, I was waiting to receive my Grammy.  But seriously, I have been in Nashville for the past three months working on my new EP.  I worked with some of the best songwriters in Nashville who have helped me craft my new six song EP, which I plan to release as a group of singles throughout 2017, and then release the collection near the end of 2017.  I loved working with my producer Nathan Meckel.  I’ve been thinking of calling the EP Ruby, as a spin-off to my first EP Diamond, so then you could look me up as the Gem Collection.  We want to test the waters with each single so that they will stay fresh.  I like to be a trendsetter and do my own thing as an independent artist.

IVB:  Tell us about your latest project “Christmas in your Arms.”

KK:  This one was a fun project.  Garden City, Kansas is my hometown and they approached me to see if I wanted to be part of their annual holiday compilation album, called Kozy Kansas Christmas.  It’s their fourth year of doing this CD and I was honored that they wanted me to do a song for the album.

The proceeds from the sale of the album go to fund local charities in Garden City.  They only print a limited amount of CDs, which makes them more valuable.

I’ve known Rusty Rierson for about three years after we met at a Joe Diffie concert.  I was doing the National Anthem, and Rusty was the opening act.  After I was approached by Garden City, I asked Rusty what song we should do.  He suggested that we do an Alabama song called “Christmas in Your Arms.”  My mom suggested we make it a duet.  Both of them proved to be great suggestions.  We had a blast turning the song into a duet.

The album is available on Garden City’s Facebook page and can be purchased there.  My single on the album is also available on iTunes.

The project is getting a lot of media attention, including The Ellen Show, as they begin planning for next year’s double CD.

IVB:  What’s next for Kaylee Keller?

KK:  I wanted my current EP, Diamond, to be country, but it turned out to be more of a pop project.  I’m using my new Christmas single to introduce me to the country pop community.  I’ve been called a mixture of Colbie Caillat meets country pop by local media.  The new project is much more country based albeit country pop, which is where my heart truly lies.  We are looking forward to bringing this side of me to my fans and to hopefully find new ones in the country pop genre.


Women in entertainment: Alyssa Jacey, the girl in blue

It’s been a while since our last article in the Women in Entertainment series, February 1, 2016 to be exact, but we’re back with another edition.  Fair warning – it’s a long one, but definitely worth the read.

Our feature today spotlights Alyssa Jacey, a pop/soul singer-songwriter out of Nashville by way of San Diego, who loves the color blue.  Why, you say.   Jacey explains, “About the age of 16, I got my first car and decided to paint it.  I was flipping through the color pages and had an instant attraction to the color Highlight Blue Pearl,  a bright royal blue with an opal coating.  From that point on, I could only see the color blue.  I would make a beeline to that color whenever I was choosing clothes, and always fell for the guy in the royal blue sweater.  I’m currently on my fourth car, and all of them have been blue.”

Jacey has turned that attraction to blue into her own brand.  “I always tell people when they come to my shows, ‘Bring your crew and wear your blue.’  My grandmother and I were very close when she passed away from Alzheimer’s.  I had just started singing and she never got to hear me perform.  I told myself that when I was able to support myself with my music that I would do something to help fight the disease.  Now, when my fans come to my shows, if they are wearing blue, I donate $1 from their ticket sale to the Alzheimer’s Foundation.”

Jacey had formerly been a hip-hop dancer, choreographer, and private dance instructor, had appeared in music videos and performed at the Super Bowl.  She assumed that her career would be in the dance industry.  But that all changed, literally overnight, when Jacey went out with her friends.   “One day I just made the decision to pursue music.   I had spent my whole life dancing but there was always something missing; Karaoke night changed all that and my life has never been the same,” explains Jacey.

Jacey’s latest single, “I Want it to Rain,” is an incredible song that truly belongs on radio outlets worldwide.  Since it was posted on her YouTube channel just a month ago, the video has already received more than 3,000 views.

Jacey recently posted on her Facebook page that she has spent more time in the past three months in Europe than at home.  Not bad for an unsigned independent musician who is the epitome of the DIY artist.  In fact, that success has enabled Jacey to also become an international public speaker, and to open her own business, Image Twelve 28.  The business allows her to provide coaching for other indie musicians who want to achieve their dreams.

“I was 23 when I found my voice, 26 when I learned the guitar and 28 when I learned to drum.  I believe you can do whatever you want as long as you believe in yourself.  Don’t listen to the naysayers, just do it.  My true purpose here is to inspire people.”

But what inspires Jacey?   “What inspires me is the beauty that lies in the unknown. As a DIY artist, you never know what hand your career will deal you, and it’s BEYOND EXCITING. Opportunities come from all angles, in all shapes and sizes, and the fun part is two fold: Being surprised with ones you weren’t expecting and seeing how many you can turn into reality, and going through individual experiences, which are each so unique and so special. When I think of all the experiences I’ve had over the years and risks I’ve taken to get to them, my heart swells up. My favorite hashtag to use is #LivingWithGratitude, and I absolutely am, living with gratitude, every single moment, of every single day.”

Where does Jacey see herself in the future?  “My future plans have not changed since the exact moment I realized I was going to pursue music, and basically, that’s ‘I know I’m here, and I want to get there.  I don’t know how I’m going to do it, but I know I will, and I will just take it one step at a time.’  I started playing music because I had a late calling. At 23 years old, I was convinced by friends that I had a voice.  I had never sung before, never written a song or played an instrument.  But after a year of singing karaoke and hearing the same thing on a consistent basis from random strangers from karaoke bar to karaoke bar every week, I knew I had to pursue it.  I was going to let absolutely nothing stop me from getting as far as I could go. Did I want to be famous?  No.  I wanted to see if I could ever make a living playing original music, and after that, the sky would be the limit, should I chose to continue. Just 13 months after moving to Nashville (and 8 years after being in the music industry), I started to earn a living.  I’ve been so motivated by seeing hard work pay off, that when it comes to “future plans,” all I can do is just keep doing what I’ve been doing.  In doing so, every six months beats out the previous six months, and all I’m doing is just following my intuition.”

For more info on Jacey, be sure to check out her website and Facebook pages, follow her on Twitter and Instagram, and subscribe to her YouTube channel.  If you like her music, you can stream it on Spotify or Pandora, or purchase it at iTunes.



Artists worth checking out: Brian Mackey

We are so happy to have the opportunity to interview an amazing indie artist named Brian Mackey.

Currently based in New York City by way of Florida, Mackey released his fourth project in 2015, which also happened to be his first full length release, Broken Heartstrings.  One of the tracks from the album, “Are you Listening?” was used in the PS game, “Until Dawn.”  As a result of that exposure, the song charted in the Top 100 in Germany as well as on iTunes Germany, generated more than 280,000 streams on Spotify and resulted in sold-out shows through Germany.

We took the time to do an interview with Mackey to help his fans find out a little more about him.  Sit back and enjoy the narrative:

IVB:  How long have you been performing?

BM:  Nine years.

IVB:  Who do you consider o be your influences?

BM:  I have many influences, mostly being music from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, especially artists like Jim Croce, Billy Joel, The Clash and Nirvana.

IVB:  What makes your most recent release so special?

BM:  I think it’s the varied styles I used.  It was recorded in Nashville and had a unique flavor.

IVB:  What are your future plans?

BM:  Right now in the studio with produce Jon Levine in  Hollywood working on the next album and a tour to follow – stay tuned!

IVB:  Do you have any stories you want to share about your band – touring, recording or fan interaction?

BM:  I was warming up in a  hotel room before a show in Nashville when someone knocked on the door.  When I opened it, there was a shady looking guy with a screwdriver in his hands and he said with a southern accent, “I wanna meet the man behind the music.”  He was drunk and sizing up my gear.  Turns out he was the hotel maintenance man who was a “fan.”  I kept my stuff in another place for the rest of the trip.

IVB:  What types of social medial do you use?

BM:  All the usual places:  my website, Facebook, TwitterInstagram and of course, YouTube.