Page 1

VERITY Fall 2013


illette ohnson

Inside her debut album, Water in a Whale, touring with Kris Allen, her career and life in NYC


Secondhand Serenade

Behind the Break Up

A Rocket To The Moon

features Editorial 4

behind the break up reviews

10 12 14 20

Kinetics Guest Editorial

Brandon Ray Jilliette Johnson

Secondhand Serenade 28






the staff Editor Emily Kirchner Writers Candace Rose Courtney Rose Victoria Smith Adrianna Velazquez Photographer Adrianna Velazquez Design Adrianna Velazquez

THANKS TO: Julie Lichtenstein from Wind-Up Records, Chris Maltese, Scott Nebb & Nullah Sarker

Dear Readers, After consuming at least one-hundred cups of coffee, getting caught in the rain on the way to an interview in Nashville, going to concerts, interviewing artists, and finally, going back to school, we are happy to present you with the fall issue of Verity Mag. Sincerely, Verity Mag Staff

a look at the lyrical masterminds behind b.o.b’s hit single “airplanes” Words by Adrianna Velazquez

Somewhere in New York between Spanish Harlem and a small village in the Hudson Valley called Cold Spring, Jeremy “Kinetics” Dussolliet was influenced by hip-hop. In junior high, Kinetics combined his interest for poetry and freestyling when he started writing rap songs— a passion he’s had ever since. Attending Cornell University after high school was certainly no mistake, Kinetics’ passion quickly turned into a career after meeting Tim “One Love” Sommers in 2007. Most noted for penning the chorus to B.o.B’s hit single, Airplanes, featuring Hayley Williams of Paramore, Kinetics & One Love began writing and producing music together in college before signing to Warner Music Group as songwriters. With a tracklist of songs that were heavily influenced by a dark, post-breakup recovery stage, Kinetics & One Love released their first project, Fading Back to Normal, in 2009 which featured the original Airplanes. “The album gradually faded from song to song— a reflection of my general attitude shifting after the break-up. The final product became the narrator’s gradual journey from obsession over another person to feeling independent and focused on the self,” explained Kinetics. The songwriting duo often drafts songs from a third person perspective, some of which tell 04 \\ Kinetics

the story of life experiences while others convey stories about life struggles and misfortunes by promoting a message of global cooperation and signifying the importance of community. Kinetics & One Love bring their lyrics to life through powerful language that paints a vivid image. Songs like Rich Man, a song that tells the story of a factory worker in Brazil struggling to support his wife and daughter through poverty and Sign Language, a song that tells the story of a teenager who commits suicide after being rejected convey two strong messages that show Kinetics & One Love’s lyrical strength and their ability to move people through their lyrics. Though Kinetics & One Love have penned the chorus for a platinum selling single, one obstacle they often face is whether or not the goal is to make art for themselves or for their audience. Although they hope to create more cuts for radio as well as continue writing and producing for other artists, they also hope to push the Kinetics & One Love project to see the level of commercial success as some of the major acts they’ve worked with. In the meantime, Kinetics & One Love are gearing up to release two new singles. You can hear their music and connect with them at or by following them on Twitter @kineticsmusic and @oneloveonline. Their most recent album, You Are Not Alone, can be found on iTunes.

Verity Mag \\ 05

SCOOTER on tour

Name: Scott Nebb Title: Tour Manager Nickname: Scooter Hometown: Marlboro, NJ Resume: Jake Miller, Hollywood Ending, The Moms, Warped Tour Q: How did you get involved managing bands/artists? I got involved by meeting bands at shows that I put on. Kept in contact with them. My first tour ever was Warped Tour. On Warped you meet everyone in the industry that you ever need to know. Q: Why do people call you Scooter? When I started off working with bands I was booking shows, bringing in national and regional touring bands. All my friends just started calling me Scooter and it stuck ever since. Q: Have you had any star-struck moments? When I was out with Hollywood Ending, they supported The Janoskians and Ariana Grande was at the show to see her ex-boyfriend Jai Brooks perform. I saw her standing outside the production office and just stopped, waved and continued walking. 06 \\ Guest editorial

Q: Ever have any tour injuries or illnesses? I’m fortunate enough to have a pretty strong immune system and don’t really get sick while on the road. I twisted my ankle once the day before a month long mall tour. It sucked for the first half because I was in so much pain and all I wanted to do was walk around the malls. Q: What do you do on your days off? Laundry, hang out at the hotel pool and hit the gym. Q: Beside Jake’s [Miller] music, what do you like most about working with him? He has such a strong team behind him, from his manager, his agent, his label and even his family. Everyone believes in the project 100% and what he’s doing, this is what makes it so healthy.

Guest Editorial

Verity Mag \\ 07


FAORO When we spoke with Mac Faoro over the summer one thing was certain, he eats, sleeps and dreams with music on his mind. “I’m hungry, ambitious and want to chase my dreams. I believe I can do anything if I work hard, work smart and never give up. Before I was just a guy on YouTube strumming chords on a guitar and now I have an actual fan base,” explained Mac Faoro. A sports fanatic who played soccer, hockey, and baseball growing up and a fan of Seth Rogen comedies, the 19-year-old singer/ songwriter from Vancouver, Canada discovered his musical talent at a young age. Mac began playing the piano when he was seven years old and his skills developed naturally as he moved up a level each year. At the age of thirteen he began strumming chords on the guitar. Despite his lack of interest in songwriting, he began writing songs after deciding to pursue his pop star dream. “The pop genre has a stereotype of being a product of a label. I like being a part of the whole production process and I think it’s important that I write my own music or at least have a hand in co-­writing. I don’t understand how girls can fall in love with singers who sing songs that they didn’t write or have a hand in writing,” he explained. Previously, Mac focused on recording covers and demos to promote on his YouTube Channel. It wasn’t until this past February he took things a step further with the release of his first EP Take Off. The album was an 08 \\ mac faoro

Words by Candace Rose Photos by Dan Jackson

opportunity for him to show fans what he’s capable of producing by giving them something they could enjoy. “I never want to be one of those artists that takes too long to release new music. Some release singles on YouTube and never follow up with any new material. As I continue to grow in my career I want to constantly give fans new material, I want to give them new music that they enjoy,” expressed Mac. While his style can usually be classified by its upbeat and energetic pop tune, Mac has had his share of darker songs that express low points such as Fallin Over You, one of the darker and more personal songs he’s ever written. Between his vocals, ability to play both the piano and the guitar, in addition to his songwriting skills, Mac creates a unique sound of his own. His versatality as an artist is evident in not only his original ballads but in his covers of hit songs like Miley Cyrus’ We Can’t Stop as well as Katy Perry’s Roar. “You have to believe in your dreams. You won’t do well in anything if you don’t love what you do. I think the reason people give up on their dreams is because of fear. You have to work hard, work smart, love it and never give up. There are a lot of ways to waste time but there are also a lot of ways to spend it doing things that’ll get you one step closer to your dreams,” expressed Mac. As he continues to pursue a career and hopes to relocate to Los Angeles, one thing is certain, he’s not ready to give up.

mac faoro

Verity Mag \\ 09


The stage lights dim and loud

cheers echo as the adrenaline rush kicks in. They take a moment, look at each other and in their hearts know that this will be the last time they travel across the country together. It came as shocking news for long-time fans when American rock band, A Rocket to the Moon, announced earlier this year that this would be their final tour before they part ways, a decision coming from a mutual agreement among all bandmates. “It was something we’d been talking about for a few months, honestly. The music business isn’t really that fun a place. It’s a lot of sit around and wait for answers from the powers that be. You’ll get told a different answer every time you ask something. It got to a point where we were just ready to try something different. We wanted to keep progressing, but whoever is in charge wasn’t really helping us out too much,” expressed frontman Nick Santino in an interview with AltPress. With the release of their latest album “Wild & Free,” ARTTM announced that they would be joining The Maine and Brighten on their stateside trek this summer. It wasn’t long after their tour announcement that the band abruptly announced their break-up. “Usually bands do a final headliner, but we think this is the perfect way to end things. When I started out 10 \\ behind the break up


e h b t r e ak d n i eh

doing solo stuff as Rocket, I would always play shows with The Maine and Brighten. Now, we’re going out with The Maine and Brighten for our last shows. It makes sense,” proclaimed Santino. After a career that documents seven years of hard work and dedication, A Rocket to the Moon leaves behind nothing short of a legacy. Over the course of their career they have shared the stage with seasoned acts such as Cute is What We Aim For, Secondhand Serenade, 3OH!3 and others. They have also released four albums, four singles and two EPs, one of which, “Greetings From...,” ranked No. 21 on Billboard’s Top Heatseekers Chart in 2008. This won’t be the last we hear from lead singer Nick Santino and bandmates Justin Richards (lead guitar), Eric Halvorsen (bass guitar) and Andrew Cook (drums). While their days as A Rocket to the Moon have come to a bittersweet end, the guys will undoubtedly stick to their music roots, whether it’s managing bands, songwriting or pursuing solo careers. Upon following their break-up one thing is certain, A Rocket to the Moon’s delicate melodies and heart-wrenching lyrics will continue to echo beyond the walls of the music industry. Words & Photos by Adrianna Velazquez


CARDIFF NATION Words by Victoria Smith

GET CONNECTED @jakecardiff401 @John_Cardiff_

Impressed by the talent of a couple kids he spotted freestyling when he was 18, John Cardiff wanted to give it a try. He began freestyling with his younger brother Jake who soon discovered that he too, had a passion for hip-hop. Together they developed their passion for freestyling which started to take up a lot of their free time. The Rhode Island natives didn’t decide to take their career to the next level until the now 21-year-old, John, dropped out of college and younger brother, Jake, who had a passion for culinary arts passed up an opportunity to attend culinary arts school. They narrowed their focus in an effort to pursue their music careers. While the Cardiff duo has written and produced songs together, they’re also adamant about dedicating time to pursue their individual projects in addition to their collaborative works. Between balancing multiple jobs, investing time into their music careers and staying afloat financially, the Cardiff brothers have been gaining popularity and have experienced a growing fan base. The duo was presented with an opportunity to open up for Kendrick Lamar in front of thousands of attendees at the University of Rhode Island earlier this year. This experience undoubtedly sparked their momentum, leading to acknowledgement from emerging artist and musical inspiration, Jake Miller. With ideas for an EP on the horizon, the Cardiff brothers hope to embark on an independent nationwide tour as early as spring of 2014. In the meantime, they plan to continue working on both collaborative and individual projects while expanding their fan base from coast-to-coast as they gear up to find their place in the world of hip-hop. Verity Mag \\ 11

12 \\ brandon ray

brandon ray

The need for foot surgery at age twelve was enough to fuel a music career. Words & Photos by Adrianna Velazquez Born and raised in a small west Texas town called Big Spring, Brandon Ray grew up with country strong roots and no intent of becoming a musician. “It was so much fun growing up, just out in the country with my two older brothers playing football and any other sport you can think of,” he recalls. Growing up in a town where people were more excited for opening day than they were for income tax season, Brandon Ray had dreams of someday becoming a professional baseball player. His dream quickly came to a halt after needing surgery on his foot at age twelve. Following his surgery, Brandon picked up the guitar and began writing songs for entertainment in his free time. It wasn’t long before strumming chords and writing songs became two of his favorite hobbies. “Ever since I started writing when I was thirteen I decided I wanted to write for a living. I wanted to write for other people, for myself; I wanted to write on the road with different people,” he explained. Before he knew it, Brandon Ray was chasing dreams far too big for a small west Texas town. He packed up his things and moved his entire life to music city on a whim. “I picked up everything from Texas-- I was in a rock band, we were on Warped Tour and for years we would open for big rock acts and stuff. It was great but it wasn’t for me. I quit all of that to come here and pursue this thing and there’s no way I’m ever gonna leave here until that’s accomplished,” explained Brandon. Relocating to Nashville was undoubtedly the best decision he’s made. It wasn’t long after he walked into town that he signed a deal with a publishing

company. Since moving to Nashville, he has developed a strong fan base and has even had the opportunity of meeting with Florida Georgia Line’s manager, Seth England, who immediately took note of his solid fan base. “I was waiting on a label and he asked why and told me that if I was waiting on a label I wouldn’t have anything out for two years from now. That really inspired me and put a fire under me to put something out. I’ve had more opportunities than other major label acts because I’m moving and I’m doing it and I’m not held back,” expressed Brandon. Earlier this year he released his first EP titled Shake ‘Em Off in which he had the opportunity to write with songwriter and longtime idol, Bob DiPiero. “Ever since I was a kid I would see his name [Bob DiPiero] in the liner notes and I thought to myself ‘Aw, I want to write with this guy someday’,” he reflected. “I’ve been with a publisher for about three years now and they booked me with him, I was all excited and nervous,” added Brandon. Together they penned Summer Thang, the fourth song off his Shake ‘Em Off EP. In addition to releasing his first EP earlier this year, Brandon also had the opportunity to join country superstar, Taylor Swift on twenty dates of her Red Tour as an opening act alongside Brett Eldredge. Though Nashville is full of musicians chasing dreams, one thing is certain, you can always tell the difference between those who really want it and those who don’t. Although his career as a singer is just getting started, there is no doubt that Brandon Ray will find a place for himself in the country music industry. Verity Mag \\ 13

Jillette Johnson Words by Adrianna Velazquez Penning songs and attending music lessons since she was a child, Jillette Johnson began captivating audiences with her distinct vocals and piano-driven harmonies ever since she began playing live shows in and around New York City at the age of twelve. The wide-eyed dreamer never turned down an opportunity that presented itself. Her fearless and ambitious character opened the door to endless opportunities and provided her with honest relationships that would continue to influence the development of her music career and aid her on a quest to defining herself. Jillette’s endless wonders were conducive to her bold decision to leave behind her hometown of Pound Ridge, New York to conquer the sleepless streets of New York City. A city built by dreamers and streets paved by believers, New York City has influenced a number of pieces of her original work. The energy and dreams that constantly fight to survive create an inspiring environment perfect for crafting strong ballads. “I often sit at my piano and start writing and improvising songs simutaneously. My songs are inspired by my whole life and what I’ve come to know is important and worth my time,” expressed Jillette. “I want to inspire people and make them feel like they have a home in my music,” she continued. “Cameron,” a song that appears to focus on a little boy 14 \\ jillette johnson

Verity Mag \\ 15

Jillette Johnson The PIke Room Pontiac, MI

who enjoys wearing lipstick but is viewed by bystanders as an alien due to his unusual behavior, depicts the idea that you are only as real as you allow yourself to be. “While this song talks about a little boy who enjoys wearing lipstick and was inspired by a transgender child, it serves a greater message. In a sense, Cameron is a song about me at a time in my life when I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin. It’s about looking in the mirror and feeling like you don’t belong. It’s about embracing yourself, not letting people define you, and defining yourself,” explained Jillette. Her use of strong ballads and heartfelt messages shared through her powerful lyrics undeniably sets her apart from other musicians alike while positively impacting listeners. Drawing the attention of Wind-Up Records with her song Cameron, Jillette Johnson signed a record deal in the early part of 2012. Following her record deal, the song was featured on her five-track EP, Whiskey & Frosting, that released in 2012. Jillette released her debut

You’re not an alien, Cameron album, Water in a Whale, on Wind-Up Records this past June, which ranked in the top 12 on the iTunes Pop Charts following its debut. She was also given the opportunity to tour with American Idol winner Kris Allen on his Out Alive tour. Jillette also had the opportunity to embark on another tour with Satellite over the summer. “Going out on tour has been incredible. I really learned a lot from the guys, especially how to manage things while being out on the road,” expressed Jillette. While this year has provided the talented singer/songwriter with opportunities to get a foot in the door, she’s already in the process of accomplishing new goals. Like any artist, every journey experiences some failures, it’s how you choose to react to those failures that defines who you are or where you’re going. “Accept your failures, be happy for them and don’t hold grudges,” she advises. Jillette’s optimistic mindset, fearless attitude and dedication will continue to fuel her dreams. 18 \\ jillette johnson

Verity Mag \\ 19


econdhand erenade

We caught up with frontman John Vesley of Secondhand Serenade to talk about his career, the new album, and his move to Nashville.

VM: Where did you grow up? Do you have any siblings? Secondhand Serenade: I grew up in Northern California near the Bay Area. I have one brother that I grew up with and a half brother and half sisters that I didn’t see much. VM: At what age did you discover that music was in your nature and at what point did you think to yourself this was something you had to pursue? SS: I began playing piano at a young age and I didn’t really like it. It was one of those things that my parents kind of forced me to do. In junior high I decided I wanted to play rock music and I began doing it secretly. My brother started playing bass and that’s when I finally came out with it and stopped hiding it from my parents. VM: How did you decide on Secondhand Serenade for a stage name? SS: I tried to think of something that was kind of a moniker rather than my name. I didn’t want to use my name because I didn’t want to be labeled. Secondhand Serenade had a nice ring to it. I think it was a perfect fit because whenever you write a song for someone they’re usually the first ones to hear it. VM: Since your debut in the music industry you have released four albums. The first was ‘Awake’ which was followed by ‘A Twist In My Story,’ ‘Hear Me Now’ and ‘A Naked Twist In My Story.’ In what ways do you feel that these albums differ? SS: Well, the thing is that music changes and progresses over time so I certainly notice differences between each album. I noticed evolution as a writer between ‘A Twist In My Story’ and ‘A Naked Twist In My Story’. The difference between these two albums was that I took a break for a little while because I wanted to give fans what they’ve been waiting for. I did that by taking ‘A Twist In My Story’ and giving it an acoustic spin. By doing that I was allowing the fans to hear things from my perspective. They always appreciate the acoustic side of things and they were excited about it. VM: In 2008 you released a single called “Fall For You” which became your first single. This single sold over two million units. What did the success of this single imply about your career? Were you expecting it to get the attention that it received? SS: It was really a surprise that it sold the way it did, I 22 \\ secondhand serenade

was not expecting to sell so many. It was really cool and I was just glad that people liked it. Its success meant a lot to me as a musician. It made me want to continue to work hard and to put out the best music that I possibly can. VM: Who are some of your musical inspirations? SS: They range from The Beach Boys and The Beattles to artists that are involved in all aspects of what they’re doing. Anything from artists like The Lumineers, Imagine Dragons and P!nk. I love and appreciate a lot of different kinds of music. I’m really getting into country too, especially being in Nashville. I’m learning to appreciate it, and I actually like listening to it. It’s been a fun little musical journey. I’ve been opening my ears a lot. VM: You were previously living in California, what sparked you to relocate to Nashville? SS: I enjoyed my time in Los Angeles, but I went to Nashville to work on the new record. Writers and musicians here work so hard, I figured out it’s where I want to be and it’s where I feel inspired. VM: When will the new album be released and what sets this one apart from your previous work? SS: The new record is more fun. I’m in a different place now than I was before and the music on the new record is reflective of my lifestyle. It’s an inspiring, feel good album. There are different themes that weren’t present in older albums. Some songs are based on a lady friend, while others are more about life issues. I feel like I’ve grown a lot in terms of the style that’s going to be on the new record. VM: In recent years the economy has taken a hit. One of the first industries that feel the aftermath is the music industry. Have you ever personally experienced these effects? How do you as an artist who makes music for a living keep your balance in hard economic times? SS: Every artist is definitely affected. The condition of the economy contributes to how easy it is for people to get music for free. Pandora allows people to listen to music for free. The most important thing is being able to adapt. People have to understand it isn’t 2001, you don’t sell 13 million records anymore. You need to understand what works, what keeps you stable and what keeps your financial gains ahead. It’s important to embrace new outlets for music. We’re artists and we

Verity Mag \\ 23

need to be able to adapt. I think it’s definitely the time for independent artists. VM: Your current album has been fully funded by fans through Pledge Music. Why did you choose to ask fans to fund this album? What does the amount you were able to raise tell you about your fan base? SS: Asking fans to fund my album was a way to bring them closer. Being attached to a label, you as an artist get detached from the fans because you have a lot of other people doing things for you. I wanted to bring my career back to being about me and my fans, simply on that level. I wanted them to be a good part of the process. I really wanted to make them feel like they are part of the reason I am able to do what I love. The amount of money I was able to raise to fund the new album truly shows that I have people supporting me that genuinely care. VM: Some artists have a very spontaneous songwriting process while others are more organized. What are your songwriting and recording processes like? SS: Songwriting is different every time. Sometimes you write a song in six months. It’s something that can’t be forced, you really have to be in a comfortable environment and want to write. It’s something that comes to you at the most random times and when it does you have to write your ideas down whereas recording is a more organized process. VM: What is the most difficult obstacle you’ve had to overcome? SS: There were times I was sitting in the basement of my house in Northern California down in the studio doing things myself. One of the hardest things is working alone. Sitting there alone doing all of the production of a song yourself is difficult because there is nobody to bounce ideas off of. Sometimes you never finish a song because you get stuck. Money definitely makes things tough, it takes a lot of money to create a record. I earned a good amount of money through my pledge campaign. I had to take a break with music for a little while because I learned that it was extremely mechanical for me. VM: What would you consider to be your biggest achievement this far in your career? SS: My fans definitely represent something important. Being able to gain more and more of them [fans] is a big achievement. When it comes down to it, one of the 24 \\ secondhand serenade

most important things is being able to affect people. I’m proud that I’ve been able to positively affect people through my music. VM: What do you dislike about the music industry and what do you like about it? SS: I dislike the fact that everything is based off of a clique. It’s kind of like high school to be completely honest. Everyone judges you based on things that happened in the past. They judge you on whether you sold ‘x’ amount of records. The whole thing [the industry] is not about who you are, it’s about what you’ve done or what you’ve sold. I want them to think about me, what I have to offer and who I am now. I go through a lot of changes as a person and musically it should be fair. Everything should be based off of what you have to offer now, not what you did or didn’t do in the past. I like the fact that you can play by your own rules. I don’t really have anyone telling me what to do now. I was able to make my own record. I like that I can play by my own rules, make music on my terms and make it how I want it. VM: If you didn’t pursue music what would your ideal job be? SS: A chef, I would love to be a chef. I’d love to have my own restaurant. I’m really good at it [cooking] and I appreciate food and good cooking. VM: What do you see when you’re on stage performing? Do you see faces in the crowd or do you get lost in the music? SS: I get very involved with the crowd when I play live, especially when I play solo. It’s important to get that kind of connection. I also get lost in what I’m doing. Being too conscious of anything other than what you’re doing can mess you up. VM: Do you prefer to play in larger or smaller venues? SS: Larger shows are fun because of the shear magnitude of what’s going on. It’s definitely exciting and you get an adrenaline rush. Smaller shows are amazing because of better communication between me and the VM fans, it creates a more personal experience. It was fun catching up with John Vesley of Secondhand Serenade and we are certainly anticipating the release of the new album.


Verity Mag \\ 25

S econdhand erenade

KALEIDO Words by Courtney Rose & Adrianna Velazquez Photos by Adrianna Velazquez

When I first met Christina Chriss, the first thing I noticed was her hair.

The twenty-six year old Detroit native rocks the blonde with a spunky hot pink underlay, matched by a poppy pink lipstick. If her signature look and unique sense of style aren’t enough to capture your attention, the sassy rocker chick takes the honor of leading the upcoming and unstoppable pop/rock band, Kaleido. Throughout high school, Christina played in a small band alongside current bandmate, Cody Morales (bass). Though the band they played in began to unravel and fall apart, Christina’s passion for music continued to thrive. With her genuine passion for music, she continued writing and eventually began writing with longtime friend Joey Fava (guitar), who played in another local band from Detroit. In no time, their collaborative songwriting sessions began to create lyrical masterpieces, which sparked the idea to create a band of their own in 2011. Forming the band around their songwriting sessions, the two invited ex-bandmate Cody to join them. In addition, Christina enlisted high school classmate and current guitar player Ronnie Rosolino to the band. After playing together for 6 months they decided to enhance their sound and amplify their live performance by recruiting mutual friend and lead guitarist Jamie Burnaham. Influenced by a diverse selection of respectable groups including Guns N Roses, Led Zepplin, The Foo Fighters, Blink-182 and even John Mayer, Kaleido combines a unique blend of instrumentals brought alive by guitar riffs to create an upbeat and energetic sound that captivates listeners. Though the lyrical concepts they express may reflect hardships or rough patches, they do their very best to turn even the most horrendous downfalls or life experiences into a positive image. “We try to portray a positive outlook on life through our music. A lot of times we try to write our lyrics through a perspective of us talking ourselves up with motivation or encouragement,” explained Christina. Kaleido’s extreme levels of motivation and their desire to succeed motivated each bandmate to give up their day jobs and move into an apartment together in an effort to make music their primary focus. “Being in a band comes with a lot of sacrifice. We don’t have the luxury of having a consistent schedule. 30 \\ kaleido

We don’t punch-in and punch-out every day. We’re on a constant grind making music, making money and reinvesting it into the band. There really aren’t any off days if you want to make it in this industry,” added Christina. Kaleido’s dedication and constant work has evoked an impressing list of accomplishments in the two years they’ve spent together as a band. Some of their accomplishments include being selected as Detroit 89x’s “People’s Choice” winner eleven times, opening up for bands such as Evanescence , The Off Spring and Twenty One Pilots and many others. The band was also nominated as one of MTV’s artists to watch in 2013. After playing a few dates of the Vans Warped Tour in 2012, Kaleido was invited back to play at Vans Warped Tour 2013 when the tour made stops in Cleveland, Chicago and Detroit. With over 9,000 retweets regarding their Warped Tour experience Kaleido’s fan base instantly saw a substantial growth. Their impressing list of accomplishments doesn’t stop there. Earlier this year, Kaleido made a shocking announcement on Facebook that read, “We’re BEYOND excited to make one of the biggest, craziest, most surreal announcements we’ve EVER made...we’re sharing the stage and playing right before Kid Rock on September 28th at The D Las Vegas Casino Hotel! Bringin’ Detroit to Las Vegas, baby!” Kaleido aims to continue building a strong following, tour the entirety of Vans Warped Tour in 2014 and spread positive vibes through their work to fans and listeners everywhere. “We want to spread positive vibes through our work We want to inspire people to go after what makes them happy because at the end of the day your happiness determines your success,” expressed Kaleido. Having a second EP on the horizon, Kaleido looks to conquer new obstacles and experiences while working hard to be the best product of their artistic vision.

“We’re lucky to be working Musicians making a living doing What we love.”


Verity Mag \\ 31

JOCELYN Words by Victoria Smith & Adrianna Velazquez

32 \\ jocelyn



magine going to high school with someone who would be a fellow band member a few years down the road. Imagine meeting your lead guitarist in college. That’s exactly how three members of an upcoming and noteworthy band, Jocelyn, met. Hailing from Iowa City, Jocelyn originally formed in the early part of 2012 shortly after longtime friends Alex Wiese (bass) and Landon Boyer (vocals) graduated from college in fall of 2011. The two college graduates connected with Steve Lydick (guitar) to pen their debut EP To You And Yours, which they released that January. With the release of their debut album, the trio loaded up their Honda Civic and set out on the road to promote the album. As they traveled cross-country following bands that shared a similar sound, Alex, Landon and Steve spent month after month sleeping in vacant parking lots to promote their band and connect with fans on a personal level. It’s their method of promoting that sets Jocelyn apart from many other bands. “The name Jocelyn was inspired by our desire to connect with people one-on-one. We believe that everyone has a story, and by having a name as our band name it brings fans closer because it personifies our music. None of us personally know a Jocelyn so it gives us the ability to imagine whomever we want,” explained Alex. It was shortly after recording their second EP Storyline in the fall of 2012 and that they attracted their fourth and final band member Josh Adams (guitar/ vocals). Together they traveled more than 100,000 miles in a Honda Civic in an effort to build a dedicated following. With a strong fan base to back them up, Jocelyn started the year off strong embarking on their own three month long acoustic tour this past January. As they traveled coast to coast they found themselves playing exclusive house parties in fans’ living rooms. Their year-long journey didn’t end there. In July, they announced a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to purchase a van that would comfortably accomodate the guys opposed to their small Honda Civic. With a goal of $5,000, Jocelyn launched the Kickstarter, which met their goal within the first ten

minutes. Two days later their goal had doubled. The support they received from fans through their Kickstarter campaign led them to create a list of unique rewards for their generous donations. While they varied based on donation amounts, some rewards included homemade freedom jackets, signature bracelets, and even a chance to tour with the band. Over the course of three weeks Jocelyn’s Kickstarter campaign raised over $20,000. “The reason why we haven’t formed street teams is that we’ve done 99% of promoting ourselves. This goes to show just what we are capable of,” Jocelyn explained. Following their Kickstarter campaign, they invested in new equipment and a van just in time for their August tour with Hello Highway. The month long tour gave Jocelyn the opportunity to personally thank fans for their support and was a great end to a fun and unforgettable summer. Jocelyn is currently working on a full-length EP that they plan to release later this fall.

The reason why we haven’t formed street teams is that we’ve done 99% of promoting ourselves.

Verity Mag \\ 33

ALBUM The 1975 By Emily Kirchner

English indie-rockers, The 1975, play with more than just dreamy accents and catchy choruses. They play with passion, heart, and drama. Their debut self-titled album The 1975 brings together the best of musical ingenuity and heartfelt lyricism. If you’ve never heard of this band before, it would be understandable. With a few hard-to-find EPs on their discography, the band hasn’t made its big debut in the States previous to this release. Assuming Americans haven’t gotten enough of English music quite yet, one could point to this indie bunch and say they could be the next big fix. If debuting at number one on the UK album charts wouldn’t be enough of an indicator of the star-quality the gentlemen of The

1975 have backing them, then a listen to a few of their tracks would. Their music could be best described as part 80s influenced pop, part indie-rock and all imagination. The album opens up with a minuteor-so-long intro aptly named after the band and album that pushes the listener into the first track “The City,” an upbeat tune that somehow arouses black and white images of being in love in the city. The song is strongly followed with a parade of poppy tunes, including “Settle Down,” a crisp and lyrical sort-of love song. Lines like “I’m so fixated on the girl with the soft sound/ and hair all over the place” and “but you’re losing your words/ we’re speaking in bodies/ avoiding me and talking ‘bout you” melodically tell of a passionate but charged romance. Other songs like “Girls,” have a heavy 80s pop feel that carry coming-of-age lyrics about being young and in love and with no direction, speaking to a generation of teenagers who don’t know what they need and

“can’t be what you need.” At times, the lyrics seem more like dialogue from a story personally told by lead singer and lyricist Matthew Healy. “Menswear” is a vignetted snippet of a scene at a wedding told from the eyes of the sloshed but cynically lucid singer. Mashed in the spaces connecting these songs are ethereal and breathy interludes that make you feel like you are floating on air, which are admittedly a nice exhaling period between the awesomely weird use of electro-alt instrumentals in the longer songs. The album as a whole seems to tell an angsty but artful tale of being young, in love, in lust and in need of direction. The album is less so a vessel for delivering pop hits and more so a space for the band to put their souls on their sleeves in a vulnerable but beautiful way. The 1975’s debut album is much more than some an upbeat and ingenious new indie spectacle—it’s also a ballad told from the wanderlustful eyes, hearts, and imaginations of the band.

SONG Treasure By Candace Rose Bruno’s smooth lyrics and 80s sound combined create a unique style. “Treasure,” the third single off his most recent album, “Unorthodox Jukebox” amplifies Bruno’s 80s sound. The latest single currently holds one of the Top 100 spots on Many call Bruno Mars one of the the iTunes Charts. hottest performers in the industry, There’s no doubt that Bruno Mars is while others are constantly stunned the ideal ladies man. Many would by his powerful vocals. call him the Rico Suave of music. 34 \\ reviews

In the hopeless romatic love story told through “Treasure,” Bruno begs for a girl’s attention. The heart-wrenching lyrics are brought to life through Bruno’s delicate vocals. His ability to conquer high pitches and the support of a strong arrangement of instrumentals make “Treasure” a great song for any hopeless romantic.



By Courtney Rose moving on from the negativity that once plagued her life . The lyrical concept paints a clear picture of strength and independence. The uplifiting lyrics are brought alive by her powerful vocals. “Roar” undoubtedly defines Katy’s ability by Pop Queen, Katy Perry has the eye pushing her to new heights. Her voof the tiger, and is dancing through cal strength is evident in the closing the fire according to her new single when Katy belts out a defining high “Roar.” note. “Roar” is Katy’s eighth single and the The tropical, Tarzan imagery sets the first single that has been lifted off theme for this powerful feel-good her new album “Prism” scheduled to jam. Straying away from Katy’s usual release this October. style, “Roar” possesses a consistent Having been recently divocrced tempo throughout the track that from the Hollywood comedy, “Get keeps you entranced from the beginHim To The Greek” superstar, Rus- ning. sell Brand, “Roar” portrays a strong Despite how cliche the chorus may message. The heartfelt lyrics are sound, “Roar” is borderline brilliant Katy’s way of telling the world she’s Its energentic and dominating pop

beat brings the lyrical concept full circle. Following its release, “Roar” quickly climed to the No.1 spot on the iTunes chart surpassing Lady Gaga’s “Applause,” which was released the same day to simply challenge the California Girl on the charts. “Applause” was no contest to the “Roar” that shook the charts and ultimately dethroned Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines’ which topped the charts for tweleve consecutive weeks. Its fast race to the top and the feelgood vibes given off by paradise jungle “Roar” sets will be hard for any artist to contend with. Typically known for her energentic poppy sound, the rest of the “Prism” album is expected to possess a darker perspective.

ALBUM Yours Truly By Victoria Smith with Mac Miller, this album includes a collection of songs. From a wide variety of slow, romantic ballads to up-beat tunes that will make anyone who isn’t a fan of Grande an automatic Arianator, “Yours Truly” is one-of-a-kind. The vibe from the album consists of a deeper, soulful Made famous by her role as Cat in meaning than average listener may Nickelodeon’s hit show, Victorious, pick up on. However, with all great Ariana Grande recently dropped albums comes a downfall. her first full-length studio album on Listed as number one on “Yours TruSeptember 3rd. This singer, songly” is a song entitled, “Honeymoon writer, and actress definitely surAvenue.” With a recent uproar from prised fans with her unique sound Arinators alike, Grande and longand outstanding vocals throughout term boyfriend Jai Brooks (Janoskithe album. Many expressed, “She’s ans member) announced they were incredibly talented.” officially over. Grande quickly recovFeaturing her hit song, “The Way” ered and moved on to The Wanted’s

Nathan Skyes, who is also featured featured on her album. Grande dished after the breakup with Brooks, “Honeymoon Avenue” is about a relationship ending and wanting to go back in time. With all controversy pushed aside, Yours Truly will definitely make Grande’s mark in the music world— if it hasn’t already. After climbing to number one on the Top 100 Albums iTunes list, Grande’s fandom has been growing rapidly. It is evident that she has a bright future ahead of her whether it is in the acting or music industry. I, and surely the other Arianators, cannot wait to see what Ariana Grande has to offer next. Verity Mag \\ 35


Verity Mag Fall 2013  

The fall issue of Verity Mag features Jillette Johnson, Secondhand Serenade, Kinetics & One Love and more.