James Kevin O'Connor Agency

DE160 Esha | Igniting Passion with Perseverance!

Esha FB.png

Esha possesses that gift. In listening to her finely crafted, emotionally charged music it’s hard to believe the heart and the voice behind it belongs to a 15-year- old, but then, creativity isn’t limited by any number. Esha is proof.

With the release of her debut album “Beautiful” in 2016, and her second album, “Dangerous” in 2017, Esha is on her way to creating a name for herself. Her songs carry the emotional depth of Adele and commercial sensibilities of Ed Sheeran, yet her voice possesses a strong, unique edgy quality that truly defies comparison to any other artist.

“Dangerous” shows the evolution of Esha from a tremendously talented young singer/songwriter to a world-class artist. While “Beautiful” was an emotional, intimate diary of a young artist discovering her talent, “Dangerous” is a brave, passionate collection of songs that explores the dangers of love. It is all about risk, empowerment and growth wrapped up in music that dares the listener not to move with the beat, sing along to the catchy hooks or cry with the deep heart wrenching vocal ballads.
 

With a wisdom beyond her years, Esha has an innate ability to write great songs that tackle complex life experiences, yet she’s often at her most compelling when exploring more personal territory on vulnerable ballads such as “I’m Not Loving You.”

“I’ve always had it in my heart,” she says of her affinity for music. Esha began writing songs when she was only six years old, shortly after being diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome. “Music became my therapy. It helped me cope and gave me an outlet for my emotions. And it taught me to dream.”

These days, she’s learned to manage her challenges and isn’t letting anything slow her down as she pursues her music. “I’ve found a way to cope through songwriting,” she says. “When you find something that you really love and put effort and time into it, it can have a positive impact on all areas of your life. You can get so lost in what you love doing that it’s easy to forget about your problems. My advice to others dealing with challenges is to find what you love and let it save you.”

Esha has a lot to channel all her positive energy into as her career is taking off. She’s signed a management deal with the Nashville-based Copeland Tucker Group. Her music video, “Yesterday” already has over 24,000 views in just a few short months. You will also find her featured in the 2017 issue of Destination Magazine and she will be bringing her live show to some very prestigious music festival events in the summer and fall of 2017.

Esha has learned that music is a powerful force and she’s ready to wield it to make a difference. “I hope for my music to make an impact on people,” Esha says. “I want it to touch people and I want them to find something in every song that they can truly relate to.”

Listen to the interview here!

Download the interview here:

DE159 The Ormewoods | Sharing Stories on Love, Roots, and Their Fresh Take on Traditional Folk Music

FB.png

Don McCollister and Claire Pearson bring dynamic individual musical histories to their remarkable partnership. Don’s 25 year career includes work with Sister Hazel, Shawn Mullins, and Third Day. He also produced tracks for Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush before they formed the superstar duo Sugarland. Artists that Don McCollister have worked with have collectively sold over 15 million albums, been nominated for 85 major music awards where they have won 47, had 34 #1 billboard hits and charted singles. Often dubbed "the artist's" producer because he himself is a multi-instrumentalist who continues to perform live.

Claire Pearson (previously performed as Pearson Perry but dropped the Perry moniker after her divorce) is an Atlanta based singer-songwriter whose song "Love is a Mountain" (co-written with Heidi Higgins) charted #37 on on the top 100 list of most played singles on independent radio in 2014. She was also one of the top 5 most played pop artists on independent radio in 2014 according to Roots Music Report. She founded Atlanta Intown Songwriters in 2011 to build the Atlanta artist network for aspiring songwriters.

In 2016, they quickly built a base of fans as they toured the Southeast and Mid-West promoting their debut album "The Bedroom Sessions". The album continues to receive strong Americana radio support across the country thanks to their #1 single "HeyBabe" (RootsMusicReport) which has been on the folk charts for over 30 consecutive weeks.

With Claire (the duo’s chief songwriter) drawing lyrics directly from entries in her diary detailing the first 90 days of the duo’s re-connection after many years and unexpected resulting relationship, the duo decided the best way to capture the intimate nature of the songs was to turn her bedroom into a recording studio. Don set up his gear and the album was recorded in a series of literal bedroom sessions. While recording and gearing up for the official roll-out of their album, The Ormewoods scored a unique coup, with the key track “Year of Mercy” being named runner up for Best Folk Song 2016 by Song of the Year Songwriting Competition and nominated as Best Folk Song of 2016 by the American Songwriting Awards. The dynamic of the what some have called “the happy Civil Wars” is further reflected on songs like the sly and soulful “Hey Babe,” about the tension between not wanting to be tied up again and those feelings of falling in love; the playful, high energy “Back To You,” about finishing what they started so many years ago; and “Sleep Like Strangers,” about those occasional moments of doubt and distance.

The duo is now working on their second release, slated for an October 2017 release. Vocalists, multi-instrumentalists, and seasoned performers, The Ormewoods enjoy nothing more than loading up gear and hitting the road for live shows where they can share their authentic take on love and life with all ages and fans of all genres.

Listen to the interview here!

Download the interview here:

DE158 Faith Ziegler | Pursuing Passion and Chasing Dreams with Faith!

Faith FB.png

Faith Ziegler is a young, up and coming singer and songwriter from Berlin, Connecticut. At only 8 years old, she was already dreaming of singing and performing on big stages in front of millions of people. When she was 14, she taught herself how to play the guitar and even wrote her first song. In a span of 2 years, she has written over a hundred songs about meaningful life experiences that many people can relate to.

At the age of 18, Ziegler was ready to step out into the world with her music releasing her debut album entitled "Finally Dreaming" which gives us a look into her innermost thoughts and feelings. With a sweet, smooth voice comparable to the sounds of Katy Perry and writing style similar to Taylor Swift, her mixed pop/country style flair will get you hooked instantly.

Listen to the interview here!

Download the interview here:

DE157 Ray Williams | From Motown to Soul Town to Nashville! Ray adds a unique flair to her music!

Ray FB.png

Originally from Detroit, Rachel Williams moved to Nashville when she was just 17 years old. Upon her big move to Nashville, Williams signed a publishing and management deal with Kim Copeland and Susan Tucker and from there, began hitting the road with acts such as Wynonna, Trace Adkins, Jason Aldean, Jo Dee Messina, and many more, even releasing two albums and two EPs in the country music market over the years as 'Rachel Williams'.

Williams is currently gearing up to release a new Motown-inspired album of original songs, under the name 'Ray Williams', produced by hit songwriter and member of Bob Seger's Silver Bullet Band, Jim 'Moose' Brown, and will be releasing the album one single at a time.

Williams is now working with artists and producers from Motown Records, and will be featured in a music documentary shot in Detroit about the 'New Motown'. Look out for her first single, coming towards the end of the year on Spotify, iTunes, and wherever else digital music is available!

Listen to the interview here!

Download the interview here:

DE156 Willamena | Making meaningful music and the importance of having a positive mindset!

Willamena FB.png

Willamena is a rarity — a nationally-charting genuine indie band. “Strong Enough to Last” (mixed by Grammy-winner Cameron Webb) is the band’s sixth studio effort, and advance single “When You Close Your Eyes (Radio Mix)” was on the radio even before the EP went to replication. So all the arrows continue to point “up” for the award-winning #1 Kalamazoo rock act dubbed as “the hardest-working band in Michigan” – music.AllAccess.com 10/20/15 whose music has aired from Japan to Montana to Greece.

Their fifth release “The Light Ahead” hit the streets and the airwaves in January 2015. Before the release date of “The Light Ahead” lead-off single “The Other Side of Loneliness” debuted at #5 on the Billboard AAA indicator most-added chart (1/17/15), started at #3 in AAA downloads and streams on radio-servicer PlayMPE.com (1/2/15), and jumped straight onto the FMQB AAA top-200 singles chart at #110 (1/20/15) – all without professional promotion or a publicist. “The Other Side…” peaked at #87 on the FMQB singles chart, stopped only by a lack of “promo” spending. The EP itself climbed directly to #1 on Amazon.com’s “Hot New Releases” Adult Alternative list (1/17/15) and cracked the top-100 on the FMQB AAA non-comm album chart. Willamena's follow-up single “If This Is Love” charted nationally as well, and their third single “Way Back When” spun on over 200 radio stations world-wide. As RadioInfo.com observed, “… it’s definitely a marketable sound that makes for some hit triple-A playlists… and hot AC/AC stations that wait patiently for their turn …. We are keeping our ears on them. So should you.” (RadioInfo.com Rock “pick of the week” 1/14/15).

But “The Light Ahead” was no flash in the pan. Willamena has been impressing programmers, critics and fans for years. The band’s 2013 CD “Lost in the Shadows” and its tracks charted nationally in six radio formats: Top 40, Hot AC, Triple A, Active Rock, Americana, and College. At least 180 terrestrial stations in six countries aired something from “Lost…” not counting syndicated-show affiliates that pushed the total well over 300. Several critics predicted the success of “Lost in the Shadows” from the get-go:

“… [U]ndeniably infectious rock…” “… [T]he standout tracks… could do some serious damage on U.S. radio in 2013. And that means there are songs on this album you’ll likely be humming in your sleep.” John Sinkevics, Revue Magazine and http://www.LocalSpins.com

“… [Lost… has] a very polished sound that suits their seemingly effortless radio-ready rock anthems perfectly… [It] should help… give them the national attention they… rightfully deserve.” – Justin Kreitzer

“Lost in the Shadows” followed 2004’s “Far From the Current.” “… Current” aired on then-emerging AAA stations from Seattle to Staten Island to satellite (XM Unsigned’s “most notable” and “most played” lists) on a near-zero budget and made its own mark in the music world:

“Willamena… turn the Northern superiority complex against itself with devastating results in ‘Rock-n-Roll.” Dave Queen, Village Voice 9/26/05 re: “… Current”

“I keep thinking, how could a band with this talent and sound not be on a big label… will these guys ever run out of hooks?” Bill Ribas, NYRock.com 3/5/2005 re: “… Current”

“…[P]op rock, in the vein of Matchbox 20, Counting Crows, modern U2, etc… a familiar rock sound culled from decades past, [but] the sheer craftsmanship… in the music keeps [it] from coming across as a stale rehash… Comparisons aside, Lucas Ross is a great rock vocalist…” Alan Moore, LoveLaborMusic.com 6/14/2005 re: “… Current”

But by the time “… Current” was released, what became the music industry’s (and Michigan’s) unprecedented decline was already underway. For one snapshot of the milieu, a story in the Grand Rapids Press about “… Current” was titled “Willamena revives music scene in Grand Rapids.” (Tricia Woolfenden, Grand Rapids Press 2/5/04).

Simply put, after “… Current” came out, tough times got tougher. Willamena’s home base between the coasts and lack of industry connections (or cash) had always hampered the band; what turned out to be “the big crash” didn’t help. Neither did Napster, or NAFTA, or club closings, or slashed label rosters, or the cratered economy which scattered so many Michiganders, and the band, around the country seeking work. In mid-2009 the band went on a reluctant hiatus.

So despite winning the 142-band WBFX/Aris Hampers Rock Search in 2001… and despite making head-turning original rock like the 2002 CD “Ghost of July” which produced rave reviews like these:

“Willamena are the Derek Jeters of local music… Along with their kick-butt live shows… “Ghost of July” is putting these cats on the bus that says “Major League…” Buddah Worthmore, Music Revue, 5/2002

“’Ghost of July’ could be the most solid release from a local band this year – a sonically-superior recording showcasing emotional performances and… gifted songwriting… highly recommended…” Recoil Magazine, 6/2002

… and despite headlining at premier clubs from Milwaukee to Manhattan and outdoor festivals, and opening for national acts like Fishbone, The Why Store, and SR-71… and despite earning “… the reputation of being the hardest-working act in Michigan…” (The Buzz, TheIndustryResource.com 12/22/04)… and despite maintaining the title of “… the hardest-working band in Michigan…” (Carly Plank, Revue Magazine 6/20/13) years later… Willamena remained unsigned and, largely, undiscovered.

Undiscovered, that is, until the rise of internet radio, and LPFM, and the Triple A radio format, and accessible technology that brought Willamena’s music out of obscurity. Beginning in 2011, world-class recording pros including Gravity Studios’ Doug McBride (Fall Out Boy, Rachael Yamagata, Veruca Salt), Grammy winner John Seymour (U2, Santana, Dave Matthews Band) and Grammy winner Cameron Webb (Kelly Clarkson, Social Distortion, Motorhead) began to take an interest in the band, contributing their talents on various tracks (and on decidedly non-major-label budgets). Throughout 2012, ‘13, and ‘14 radio stations all over the U.S. and internationally-syndicated programs latched on to Willamena’s hook-filled songs, and the stage was set for 2015’s “The Light Ahead.”

Music fans around the world have been figuring out what the major labels have missed so far: Willamena has the goods. “Strong Enough to Last” is another collection of original, radio-ready Midwestern rock n’ roll, and it’s set to line the band up toe-to-toe with major-label acts on radio playlists around the globe.

“‘… Clearly, Lucas Ross is a great rock vocalist, and carries dynamics the way that Fred Neil did, and Rob Thomas and Bono still do…” KZHP Sacramento

“There is plenty to like here and these guys should really make a splash on the music scene… Expect great things from Willamena. They’ve got the chops to achieve them… 4.5 stars (out of 5).” – G.W. Hill re: “Lost in the Shadows”

“… Their music is ready made to fill arenas…” John Verburg, WestMichiganIndie.com

Listen to the interview here:

Download the interview here: