This series of features highlights the 2015 NewSong Music finalists. Each artist is invited to Lincoln Center on January 7th for the opportunity to win the #NSM Grand Prize. We sat down with each finalist to learn more about their music and background. Hope you enjoy!
The Shades consist of Andrew DeMuro, and brothers Phil & Mark Jacobson. Although still relatively new to the Chicago music scene, the group’s roots extend back to 2008 when all three members first connected at the University of Miami in Florida. Fans credit close, three-part harmonies as the element that makes The Shades’ music stand out. Their smooth vocals, refreshing arrangements and creative mashups have peaked the interest of fans of Crosby, Stills, & Nash, James Taylor, John Mayer & Ed Sheeran alike.
Having spent the past year gracing the likes of the House of Blues, Evanston SPACE, Mayne Stage and Schubas Tavern in Chicago, The Shades are currently writing and recording new music to share with fans across the Midwest and the Northeast. Having made their New York City debut at Rockwood Music Hall in August, the guys plan to return to the east coast for a tour of colleges & universities in early 2016. ‘Take You Home,’ the group’s first single release, premiered as American Songwriter Magazine’s Daily Discovery in November 2015, and can be streamed free on www.soundcloud.com/wetheshades.
Q: What is your songwriting process?
A: If the Beatles had been plumbers rather than songwriters, chances are we’d be working on toilets at the moment. They are THAT integral to who we are as artists. As far as our process, we like to write songs on Monday mornings, after a complete breakfast and a few cups of coffee. It usually starts with a simple chord progression, and ends with three or four complete lyric-overhauls. Most of the time in between is spent arranging vocal harmonies, which is definitely our favorite element of songwriting.
Q:What does it mean to you to be selected as a NewSong finalist, and what do you hope to get out of the experience?
A: For us, this is validation that we’re on to something, and motivation to continue working incredibly hard at our craft. Our goal will always be to play music for people until there is not an ear left who wants to hear it. Being selected as a finalist is an excuse for us to keep moving toward our goal, and to do it surrounded by really gifted songwriters. Also, we practiced the 3 H’s: Handshakes, High Fives, & Hugs.
Q: How did you hear about New Song Music?
A: We’ve been following NewSong online for some time now. We made it a point to enter several songwriting contests in 2015, and due to the unique prize package and excellent opportunity for exposure, NewSong was at the top of our list.
Q: What is currently happening with your music?
A: We are in the process of recording our first EP, which we hope to release at right about the time the weather starts to get warm here in Chicago. Before that, we’ll be taking a tour of the Northeast and New England in early April to make new fans and do some serious promoting of our original tunes!