What began in 2008 as a passion project in a bedroom studio in Burbank, California has now become a whirlwind endeavor, with energetic and dedicated fans across the globe. Kendall Schmidt (23) is founder of the passionately-adored electro-pop band, Heffron Drive.
Kendall’s passion for music began when he was just a child. As a youngster, Kendall would often recite whole songs after hearing them just once on the radio. Ever the singer, Kendall soon wanted to broaden his musical horizons. Initially, he tried playing the violin and drums, but neither instrument seemed to fit. One day, however, he borrowed his brother’s guitar and from that point forward, he was hooked. Kendall taught himself how to play guitar and eventually released a number of covers on YouTube, which garnered him his first fans.
The initial encounter between Kendall and Dustin, a future Heffron Drive member, occurred at a screening for Kendall’s brother’s movie in Los Angeles, California. The two became instant friends; learning that each was a musician, had been born in the same hospital in Wichita, Kansas, and currently lived on the same street in Burbank, California. That street? You guessed it, was Heffron Drive.
With money he earned from an acting gig, Kendall purchased some recording gear and the two friends embarked on a musical journey, knowing only to trust their ears and passion for music. When the question of what to name the newly formed band arose, Heffron Drive was the perfect fit. The band started uploading songs, to the then-popular Myspace, and soon thereafter began receiving an overwhelming amount of interest. The Internet was buzzing about the new band’s unique music and it wasn’t uncommon to find the play counter hovering around 20,000 plays on any given day.
Around mid-2009, however, and soon after the release of Heffron Drive music, Kendall was asked to become the lead singer of the band, Big Time Rush. He accepted, and BTR rapidly became a global phenomenon, with tens of millions of fans across the globe, millions of records and tickets sold, and performances across three continents. Not wanting Heffron Drive to fall apart during his BTR success, Kendall helped secure Dustin a position as a tour guitarist for the group. Although extremely busy, the two still found time to create music for Heffron Drive.
With constant forward momentum, Heffron Drive is now preparing a full-scale launch into the world of irresistible electro-pop music. Infusing infectious melodies, unforgettable hooks, and beamingly beautiful lyrics, Heffron Drive promises to bring that lovable, relatable, missing-piece-of-the-puzzle to today’s music scene.
Eric Dash started writing songs when he was 8 years old by taking popular songs on the radio and making his own versions of lyrics and melody. When he turned 13 he started writing music with his guitar.
While his early influences consisted of pop-punk icons such as Blink 182, Eric also listened to John Mayer, the Goo Goo Dolls, Dashboard Confessional, Justin Timberlake to influence his writing...See More
Eric Dash is a singer/songwriter who just recorded an album in LA with producer Jack Joseph Puig (John Mayer/Goo Goo Dolls/No Doubt). The record sounds like a mix of John Mayer's "Room For Squares" with a touch of Owl City electronica and Maroon 5 funk. In accompaniment to the music, Eric's wispy vocals slide through the catchy melodies seamlessly all while he sounds completely authentic about each lyric sang. This is definitely a pop artist on the rise.
Ariana & The ROSE
"Do you want to be behind the piano, or do you want to be in a latex bodysuit in a cage?" Ariana DiLorenzo, an artist carving out her niche in the music industry, found the question, posed to her by a friend, perplexing and reductive. The native New Yorker, who was raised on a musical diet that included rock-rooted pop stars like Fiona Apple, Natalie Imbruglia, and Alanis Morissette, knew she wanted her live shows to be "more than candy canes and pyrotechnics." It's time, she says, "for pop girls to be cool again. Pop shouldn't be a guilty pleasure."
Born on Long Island, the trained dancer entered the world of performance when she was 12, appearing on stage, guest-starring on television series such as The Sopranos, and enrolling at the Professional Arts School with a focus on musical theater. At 20, DiLorenzo was invited by producer Jon Hanser to sing on Bliss, a dance compilation he and DJ Tony Brock were putting together. She performed her track, "Beautiful," at Miami's Winter Music Conference in 2009, but was discouraged by the "artist anonymous" trappings of trance.
In the summer of her senior year at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, from which she's since graduated with a double major in drama and journalism, she flew to Nashville to write and record a four-track demo. "Being a singer without music is like being a writer without a pen," she says. "Nashville is a great place for writers." Before the ink even dried, she returned to New York and went directly into artistic development, honing her skills as a pianist, composer, and vocalist with her mentor, Vera Tisheff.
DiLorenzo's first challenge was to put together a strong five-piece band, the members of which now comprise Ariana & the Rose, a nod to her grandmother and the other women in her family—"everyone's middle name is Rose." Ariana & the Rose began touring the country, playing venues as far-flung as the venerable Whisky A Go-Go in Los Angeles and Gramercy Theatre in New York, where she brought down the house during the after-party for Lady Gaga's Born This Way Ball.
Things changed for DiLorenzo in October of last year, when she finished her debut EP, which was produced by Grammy winner David Kahne (Paul McCartney, Regina Spektor, Lana Del Rey). As an unsigned, independent artist, DiLorenzo felt like she was putting the music out "into the ether" when she released it online for free. "It wasn't really going anywhere," she says. She'd already filmed the music video for her lead single, the spirited, hooky paean to love, "When You Know, You Know." But when she looked critically at her sound and her image, she realized that she wasn't exactly where she wanted to be. "I found myself on the right road, but it was time to shift into the perfect lane," she says.
DiLorenzo has since returned to the studio, where she's now polishing—or, more accurately, roughening—the collection of songs that will make up her debut full-length album, due out in October. Stripping back her sound, DiLorenzo wants the final product to reflect the raw energy of her live shows. Mixing the confessional lyricism of her favorite singer-songwriters (Sara Bareilles, Ingrid Michaelson) with the sound of dirty synths (Goldfrapp, Santigold—"anything gold, really") and the understated glamour of the French New Wave, DiLorenzo has finally come into her own. "It's sort of hard to pick up the floorboards you've laid down, but I know what I want now," says DiLorenzo, who, following sojourns into showtunes, trance, and unabashed pop, has finally found herself in Ariana & the Rose. "I know who I am now."
Bio by Nick Haramis (Bullet Magazine/ NY Times T Mag)