Amy Stroup Wins Ernie Ball Singer-Songwriter Competition

Amy Stroup, a longtime OurStage favorite, with seventeen different chart placements in the Top 40 or better, has been selected as the winner of our Ernie Ball Female Singer-Songwriter competition. With its compelling combination of mellow electric piano, drum loops, and rich, sweet vocals, her song Chin Up impressed the judges, who had a tough choice with some serious talent to choose from. Stroup’s prize is a year’s supply of strings and accessories from Ernie Ball “ that should come in handy for this gifted multi-instrumentalist, whose songs have been heard in such high-profile spots as Grey’s Anatomy, Pretty Little Liars, One Tree Hill, and more. Read our recent piece on her here, and hear more Amy Stroup on OurStage. Check out her winning song below.


Exclusive Q and A: Freelance Whales Talk Floods, Cities, And Outer Space

Sure, there are hundreds of bands in New York, but how many of them do full-group live busking performances on subway platforms? Since their string of live street performances in New York, Freelance Whales have climbed their way to the top of the indie rock heap. Songs from their acclaimed first album Weathervanes have appeared in ads for Chevy and Twitter as well as on shows like One Tree Hill and Skins. As the band geared up to drop their follow-up record, Diluvia, which hits stores today, we chatted with Chuck Criss about recording in a rural space, the band’s pre-order pocket planetarium, and the end of the world.

OS: You guys supposedly rented a house in upstate New York to write material for Diluvia. What was it like to work in that environment?

CC: It was amazing. The city has so many distractions, both good and bad.  It was nice to go somewhere isolated with no Internet or cell service. We would just buy groceries for the week, wake up in the morning and write music. The only breaks we would take were to cook food.  I think it really helped us focus. (more…)

Running Down A Dream

Amy Stroup


Amy Stroup is doing just fine, thank you. With an appearance in Prairie Home Companion and song placement on shows like Private Practice, One Tree Hill, and Drop Dead Diva under her belt, the Nashville singer-songwriter is on the rise. Stroup’s music has caught on, and it’s easy to understand why. Her diaphanous folk melodies are composed with economy, creating wide open spaces for delicate textures”a piano line here, a stroke of cello there. On Hold On To Hope Love”a song that would sound right at home on the Once soundtrack”Stroup tiptoes up the scales as the melody swells like a symphony. With a softly husky voice like Norah Jones, Stroup infuses every lyric with sweetness and light. I’m running over the clouds to you, she sings on Just You. Running over clouds is as good a description as any of her music. And if you’re like us, you’ll want to join her up in the ether.

Superlatones: Most Down to Earth

Lately, it seems that we are hearing more and more from new and unexpected partnerships between artists of different genres. This is why, through Superlatones, we are creating our very own directory”a musical wish list, if you will”of artists who have yet to join the collaborative bandwagon.

With all the bubblegum pop and cookie cutter artists out there in the mainstream music scene, it is no wonder that our ears can sometimes get a little overwhelmed. We all know that the production process is extremely important, and with the new rise in the electronic wave, dance music has become extremely popular. Still, it’s nice to just get away from it all now and then. This week, Superlatones features a dynamic duo that brings us back to basics and reminds us of the importance of undeniable, unedited musical talent.

The Dynamic Duo:
A.A. Bondy and The Avett Brothers







Superlatones: Cutest Couple

Lately, it seems that we are hearing more and more from new, unexpected partnerships between artists of different genres. This is why, through Superlatones, we are creating our very own directory”a musical wish-list, if you will”of artists who have yet to join the collaborative bandwagon.


Ah, Valentine’s Day: a day for romance, wining and dining, long walks on the beach and candle-lit dinners. But whether or not we’ll be spending the day with a special someone, there’s one thing that always ensures we will never feel alone: music. And who better to show us the brighter side of life than the cutest couple in music today.

The Dynamic Duo:
Ingrid Michaelson and Greg Laswell






Judges Needed For MTV's Score SKINS Music Project

Song placement in TV shows has long been a great way to expose up-and-coming artists to new audiences and, in some cases, propel these artists into superstar status. Take for instance shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, The OC, and One Tree Hill, all of which boosted the careers of artists like Bon Iver, Snow Patrol and Ray LaMontagne to name a few. Now, MTV is bringing England’s hit teen drama SKINS to the eyes and ears of US audiences, and is looking for undiscovered musical talent to include on the show. The MTV Score SKINS Music Project aims to give OurStage artists the chance to have their music featured when the show airs in 2011. Artists started submitting their material in the beginning of November with the hope that their song will make it to the airwaves. The competition is CLOSED to submissions and is entering the final stages of judging. Artists need YOUR votes now more than ever to make it to the ears of the music supervisors at MTV. By judging in the MTV Score SKINS Music Project you can be part of the process that helps break an artist to thousands of new listeners. You just might discover some great new music along the way. Click HERE to begin judging in the MTV Score SKINS Music Project today.

Winner Announced For Ernie Ball In August!

Every month, Ernie Ball chooses one artist from a different OurStage music channel to be the recipient of a year’s supply of free guitar and bass strings. That’s over 60 packets of strings! While July focused on the guys in the Male Singer Songwriter Channel (Kudos Ohio native Andrew Varner), August was all about the ladies in the Female Singer Songwriter Channel. Now it’s time for Ernie Ball to bestow this awesome prize package on another talented artist. Congratulations Amy Kuney! As a young songwriter from Southern California, Amy has been “an artist to watch” in the Los Angeles area for quite some time thanks to features on TV shows such as Gilmour Girls and One Tree Hill. To check out some of Amy’s music, head over to her OurStage profile. Meanwhile, the folks at Ernie Ball are heading over to the Indie Pop Channel for September’s competition. Take a listen to some of the music vying for the top spot in the play list below:

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Alexx Calise

You can try, but you’re not going to break Alexx Calise.

With the help of GRAMMY-nominated producer Luigie Gonzalez, Calise’s new album In Avanti serves up dark and powerful electronic rock, reminiscent of Flyleaf and Evanescence.

In Avanti opens with Calise’s crunchy guitar playing, backed by ringing synths and programmed drums on “Anything Goes.” “Break Me” continues the industrial tone of the album, with angsty lyrics that create the perfect anthem for any bitter break-up.

Though ballad “Cry” stops the album’s energetic momentum, it showcases Calise’s vocals against a no-frills background. The song is the only quiet track on the album, which picks right back up with “Get Used to It” and hits a high note with the dancey “My Song.”

With its undeniable radio-readiness, it’s no surprise that Calise’s music has already been featured on One Tree Hill and The Discovery Channel. She is definitely an artist you’ll want to keep on your radar…if you can keep up with her.

If you’d like to pick up In Avanti, you can visit Calise’s official web store here.

Download of the Week: Shelly Fraley

Raised in a small town in Kansas, Indie artist Shelly Fraley is ready to show off her big sounds and catchy tunes to the masses.  You might already recognize Fraley’s voice from her numerous song placements in shows and movies including One Tree Hill, Knight Rider, Ghost Whisperer and Free Willy: Escape from Pirate’s Cove. Now that she’s back in the US after a recent tour in the UK, she is preparing her 10 song album for independent release by the end of summer.

This week, Fraley is giving away her single “Hi Hi Hi” as part of the Needle in the Haystack feature.  Keep an eye out for more from her throughout the week!

License to Sing

The music industry is changing and the tell-tale signs of success from the old days just aren’t as applicable anymore. Today, in addition to radio plays and record sales, success is also measured by digital distribution, downloads, and media placement. In this spirit, we’ve found our top 5 favorite licensing stories right here from OurStage. Check them out.

alissa-morenoAlissa Moreno: At the top of our list lies this accomplished singer/songwriter. Her powerfully simple songs have landed her feature spots on MTV, NBC, Fox, CBS, and many more. These features aren’t just small mentions, either. Her catchy tunes can be heard on hit shows like “The Hills“, “Laguna Beach“, “Newport Harbor“, “Wonderfalls“, “Will and Grace“, and “How I Met Your Mother“. Moreno doesn’t stop there. She’s even earned a Grammy nomination for her well-crafted songwriting. “Every Day“, a popular hit sung by Rascal Flatts, was nominated this past year for best songwriting. This is one artist you won’t want to miss before she “hits it big”.

marrMarr: This powerful, adrenaline-pumping metal band had the honor of licensing a song for the New Line Cinema feature “Shoot Em’ Up” (starring Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti and Monica Belucci). The song “Landscape” caught the ears of New Line placement exec’s and seemed to be a stellar match for the non-stop, edge-of-your-seat action film.The band was even invited to play a minor role in the movie. The DVD can be purchased now.

kilroyKilroy: This classic rock-inspired group has had its share of success on OurStage. It is no surprise then, that their music has been featured on such mainstream media outlets as MTV and FoxSports. Their nostalgic, upbeat style have made them a perfect fit for a recent FoxSports college football special, where they were invited to perform their energetic song, “Shake ‘Em Down”, to be paired with a high-ranking team. am

AM: Indie Singer/Songwriter, AM, credits himself with an impressive 46 song placements on TV and in movies. These placements include notable names like HBO’s “Big Love“, ABC’s “Men In Trees“, MTV’s “The Hills” and TNT’s “Trust Me“. This artist clearly shows how licensing can be used as a springbaord for more traditional music industry accomplishments (“Best Singer/Songwriter of the Year” at the LA Weekly Music Awards and a showcase at SXSW). Check out this artist’s smooth melodies and honest image. He certainly has a lot to say.

mollymarletteMolly Marlette: This trend-setting indie singer has certainly established a strong following in the industry (popular youtube videos, strong fan following on OurStage and MySpace, etc.). Marlette’s song “Constantly” was featured on the hit television series “One Tree Hill“, as a perfect representation of the show’s uplifting drama and universal themes. This feature earned her significant credibility and actually helped lead to her online popularity.

These artists may have proven themselves time and again on the OurStage charts, but they’ve also utilized other media as a powerful tool for furthering themselves as artists. In a changing musical world, artists can benefit from embracing licensing because, it is a new way to reach fans in unexpected places. Maybe these artists have inspired you to listen closer when you’re watching your favorite show. You never know what you’ll discover.