Note: The following is written by the fabulous Imade Borha. It appeared as the cover story in this week’s edition of 72 Hours. If you dig, you can follow Ms. Borha on Twitter here. Enjoy!
The Frederick Music Showcase is all about breaking through, whether that’s to a new platform, prominence, or artistry. On Feb. 16, the third installment of the Frederick Music Showcase will feature Stitch Early, Cheshi, Bad Seed Rising, and Guys In Thin Ties on the Weinberg Center for the Arts stage.
The artists took different paths to get the Frederick Playlist-hosted event, but all of them share a breakthrough song.
Emcee Stitch Early grew up on hip-hop legends like Outkast, and after being introduced to Christian hip-hop music in his late teens, began creating music that stayed true to his musical roots and spirituality. Stitch Early released two albums in “The Great Compromise” and “All Rise.” He is now working on an album that will reveal more about his personal experiences. He cites “Free, on 2014’s “All Rise,” as his breakthrough song.
“’Free’ was my first solo release as a solo artist. ‘Free’ kinda opened up the doors for all of this to happen in the sense of like Colin [McGuire] was playing it at the college station [Shepherd University’s 89.7 WSHC], it got on different blogs and things like that, and that opened up certain [music] relationships that I have now. … ‘Free’ was the one that started everything. It opened up the flood gates.
“’Free’ is one of those songs that stands the test of time. In the hook, it says, ‘Look at where they’re going, not where they are / you’d never know, you might just find a star.’ It basically talks about how in our lives, at some point, some people look at you based on the position that you’re at. Like man, I don’t see something happening to you [in terms of being successful], and then you end up becoming it.”
Bill Blythe, bassist/vocalist for Guys In Thin Ties
Guys In Thin Ties, an ‘80s revival band that performed for the first time in April 2015, help fans relive their past, or imagine what the ‘80s might have been.
“There’s nothing original, since we are an ‘80s cover band, but if there was a breakthrough song for us, it would be ‘Under Pressure’ from Queen/David Bowie.
“Since we have four vocalists in the band, we thought we would trade off vocal parts of the song. We rehearsed our individual parts that suited our own particular voices. Since the recording of the song started out with the famous bass line and the sound of claps and finger snaps, we decided to start the song with just the claps and snaps, while getting the audience to participate. Once we had the crowd clapping and snapping, we would then come in with the bass riff, followed by the rest of the band.
“The song is a hit with our crowds. We’ve had feedback from people saying they liked how we all sang parts of the song, coming together at the end with the final chorus. ‘Under Pressure’ is a staple in our show.”
Ashli Cheshire, frontwoman and songwriter of Cheshi
Cheshi uses a tapestry of sounds, such as doom-pop, to address topics like queer and environmental issues. Their self-titled EP release coincides with the Frederick Music Showcase. Their breakthrough song, according to Cheshire, is “To Lose.”
“It was our first recorded song as a band that we were asked to record with Ryan Nicholson and Derek Salazar in conjunction with the “Frederick Vol. 1 Compilation.” It was sponsored by Flying Dog [Brewery] and Frederick Playlist. It was released literally months after we had been playing as a full band, and it really helped get us our music out there. It’s a song I wrote about facing your fears and moving forward, which was especially relevant for us as a fresh band moving forward with passion and drive. A reminder to never forget your courage.”
Francheska Pastor, lead singer of Bad Seed Rising
Bad Seed Rising is a band of teenagers who ascended to the national rock scene with their appearance on the Warped Tour as well as their 2016 album, “Awake in Color,” and their 2015 EP, “A Place Called Home.” Bad Seed Rising will hit the road for their upcoming March of Madness tour. One of their breakthrough songs is the single “I Can Feel You.”
“That was one of the first songs that we wrote for this [“Awake in Color”] album. And like, with this song, you can definitely see the growth. The mental growth and the musical growth.
“These lyrics are based off of a dream that I had about the experience, and in the song, I talk about a snake, and in the dream, the person is the snake. … We had an idea of exactly what we wanted. That’s something that really helped us.”