Roanoke band My Radio is suddenly one of the toasts of the music world and we're going to have to wait a bit see if this is 15 Minutes of Fame or PermaFame. We should know soon enough.
The band--comprised of J.P. Powell (transplanted here from Boston with his his symphony violinist wife, Shaleen), Jeff Hoffman, Brett Lemon and Hunter Johnson--is a featured group on MTV's music page (here) this week and has a prominent musical role in the new movie "Meet the Joneses" with Demi Moore and David Duchovny (the trailer is here with the song, "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah," playing in the last two minutes).
This is all designed as part of a marketing plan that is both newly conventional and ahead of the business, says Powell.
My Radio has worked as a group with this very moment in mind. Everything it has done--writing, arranging, performing, marketing--has been designed "to parlay the momentum we're building" into a career centered on making music, not just making money.
"When I met Hunter (two years ago) after moving down here from Boston," says J.P., "we decided that if we were going to make music, it was going to be different from the way we had done it in the past. Our first goal was to find other like-minded misicians and put together a band. Then we'd write great songs [J.P. writing most of them], record them the best way possible" and get them to the public. That was the function of the Internet Age, he says, because it "makes the world smaller--and more confusing." Getting "above the noise" was a goal and finding a company to help was a major step in that.
Micah Wilshires "is the common link for us in recording" songs at three studios in North Carolina and two in Charlottesville, says Powell. He "helped shape the sound" and when it was ready, "We targeted Ocean Park Music in California" to push it. "They loved it," he says.
My Radio is the only completely independent group represented by Ocean Park, says Powell. Using a "placement company" is "becoming a trend," Powell says and the exposure has been good in a number of ways, especially in driving people to the band's Web site (here) where you can buy records. The movie, says Powell, is also quite lucrative.
Powell is philosophical about the movie: "We have no control over how the movie does," he says, "but we understand that this is our moment and we have to take full advantage of it. This week, we're featured on the 'Needle in a Haystack' portion of MTV's music Web site and that's a big deal.
"If all this pulls together the way we thing, we'll have enough money to make another record and, for us, that's what it's about."
With all this swirling about, Hunter and J.P. are opening a bar downtown in Roanoke. It's called Lucky. "That fits what's been happening lately," say J.P.