Following your dreams is no easy feat. Life tries to bring us down and convince us to give up, but there comes a time when you have this profound instinct to just keep going. Something internal is driving you, pushing you. Overcoming self-doubt and facing these challenges head on is what ultimately gets us where we need to go.
That very in-tune nature is what drove the X Ambassadors to become one of the hottest alternative rock bands to hit the charts this year. Consisting of brothers Sam (26) and Casey Harris (28), childhood friend Noah Feldshuh (27), and college buddy Adam Levin (27) – the X Ambassadors are now driving the scene with their latest single “Renegades.”
During their summer tour across the country, MiLLENNiAL was able snag a call with lead singer Sam Harris to learn about the journey the band has experienced on their way to the top.
Mistakes, Mishaps, then Magic
For the last 6 years, X Ambassadors have been fighting the musician’s battle- the one of trying to get discovered, building fan recognition, and getting paid for shows.
“It’s been a constant grind,” Sam tells us. He admits there were many times when they were ready to “call it quits” but decided not to because of a series of serendipitous events that convinced them otherwise.
One of those fate-based occurrences was when Imagine Dragon’s front man Dan Reynolds heard a local East Coast radio station play the acoustic version of “Unconsolable” off the band’s self-released LP, Litost. Immediately, Reynolds called music producer, Alex Da Kid, to investigate his new discovery.
Within a matter of months, X Ambassadors signed with Kid in a Korner and Interscope Records to produce their first major label EP, Love Songs Drug Songs.
“It’s always when we have nothing going on and we all feel like we are never going to work again that we would get another break. That’s happened on every tour leading up to now.” Sam emphasizes, “It’s just about persisting and blindly believing in what you do.” He is convinced that if you do something long enough eventually everything is going to fall into place and says, “right now things are working out.”
The Evolution of the X Ambassadors
With the number #1 song on the alternative rock charts, “Renegades” is turning listeners into fans. The deep and heartfelt beat penetrates the soul and you can’t help but relate to the lyrics.
Although Sam may consider the song a “happy accident,” its unintended impact has united those that feel free enough to live authentically. “We have always felt like underdogs. I never felt like I fit in and we were always struggling to keep up.”
Being renegade in their own lives, the band is set on building on everything that makes them different. They encourage others to do the same. The differences in our lives is what make us unique and can teach us more about ourselves.
Sam explains the new hit single he wrote for Rihanna, “American Oxygen” speaks to these changes in American culture. A reactionary song to the increasing police violence throughout the States, he believes the “New America” will become a place where we learn to love each other a little bit more and embrace what makes us diverse. “I think I have an obligation as a songwriter, especially during these times, to write about issues that are happening in the country.”
While discussing systemic and societal problems is on the forefront of Sam’s mission as an artist, he is also trying to promote positivity and make music that allows people to feel good about themselves.
The Family Band Dynamic
This passionate and soulful vibe of the X Ambassadors comes from a strong relationship developed over the years. They truly are family. Two are blood, but the four act as brothers. Sam credits his older brother Casey for being the glue that holds them together. “He has really emphasized the camaraderie and respect we have toward each other.”
Blind since birth, Casey is also recognized by the group as the best musician in the band. His talent and spirit provide a raw essence that is fresh to the generation. His fierce yet humble musical edge have most unaware of his finely tuned sense of hearing. This contributes to the bands overall acute judgment of sound.
Matched with Sam’s roaring voice, Noah’s riveting guitar rifts, and Adam’s thick drum beats, the band is lining up a legendary and distinct presence within the music industry. Their live performance will get your heart pounding and feet stomping.