Fresh off a two week recording session at Hollywood’s premier EastWest Studios, The Shadowboxers, an American pop band discovered by and signed to Justin Timberlake’s Villa 40 artist development company, have just announced a handful of tour dates at select venues in the East and the West.
The Shadowboxers are described by The Nashville Scene as “a harmony-driven, funk-footed quintet, which combines elements of modern pop, ’70s-style AM radio folk…and classic R&B.” Founding members Scott Schwartz, Matt Lipkins and Adam Hoffman have a passion for captivating lyrics, tight harmonies and soulful vocals.
Together with bassist Carlos Enamorado and drummer Cole McSween, they have forged a cohesive sound based on a shared reverence for the strong, taut harmonies of Simon & Garfunkel, D’Angelo and The Beatles along with the rhythmic pop funk of Prince, Michael Jackson and Earth, Wind & Fire.
Originally gaining online buzz from their YouTube cover of Timberlake’s Pusher Love Girl, the band is quickly building a loyal fan base. Their original demos have garnered over 2.2 million streams on Spotify to date with their most current single “Build the Beat” reaching #5 on the Spotify United States Viral 50 playlist and #10 on the Spotify Global Viral 50 playlist.
MiLLENNiAL caught up with Schwartz and Lipkins to learn how they plan to build on the momentum of last year and catapult into 2017.
Describe your musical style.
Scott Schwartz: We are a pop band. We infuse soul, funk, R&B and three-part harmonies into nearly everything we do, but at its core, our sound is pop, meaning it’s intended to be popular and digestible.
How did the band come together?
Matt Lipkins: We were college friends before we were a band, which certainly made the decision to start playing together a lot easier. Scott and I met in a music theory class and bonded over a love for Steely Dan and the movie “Once.” Adam and I had met like the first or second day of college orientation and become fast friends.
First semester of our sophomore year, the three of us submitted for an arts competition and somehow came out on top. With the prize money, we bought some of the gear that we still use to this day and started writing together immediately. Years later, after trying out a bunch of different rhythm sections, Cole and Carlos very organically stumbled into our lives and completed the picture!
What has been a significant breakthrough moment?
Scott Schwartz: The most significant moment for our band so far was in December of 2013, when Justin Timberlake somehow (still not sure how) found our YouTube video of “Pusher Love Girl” and tweeted about it. We were in Nashville and had just gotten home from a show when Matt and Adam ran into my room jumping and screaming, holding out their phones.
New likes/follows/YouTube subscribers, etc. rolled in as we collectively freaked out. Our social media numbers grow more in three minutes then they had in three months prior. The freak out resumed when we saw that he sent us a direct message on Twitter, wanting to connect.
We eventually met and after learning about us, he said he wanted to help take us to the next level. It completely changed the trajectory of our band, obviously in terms of our numbers and scope but it also reinvigorated our belief that we are doing something right. We’ve been a more confident, more motivated band since.
How has Justin Timberlake’s artist development company, Villa 40, helped you?
Matt Lipkins: We’ve sort of only scratched the surface with Villa 40, but so far they’ve been really helpful with engaging with publishing companies, starting the recording process, and building buzz in the industry.
What are you hoping to achieve in 2017 and how can MiLLENNiAL readers help make that vision a reality?
Scott Schwartz: We hope to put out more music in 2017, whether as a full length record or a smaller EP, and continue to tour and build the buzz. We feel that since we haven’t really released any music (and certainly haven’t heavily promoted it), our fan base is growing in a more organically underground, word-of-mouth way, mostly based on the energy of our live show.
So, with that in mind, I’d say that MiLLENNiAL readers should come check out a live show. It’s what we’re best at, and it’ll be the reason why we’ll be able to sustain a long career instead of being some flash-in-the-pan studio generated pop band. So yeah, come see a show, meet us afterwards, and be a part of this ride with us.
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