It is no secret that “Hamilton” is still Broadway’s hottest, most-impossible ticket even without its original cast. And Travis Clark, lead singer of We The Kings, makes no secret of his successful ploy that ended up landing him far beyond the original intent of simply watching the show live.
“I was like, ‘Hey if we cover this song, maybe like somebody would hear it and then we could get tickets,’” Clark explained to me recently. The song he took aim at was “The Story Of Tonight,” a reoccurring theme in the production. “So I cover the song. I literally play it for about two days in my studio. Our version is much different than Manuel-Miranda’s.”
After all, “Hamilton” fuses Broadway musicals with hip-hop and a history lesson. We The Kings is a pop-rock band. But Clark’s version found an audience online.
“Somebody sent it to (Manuel-Miranda’s) publicist team,” the front man continued. “And he responded to us and said, ‘Hey, that track is dope. If you’re ever in the city, let me know.’”
That interaction motivated Clark to release the cover as a single. He and his bandmates then traveled to Manhattan, caught the show and linked up afterwards with the cast. But the singer’s relationship to the Tony Award-winning musical didn’t end there. Manuel-Miranda went as far as to tweet a link to the iTunes release of We The Kings’ re-work.
“That was unexpected a little bit,” Clark revealed. “We just wanted his good graces for us to put the song out.”
The singer, noting that We The Kings doesn’t make any money from the sales because it’s not the band’s song, didn’t want to proceed if the Broadway star wasn’t cool with it. Manuel-Miranda went a step further, not only offering the green light but then voluntarily promoting the work as well.
Like many others, Clark gushed about the performance, calling “the absolute best one, by so far” that he’s witnessed. The artist could also relate to the cast members on a professional level.
“I love touring, I love being on the road,” he said. “They play multiple shows a day. That’s tough, man. It’s tough on your voice. There’s so much that I looked up to them and admired them for.”
We The Kings certainly know a thing or two about touring; the band has become a stalwart and the de-facto elder-statesmen on the Vans Warped Tour. Clark and company played the annual festival for their 6th year this past summer.
“We know, like (when younger bands) are like, ‘Hey should we go to catering now?’ We’re like, ‘No, you want to wait an hour.’
“We’re giving people advice, because it’s like their first Warped Tours.”
It’s almost as if Clark is paying back a debt of gratitude he owes to the festival. You might even say it’s quite Hamiltonian of him.