Archives For Stage 17

When singer/songwriter Max created “Lights Down Low,” he wrote the song for his now wife, Emily. Max eventually proposed to her with the song before releasing it as a single. The track is now platinum and cracked the top 10 this week at pop radio. Of course it’s significant on a lot of levels to the artist, but what has its success meant to his wife?

“It’s so insane,” Emily told me after her husband performed at Hackensack Meridian Health Stage 17 as a part of GRAMMY Week. “It’s coming up on 3 years now when I got first sent the original file. Listening to it in my bed, under my covers by myself, to now we’ve traveled the world because of the song together and met so many amazing people, shared so many amazing stories… it’s insane. I never imagined this life.”

“If a song doesn’t mean this much to me, I wouldn’t want it to be this heard,” Max added. “In that way, it’s been very healthy because yunno it’s like, ‘Oh well, maybe somebody should write your new single,’ or something like that and it makes me realize: no. It has to come from my heart because I can’t imagine spending my entire life, every day talking about a song that isn’t something that means so much to me.”

So as the song continues to climb up the chart, Max, nee Schneider, is embracing the pressure of a follow-up as he continues work on his sophomore album. The artist entered a rare stretch during GRAMMY Weekend where he was actually able to hang out at home in New York for a few days – catching up with family, hitting up the studio and even stopping by The Garden to watch his beloved Knicks.

PIX11 Entertainment Anchor Ojinika Obiekwe stopped by Hackensack Meridian Health Stage 17 to chat with me about GRAMMYs week in New York City – from the cool parties and events to the local women who were nominated by the Recording Academy. A big thanks to Oji and PIX11 for having me contribute to their coverage; check out both segments below.

If you’re wondering whether artists who were once tour mates of singer Ed Sheeran’s have congratulated him on his pending nuptials, the answer is yes, at least in one instance.

“I did actually congratulate him,” Lauv told me on Tuesday before performing in front of a live audience at Hackensack Meridian Health Stage 17. “It’s crazy. I remember him saying like, ‘I think I have the one, for real.’

“And then to see that they’re actually engaged now is beautiful.”

Sheeran popped the question to long-time girlfriend Cherry Seaborn before the New Year and then announced the engagement shortly after the first on his Instagram.

Lauv supported the “Shape of You” artist on the leg of his “Divide Tour” that stopped in Asia this past fall. He played HMH Stage 17 as the single “I Like Me Better” becomes a global hit, charting in a handful of countries and already cracking the top 10 in Australia and Germany. The singer, nee Ari Leff, has written all of his songs thus far about the four years he lived in New York City while attending New York University. Following graduation, Lauv moved to Los Angeles in pursuit of his dream.

“The weather is beautiful,” he remarked, noting that it is a cliché description of moving west to LA. “But I just feel like New York is a kind of a more ‘real’ place, if that makes sense?”

And for Lauv, that’s a good thing, as he always loves returning to the Big Apple. He’ll be back again next month as a part of his “I Met You When I Was 18 World Tour” – the first Lauv has ever embarked on as a headliner.

Since 2010, Niall Horan has been on quite the rollercoaster. The Irish-born singer first came to fame on “The X-Factor” across the pond, where Simon Cowell hatched the bright idea to pair him and four other contestants together. What followed was a phenomenon: five chart-topping albums, sold-out stadium tours and millions upon millions of screaming fans.

But now Horan is signed to a different record label, releasing music as a solo artist and moving at a speed that must feel more comfortable.

“Yeah, it’s great,” when asked Horan about the pace of his new project with Capitol Records. “I kind of just made a decision that I would do everything at my own pace and I said it to my manager and to my label and they were completely supportive of it.”

Horan essentially told them that he would work on the album and he would notify them when it was finished. Update: it’s pretty much done.

“I’ll probably release it in the fall or something,” he said. “I just have to do a little bit of production stuff and it’s all kind of recorded and stuff like that.”

The Irishman doesn’t have a title yet but he has released two songs from the LP, “This Town” and “Slow Hands.” When I asked about the song selection, it sounded like the former wasn’t really intended to be a proper first single.

“I just wanted to let people know I was still doing music to be honest and it just kind of happened,” Horan explained of releasing “This Town.” “It took a life of its own.”

There was definitely a more methodical approach behind “Slow Hands.”

“I wanted to kind of beef things up a little bit and show I was a little bit more diverse,” Horan noted. “The whole album wasn’t going to be all finger-picking stuff.”

Horan started writing for the project in “March or April of last year.” The singer hopped in-and-out of the studio between days off before “This Town” started climbing the charts and the project’s timeline sped up – something Horan credits to those aforementioned fans, who have stuck with him throughout the entire ride.

Ocean Park Standoff is comprised of an unlikely but talented group. You have drummer Pete Nappi, who was born on Long Island. Then there’s the lead singer Ethan Thompson who is from Montana. And rounding-out the group, the British-born and Upper West Side-raised Samantha Ronson. The three linked up through writing sessions, although they first got a kick out of responding to that question by “Tinder” and then categorizing the aforementioned sessions as “playdates.” A self-titled EP later and break-out single later and the trio finds themselves on late-night TV and as a supporting act for Third Eye Blind’s upcoming tour.

“We were talking about what was going on in our lives and in the world,” Thompson recalled regarding the creating of that single, “Good News.” “Samantha had a chord progression and then pretty much we just started off with the chorus right away and it just took off from there.”

Certainly Thompson was alluding to the country’s political climate; Ronson was a staunch supporter of Hillary Clinton, DJ-ing rallies and using her influence on social media to get the vote out for her. The twin sister of fashion designer Charlotte and younger sister of GRAMMY Award-winning producer Mark, Samantha is no stranger to the spotlight both through her own work and by relation. Her step-father is founding Foreigner member Mick Jones, who she casually mentioned during a recent performance with the band.

“This is my dad’s guitar that I borrowed, actually,” she told me. I asked if it was a last-second move and she quickly replied, “No, last night. I planned it ahead of time!”

What’s funny is that it’s not the first time I’ve seen this group fly by the seam of their pants in the city. During the band’s first ever New York City performance inside the Lower East Side’s Rockwood Music Hall, Nappi’s drum kit broke during the set. But the band said it never affected their show, or their mood. And it’s probably that disposition, along with their individual talent, that will yield a bit more good news for 2017.