Aaron & The Spell

12th Annual Adult Contemporary Song Winner

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Record Label: Self-Released

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Home Base: Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Adult Contemporary / Soul

Categories Entered: Adult Contemporary Song

Work Submitted: “A Beating Heart”

Artists Featured: Aaron & The Spell

Label: unsigned

Who are your influences?: Nina Simone, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Bilal, Leonard Bernstein, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin

Describe your nominated work: It’s a song about heartbreak and the decisions that people sometimes make between following their heart and maybe doing what’s best for others. I wanted the recording to be very moody and really draw in the listener to the story.

Did you use any unusual effects or instruments in this recording?: I was really happy that we were able to include a clarinet, trumpet, and accordion into the recording.

Were there any happy accidents while in the studio, or did everything go as planned?: There are always happy accidents in the studio and with this song the producer, Ross Bellenoit, and I were just very open to the possibilities of recording this song in the style of Joe Henry and constantly experimenting to build a very moody vibe for the song.

How did you raise the funds for this project? How long do you expect it will take to recoup your out-of-pocket recording expenses?: I raised funds for this project all by myself through working various jobs.

Why did you choose to submit this work to The 12th IMAs?: I just thought the song and recording were very strong. You never know if you’ll be recognized for submitting your work to the IMAs, but it was such a pleasant surprise to be nominated.

What’s your definition of success and how will you know when you’ve achieved it?: Success is writing a better song than the last song I wrote and I’ll know I will have achieved this if my songs get progressively better as I go along.

How will you leverage your IMA honors to achieve your career goals?: By being nominated for an IMA award, I’m able to show prospective booking agents that my music is marketable, professional, and recognized for its quality.

Who’s sitting in your audience and what makes your fans unique?: All age groups, races, and people from different socio-economic backgrounds.

What is your guilty pleasure on the road? Any close calls or mishaps while on tour?: No close calls or mishaps just yet and my guilty pleasure on the road would be video games.

Who are your musical heroes & influences?: Nina Simone, Prince, Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones

Are there any songs you wish you wrote and why?: “Tonight” or “Somewhere” from West Side Story. The melody and words for both are just perfect and timeless.

What artists are you listening to that would surprise your fans?: Leonard Bernstein, Henry Mancini, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Elis Regina, Gregory Porter, Kurt Elling, Marian McPartland, Bill Evans, Gil Evans..

How do you discover new music? Do you buy music or are you content with streaming?: I but music all the time and most of the time I learn about new music from friends, WXPN (Philadelphia radio station), and NPR Music.

How will musicians make a living if fans continue to expect music to be free?: Musicians need to make better music and be very smart about how its released.

What don’t fans/audiences understand about the music industry today?: Just how tough it is to make any money playing music. Even if you are doing relatively well in the public eye, it doesn’t mean you are making much money.

Are digital singles/EPs vs. full albums the future?: Absolutely! I have lots of unrealeased / unrecorded songs and I write more every day, so be on the lookout for singles, EPs, full albums, videos, etc…

Finish this sentence: The music industry is…tough, but I love music too much to every think of stopping.

What do you have in the works for the upcoming year?: Playing a couple large festivals in the summer, playing an east coast tour, and a solo college tour in the fall.