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“It takes a lot of time to accept who you are,” says Chris Daughtry. “You shave off the persona that you thought people expected, stop worrying about what anyone is going to think. You start to be comfortable with who you are onstage and off, and that all blends together. I think I finally know who I am as a person.”
As the frontman for the band bearing his name, Daughtry has become one of the most visible and consistent rock & roll torchbearers of the 21st Century. Throughout his career he has released five albums and one Greatest Hits, all of which reached the Billboard Top Ten and have combined sales over 9 million copies in the U.S.
Daughtry’s self-titled debut was the best-selling album of 2007, which contained four #1 hit singles including the Grammy-nominated smash “It’s Not Over.” Leave This Town also reached Number One in 2009, while 2011’s Break the Spell was certified gold. His group’s most recent record, 2013’s Baptized, featured the platinum-selling “Waiting for Superman,” which the singer points to as a turning point in his songwriting.
“It was a nice hybrid of where we had been and where we’re going, and it opened my eyes a bit,” says Daughtry. “Everything was so serious and doom and gloom, and ‘You broke my heart,’ but we never saw ourselves as those people outside the music — onstage we were always joking around. That helped me wrap my head around the fact that we can be light-hearted and still be us. And that really changed the way I approach the songs in general.”
Daughtry and his band have been performing together for over a decade. “Like anything with a ten year relationship, you know more about each other than you do most of your family,” says Chris Daughtry. “It’s a love-hate thing — you get sick of being around them, but after two weeks at home you’re ready to get back out on the road and do it again. The fan base really keeps us alive. That’s the key ingredient to keeping a band together — that’s the gasoline, and without it you can’t run.”
One thing that has kept the fire burning for Daughtry has been the need to constantly challenge himself creatively. He has collaborated with artists from Timbaland to Vince Gill to Carlos Santana and took on the role of Judas Iscariot in the 2016 live television performance of The Passion, and even fulfilled a lifelong dream by drawing the cover of a Batman comic which was rated one of the top 25 covers of the year by BatmanNews.com.
This kind of ambition has also extended to the work of Daughtry the band. “We always try to push ourselves outside of the familiar parameters,” says the singer. “If it’s anything like we’ve done before, then it’s not good enough for the record.
“If you look at the groups doing it for twenty-plus years,” he continues, “they were always changing their style, testing the water, going off the rails from what people expected — Zeppelin, Elton, Prince, they never did the same record twice. So there’s always that effort to push yourself as an artist, but I never want to abandon that sense of melody and sense of something that people can grab onto, whether it conjures up memories or helps them through a tough time. That’s what I love about music, when it makes me feel something.”
As the band continues work on its fifth album (which Daughtry describes in its early stages as having a “bluesy, almost rootsy undertone to it”), they look to contemporaries like Maroon 5 and Train as examples of acts able to maintain their relevance while rock & roll faces an uphill struggle in the mass media. “Those guys are inspirational, showing that you can come back and have a strong presence, even if what you’re known for doing is having a hard time,” he says.
Ten years after launching with a massive splash, Chris Daughtry claims that he and the band have grown the most on stage, and that it’s altered his whole sense of his work. “When we first came out, I’d only known what I’d seen,” he says. “I didn’t know how to be vulnerable, with no pretense. Now it’s walk onstage and, especially in our acoustic shows, just be flat-out honest and open. It’s really helped me realize that’s actually what fans want — they want 100 percent honesty and feeling like they got to know you better.”
Fables, parables, and myths relay the most human truths in fantastic form. By doing so, we see ourselves reflected on an otherworldly canvas. Music functions in similar fashion as it amplifies our feelings in sonic form.
In the same spirit, Roses & Revolutions pierce the looking glass by overlaying evocative and identifiable lyrics above the ebb and flow of an ever-changing alternative soundscape. Streamed millions of times and praised by the likes of Paste, Indie Shuffle, All Things Go, Yahoo! Music, and more to date, the group – led by frontwoman Alyssa Coco – open up their world like never before on the 2020 EP, Under The Spell.
“We want you to feel like you’re in another world when you hear these songs,” she affirms. “You could be under the spell of a daydream or even your emotions. We believe music should lift your spirits and cause you to think, but it also should let you know you’re not alone. I’m really explaining what I go through in these stories. Seeing other artists be open about their sexuality, mental health, and situations inspired me to get a huge part of myself out there. This is something that means a lot to me. I’m really telling my story.”
A four-year journey set the stage for her to do so. Alyssa co-founded Roses & Revolutions alongside producer and multi-instrumentalist Matt Merritt in Rochester, NY. Together, they ascended to viral popularity with debut single “The Pines” and their self-titled debut EP. Maintaining a prolific pace, they built a growing catalog and performed alongside the likes of Kaleo, K. Flay, Marian Hill, Daughtry, Nina Nesbitt, and VÉRITÉ, to name a few.
Along the way, Coco unlocked a newfound creative confidence. As she and Matt dove into what would become Under The Spell, her desire to open up drove the sessions. Roses & Revolutions became more personal – with a twist. In order to communicate the vision, they actually sketched out a loose fairytale with illustrations as a creative north star for recording.
“Touring and writing gave me the confidence to get more personal,” she goes on. “Our little book started with a girl in the woods facing anxiety. She hits her head, ends up in a dream, and she wakes up back in this turmoil. She essentially goes on an adventure and experiences the scary monsters we all face internally. We deliberately planned it out in terms of the words and music.”
“We knew what everything should sound like and where to go,” agrees Matt. “Rather than just writing one song and going back on the road, we wrote the bulk of material for the project in advance. We were personally involved from start to finish and finally dialed in the electronic and organic sides.”
The first single “Noise In My Head” illuminates that alchemy. Alyssa’s emotionally charged delivery resounds in between stark beats and airy guitar as she admits, “They talk to me, but all I hear is noise in my head.” The tension between the bare cadences and robust instrumentation reflects a pervasive theme.
“‘Noise In My Head’ is very much a story of what I go through,” she admits. “When I was younger, I didn’t know what anxiety was. I would try to sleep as a kid, but I’d be overwhelmed by a sense of noise. It’s like when you go to restaurant and the sound of everyone talking at once hurts your ears. However, it was so quiet in my room. It was full-blown anxiety, and I didn’t know how to deal with it.”
On the other end of the spectrum, finger-snaps and angelic harmonies glide along in between whimsical musings on “Dancing in a Daydream.” The chorus evokes the eternal support shared by lovers.
“It’s a really hopeful song,” she says. “It’s the other side. You have your good days, and you wish they’d last forever. You don’t want it to end, because the next day may not be so great.”
The six-song journey concludes on “i don’t have feelings anymore.” Produced by Radical Face, delicate and dreamy piano entwines with a shuddering solo vocal performance as Alyssa’s voice stretches from intimate verses into a breathy hook.
“It’s the stag where somebody experiences numbness,” she continues. “If I’m sad or scared, that’s a better feeling than not feeling at all. On those days when you have anxiety, it always resorts back. Those times you feel nothing are probably the scariest.”
In the end, Roses & Revolutions project a relatable tale through a prism of fantasy and create the ultimate sort of fairytale—one that makes you feel just a little bit better…