The Singer-Songwriter Duo Roses & Revolutions Open Up About American Idol, Touring With Smash Mouth and Their Hit Single, “Take Me When You Go”!
Posted On 24 Nov 2014
Tag: American Idol, American Songwriter, Chris Martin, Colbie Caillat, ColdPlay, Eastman School of Music, HAIM, Head and The Heart, Hells Kitchen, Hollywood, Ingrid Michaelson, Kings of A&R, Mark Knopfler, MasterChef, MTV, Rockwood Music Hall, Roses And Revolutions, Shark Tank, Sheryl Crow, Smash Mouth, SUNY, Take Me With You, The Hotel Cafe, The Lone Bellow, The Lumineers, Tim Reynolds, USA Today, Vance Joy, When A Heart Gives Out, WXPN, Wynona Judd
Alyssa and Matt make up the singer-songwriter duo, Roses And Revolutions. Originally hailing from Rochester, NY the duo came together with the goal of making intimate connections with a wide audience through music. Alyssa made it to the Hollywood round on Season 7 of American Idol while Matt started studying Jazz Guitar at Eastman School of Music before attending SUNY for Jazz Guitar Performance.
The two ultimately came together to create multi-dimensional collaborations. Learn all about this impressive duo in the following interview:
How did you two first meet?
We first met after Alyssa appeared on American Idol. Our town gave her a great deal of press and support and Matt found her that way.
Do you remember the moment that you guys decided to start a band?
We exchanged emails and set up a rehearsal/met together to see what it was like to perform together. At that time, Matt was in a different group with gigs already lined up. Alyssa came on-board to sing. Later on, we both left that group to start Roses & Revolutions. It just made sense for us musically. We were both writing a ton together and we knew each others playing styles inside and out. It happened very organically!
How did you come up with the band name?
The hardest part about starting R&R was coming up with the name. When you’re deciding on a group name you go through a weird phase we’re every object, street, name, or thought becomes a contender and gets analyzed. It gets pretty ridiculous. Alyssa’s middle name is Rose and we wanted something masculine & feminine. Once we said it out loud, we knew right away that we liked it.
Coco was on the 7th season of American Idol. Can you talk about that experience and how that helped you want to purse this band?
It was an incredible experience, especially as a 16 year old. I learned a lot not only about how TV and reality shows work, but also what I do and don’t want to do. I don’t want to do a reality show again. It’s for some people — it’s just not for me. The way they’re structured is completely different than what the viewers see once it airs (which is probably expected).
I came home from Hollywood so motivated to pursue my music and this career. It was a kick in the ass for me. A good one 🙂
Are you still in touch with the judges from the show at all now?
No, unfortunately not. They were really fun to be with for the Hollywood week, though. Simon is actually super nice!
You guys released your sophomore self-titled album back in April. What was it like getting that out there?
In April, we put out our second EP. We were lucky enough to have support from outlets like USA Today, American Songwriter, WXPN, MTV, & Kings of A&R. It was a fun release for us and it’s exciting to see it still reaching new people and media outlets.
How is this second album different then your first?
This an important EP because it was the first time Alyssa and I got to put out songs we wrote, produced, & arranged completely on our own. The first EP we released were songs we had written, but had a full band involved. It was too many people trying to make decisions and it showed in the music. The new EP is a small collection of songs we love playing live and we’re so excited to release them.
You have supported many well known bands in concert, such as the Head and The Heart, Sheryl Crow, Wynona Judd and Ingrid Michaelson. What has that been like? What is anything have you learned from these musicians?
We’ve been so lucky to support so many amazing bands and artists. Bands like The Lone Bellow & The Head and The Heart really showed us how important good songwriting is. Both groups are somewhat new on the scene and their songs are so strong. Everyone in the crowd was singing along word for word like they were decade old hits. We’ve also supported some of our heroes. Oddly enough, we’ve supported Tim Reynolds multiple times. He’s one of Matt’s all time favorites.
Have you had any favorite venues or crowds yet?
Our favorite venues would have to include Rockwood Music Hall in NYC and The Hotel Cafe in LA. Both venues really cater to the artists and the audience that come really come to listen. You can hear a pin drop. Another show that really stands out was when we opened up for Smash Mouth. We played in front of a crowd of 25,000 . We’re so grateful for that experience!
What do you think about being compared to The Lumineers?
We love The Lumineers and any comparison is flattering! (We threw a small tribute to them in the music video).
Roses And Revolutions’ “Take Me With You” Video:
Your music video for “Take Me With You” is incredibly charming and cute. Where did that idea come from? What about the song inspiration?
The video idea came from Matt’s brother. He’s an amazing artist and does artwork for some really great bands. We brainstormed the idea with him and came up with a list of everyone we wanted in the video. Even the backgrounds mean something to us. (Rockwood & The Hotel Cafe are both there). The entire video was made by hand with cut outs. No computers.
“Take Me With You” is about that moment when you consider turning back. Should you surrender and call it quits or keep on fighting? Sometimes it’s more tempting to go for an amazing ride along with somebody else’s success, instead of fighting to make it on your own. It’s meant to be an uplifting anthem.
What are your favorite songs to perform?
“When A Heart Gives Out”
“Take Me With You”
Who are some musicians that currently inspire you and your music? Any new artists on the radio that you are a fan of today?
Matt: My list of favorite guitar players is endless, but recently I’ve been listening to a lot of Mark Knopfler. His playing is so unique and beautiful.
Alyssa: I have so many as well that inspire me daily. Some of the main ones are Ingrid Michaelson and Colbie Caillat. Right now, I’m also really loving Vance Joy and Haim.
If you could work with any musician, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Coldplay! Chris Martin is genius. We’ve been big fans of everything he’s done for a while now.
When you aren’t working on new material, what do you two like to do for fun?
We don’t get much free time, but when we do we’re usually listening to as much music as we can. We always manage to tape and catch up on a few of our favorite shows though.. MasterChef, Hells Kitchen & Shark Tank!