Words and Pix: McKenna Misko
Before Hoodie Allen steps on stage, his fans are already screaming and anticipating his appearance with pure excitement and happiness. As the lights go off, then slowly begin to turn on again; Hoodie’s band takes the stage. The moment Hoodie Allen steps on stage, the room is filled with the screams of his fans and a powerful introduction to a song. Hoodie’s stage presence is very compelling. He incorporates his fans into everything that he does, including bringing a lucky fan onto the stage and gifting that individual with “The Hype Tour” merchandise. Throughout his performance, Hoodie and his band remained consistent with their amount of energy. One may even say, Hoodie’s energy levels rose as he continued his concert. They also incorporated songs from Hoodie’s most recent album,”The Hype” along with older hits of his dating back to the very start of his career. Hoodie Allen started his concert off with “Sushi” then continued it with older hits such as “Act My Age”, and “Champagne and Pools”. While watching Hoodie Allen perform, one is able to tell that he is fully invested in his career and his fans. He is devoted to making his followers happy through his live performances, and through the music he releases. I myself was more than impressed with his performance and I highly recommend seeing him live, and purchasing his music online; including his most recent album, “The Hype”.
Included on The Hype are previously released singles “Know It All,” “Sushi,” and “Ain’t Ready” which set the internet ablaze being recognized as “arguably the best songwriting of his career.” The album features collaborations with artists such as Scott Hoying (Pentatonix), State Champs, Goody Grace, and Wale, seeing Hoodie emerge with his most ambitious work to date.
The Hype follows Hoodie’s critically acclaimed 2016 Happy Camper LP which debuted atNo. 1 on the Billboard Rap/Hip-Hop chart and No. 1 on the Independent Albums chart. Previously, his debut 2012 All American EP hit No. 1 on iTunes, No. 10 on the Billboard 200, and featured runaway hit single “No Interruption.” His first full-length People Keep Talking released in 2014, featuring a collaboration with Ed Sheeran on “All About It.” Later that year, Hoodie Allen made his late-night TV debut on Conan and toured with the likes of Wiz Khalifa and Fall Out Boy on The Boys of Zummer Tour.Hoodie has earned praise from the likes of Billboard, Rolling Stone, and MTV as he continues to amass a cult following across the globe.
“Robert is free now,” The text message said. I confusedly searched for a contact whose face I did not know. I wandered, asking the staff if the stairs in the showroom led to the so-called Green Room. I found my in-between person, who led me up the stairs to a room with a few musicians. Sitting there was a man with gentle brown eyes and flowing hair hidden by a hat. This man shook my hand and introduced himself as Robert Schwartzman of Rooney.
Robert began has the founder and lead singer of Ed Rooney in 1999. The band opened their first show for his brother’s band in California. Robert had stage fright. “I wasn’t trying to be a singer in a band,” Robert recalls as he got up to search the fridge for the perfect lager, “I was terrified to sing in public.”
After watching his brother, he began writing songs. It was then that he discovered his true passion for writing music. He says, “I started to catch that bug that you catch when you just become really addicted to [writing songs]. So I just started writing songs, and then I wanted to perform them. And then once I got over that hurdle of ‘I’m afraid to do this.’ I felt way more addicted to it.
Listening to Robert talk, I could imagine the shy twenty-something getting on the stage the first time. His quiet voice led me to believe that the person I saw during our interview would also be the person who would take the stage later that night. I could not have been more wrong.
That night, as the lights dimmed and the headlining musician prepared to take the stage, the spirit of the many rock stars by whom he was inspired entered him, and his personality changed completely. Once the guitar was in his hands, he was no longer Robert Schwartzman, he was the single remaining member of Rooney.
The vibe he gave off was contagious. Even the musicians accompanying him could feel his energy, and they fed off of one another. Schwartzman bounded around the stage dipping and swaying as he sang originals like “Not in My House” and “My Heart Beats 4 U.” In between songs, he would thank his fans for coming to see him play, and he would thank the other musicians for playing as well. The entire show was so energetic, not a person there could stand still during his set.
When the show was finished and the encore, “Stay Away,” was played, the band, Schwartzman included, took some time to talk to fans one-on-one. People were happily taking pictures and asking for hugs, while Schwartzman’s gentle smile remained on his face.
While Robert Schwartzman is the only remaining member of the original band, Ed Rooney, he does not plan to stop performing under the band name Rooney anytime soon. “I could start a new project tomorrow, and I’ve experimented with that. But I don’t think I’m fully happy giving up Rooney because I’ve had a long history with it. I don’t feel comfortable just walking away from this. I think it’s going to take the time to rebuild this project into something people care about, but I’m willing to do the work to get there.”
It is very apparent that Robert is proud of his work, and the fan base, as well as his charisma on stage, is proof that Rooney, for now, is very much what it needs to be.
Rooney’s newest album washed away, was released in May of 2016.
Interview and photos © 2016 Stephanie Connell
Chevonne, the pop/rock/funk/soul scream machine has just announced her Kickstarter campaign will launch today and is live now here: http://kck.st/UIm1gR. Fresh off NBC’s “The Voice”, Season 3, it’s time for this big hair, big eyed Jersey girl to release her debut record and music video. Hands down the best Kickstarter yet, there are pledge prizes ranging from: Chevonne’s blind audition denim booty shorts from “The Voice”, a customized and signed acoustic-electric guitar used to write the debut album, a walk-on role in the music video, signed/customized microphone, and more! Make sure to support Chevonne, here: http://kck.st/UIm1gR.
Recently taking reality TV by storm on NBC’s “The Voice”, Chevonne sashayed through three rounds as a quirky underdog. She turned pop/soul megastar Cee Lo Green’s chair, as well as country bigwig Blake Shelton’s, with her sassy rendition of The Pretenders’ “Brass In Pocket” with almost 200k views here: http://bit.ly/THcqZh. Before choosing a coach, she was asked to open up about the “pain” Green heard in her voice. She admitted to the live audience-and the 15+ million viewers watching on TV-that she suffered from eating disorders and crippling insecurity, and that she channels this pain when she sings and performs. She earned nods and applause from the other two coaches, Maroon 5 frontman, Adam Levine, and Grammy-winning powerhouse singer, Christina Aguilera, before selecting Cee Lo as her coach.
As a member of Team Cee Lo, she wowed both Cee Lo and his team advisor, Matchbox 20’s Rob Thomas as she nailed rehearsals for her battle round with Avery Wilson on the David Guetta ft. Sia song “Titanium” which has over 450k views here: http://bit.ly/RVjqQy. Although Chevonne didn’t win the battle against her 17-year-old friend and teammate, she was given high praise for her risky and bold stage moves and soaring high notes. Christina Aguilera saved Chevonne with the new “coach steal” feature, applauding Chevonne for her flamboyant and exciting performance vibe.
On Team Xtina, Chevonne pushed the envelope by choosing Billy Idol’s “Dancing With Myself,” for the Knockout round, paying homage to her love of 80s rock and celebrating her ability to thrive on the show with a fun crowd-pleaser, watch it here: http://bit.ly/SvJPae. When Chevonne debuted the performance after being paired up with gospel/soul singer De’borah Garner, the crowd’s amped-up reaction was palpable. She nailed the song top to bottom, and all four coaches praised her progress and her command of the stage. Ultimately, Chevonne was sent home, but not before Christina implored the leather-clad firecracker to pursue her own original music and artistry. Christina stated, “Chevonne, you are just unafraid to go to that ledge, in all capacities, and just jump off and be like ‘this is me, take it or leave it! You were just out there, as a woman, having fun and I love that about you!” In addition, Chevonne earned countless hype from E! News, Rolling Stone, TV Guide, MTV, Huffington Post, and many more!
Before surprising audiences with her song and fashion choices on “The Voice,” Chevonne sang backup for visionary pop artist and fashion tastemaker Lady Gaga on her MonsterBall world arena tour from 2010-2011. She danced, sang, and improv’d her way through the campy, dark show, making it onto Good Morning America, Radio 1’s Big Weekend, and even HBO’s live 2-hour special taped at the Madison Square Garden performances, as well as being a part of the “Born This Way” a cappella bonus song from the MSG shows that became a viral video smash hit.
Before touring with Gaga, Chevonne spent eight months with British R&B pop Estelle, most famous for her hit “American Boy.” Tour highlights with Estelle included the World Cup in Cape Town, The Essence music festival in New Orleans, and an NYC taping of BET’s “Rising Icons” series.
Now is the time for Chevonne to use her past A-list industry experience to make what she calls her, “fiery, fun album that marries rock with soul under a glittery pop umbrella.” Her lyrics are tongue-in-cheek and catchy but never lacking in substance and universality. She’s not afraid to play with her multi-octave range and experiment with new sounds not typical of most female pop triple-threats. Chevonne is ready to bust out the gates with a continuation of the excitement she’s brought to the pop music landscape – it’ll be vibrant, badass, and of course BIG.
Chevonne has announced her Kickstarter campaign to help fund her debut album and music video. To support, please visit: http://kck.st/UIm1gR.
To purchase Chevonne’s music, please visit: http://bit.ly/XFV182.
11/21 Glossy – The Park New York, NY
12/5 Sullivan Hall New York, NY