Ep. 68: Sam Nelson Harris (X Ambassadors)

SamHarrisLarge.jpg

This week our guest is a songwriter and the lead singer of the band, X Ambassadors. X Ambassadors’ debut platinum-selling album ‘VHS’ saw the band transition from Ithaca alt-rockers and Brooklyn indie scene outsiders, to Billboard stalwarts. The album was an intimate insight into our guest and his brothers’ youth, studded with audio snippets from home movies, and early recording sessions and sound checks. With it, came the genre-defining, multi-platinum hits “Unsteady” and “Renegades,” a three-year global touring odyssey and a string of high-profile festival performances. His songwriting became increasingly personal resulting in the shattering, shimmering 2018 singles “JOYFUL” and “Don’t Stay” followed by a North American headline tour. With X Ambassadors our guest has co-written and featured on songs such as “Home” from the Bright Soundtrack with Machine Gun Kelly and Bebe Rexha, “Transmission” with Zedd and Logic, and the 3x multi-platinum song, “Sucker for Pain” from the Suicide Squad Soundtrack with Imagine Dragons, Lil Wayne, Logic, Ty Dolla $ign & Wiz Khalifa. He has also co-written songs for other artists and projects including, “American Oxygen” by Rihanna, “Bad Husband” by Eminem, “Jerome,” “Cuz I Love You,” and “Heaven Help Me” by Lizzo. Additionally, he co-wrote 8 songs on the 2019 album, ‘For The Throne (Music Inspired by the HBO Series Game of Thrones)’ which featured artists such as Maren Morris, X Ambassadors, SZA, The Weeknd and Travis Scott. Always looking to give back to the community that raised them, X Ambassadors returned to Ithaca for the second annual Cayuga Sound Festival this past September creating and curating two days of musical performances and raising money for local charities. In 2019 X Ambassadors released “BOOM,” a quick-fire anthem for emphatic recovery and personal revolutions from their new album, ‘ORION’. This episode features two parts; an intimate discussion with Ross and the other a live audience interview held at the Deutsch agency in Los Angeles. And The Writer Is… Sam Nelson Harris!

This episode is sponsored by BMI and Bandzoogle.

 
 
 
 

Ep. 67: Finneas

FinneasColor_Large.jpg

Kicking off Season 5, at 22-years-old, this multi-talented guest has already become a buzzing and sought-after producer, songwriter and artist. Working behind the scenes on numerous hit singles, he has stepped out into the spotlight with his own innovative and ambitious solo project. Born and raised in East Los Angeles, he was homeschooled alongside his younger sister, Billie Eilish. Music was always an important part of their childhood and education and by the age of eleven, his parents had taught him the guitar and piano. He took to writing his own songs and by the time he was a teenager, he was already teaching himself to produce. In 2015 he wrote a song titled “Ocean Eyes” in his bedroom studio. That song became the breakout hit for Billie Eilish, quickly grabbing her a record deal with Interscope and gaining major media buzz. The siblings continued to write and record together for Billie’s solo project, creating her debut EP ‘don’t smile at me’ and No. 1 debut album, ‘When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?’. He has also had the opportunity to collaborate with artists including Khalid, Kehlani, Jessie Reyez, Ashe, Olivia O'Brien, Sabrina Claudio, Marian Hill, Bruno Major. Already regarded as a major producer and songwriter to watch, as an artist his anticipated debut EP, ‘Blood Harmony,’ is set to be released this October featuring the first single, “Shelter.” Unafraid to be vulnerable and unfiltered, his songs are rich with pure unadulterated emotion. And The Writer Is… FINNEAS!

This episode is sponsored by Bandzoogle.

 
 

Ep. 66: Ross Golan's 'THE WRONG MAN'

The Wrong Man image.jpg

With Special Guest Host Ricky Reed

Ricky Reed hosts this episode of “And The Writer Is!” Ricky interviews Ross in a candid conversation about Ross's 14 year project called “The Wrong Man.” Ricky produced the concept album released on Interscope Records that is being adapted into a musical opening in NYC by the Hamilton director by Tommy Kail and music director Alex Lacamoire. How does a project grow through word of mouth to a major label release and Off Broadway show without every releasing recorded music until last week? Listen to find out about this amazing journey from a West Hollywood apartment in the mid 2000s to a worldwide distributed album!

Ep. 65: Wyclef Jean

WyclefJeanColorLarge2 (1).jpg

The music that our Season 4 finale guest has written, performed, and produced — both as a solo superstar and as founding member of the Fugees — has been consistently powerful and a pop cultural force for over two decades. In 1996, his band the Fugees released their monumental album ‘The Score’. As a solo artist, he has released eight albums that have sold nearly nine million copies worldwide, including his 1997 debut ‘The Carnival’ and 2000’s aptly titled ‘The Eclectic: 2 Sides II a Book’. His album, ‘Carnival III: The Fall and Rise of a Refugee’, was named one of the “25 Most Anticipated Albums” of the fall by Billboard Magazine that year. And his recent release, ‘Wyclef Goes Back To School Volume 1’ is a collaboration with students he met while touring the United States and visiting colleges across the country. He is a 3 time Grammy award winner who has worked with mega stars such as Whitney Huston, Santana, Mary J. Blige, Shakira, Mick Jagger, Paul Simon, Missy Elliott, Destiny’s Child and more. As a highly esteemed musician, he has undoubtedly influenced the artistry of musicians all over the globe. With his ethos centered around nurturing and growth, he has persistently made efforts to make positive changes, whether that be by holding charitable events, running for presidency in Haiti or just using his music to make others aware of actualities that don’t get enough media coverage. Live from South by Southwest, And The Writer Is…Wyclef Jean!

This episode is sponsored by SONOS.

 
 

Ep. 64: Matthew Ramsey (Old Dominion)

MatthewRamseyColorNewLarge.jpg

Originally from Buchanan, Virginia our guest is an award winning, multi-platinum artist who moved to Nashville to pursue his passion for songwriting. There he met his future bandmates and together went on to form the band Old Dominion, in which he is the lead singer. He co-wrote the band’s first hit song, "Break Up With Him," which is RIAA certified platinum. Old Dominion’s sophomore album, ‘Happy Endings’, debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums Chart & #7 on the Billboard Top 200. The album produced three platinum, #1 singles, “Written In The Sand,” “No Such Thing As A Broken Heart” and “Hotel Key,” all of which our guest co-wrote. He also co-wrote the band’s single “Make It Sweet,” which recently hit #1 on the Country charts. In addition to his band, he has written hit songs for other artists such as Kenny Chesney ("Save It for a Rainy Day"), Sam Hunt (“Make You Miss Me”), Dierks Bentley (“Say You Do”), Luke Bryan ("Goodbye Girl") and Tim McGraw (“Kiss A Girl”) among others. He is a three-time winner of the Association of Independent Music Publishers “Artists Writers of the Year” award, a two-time CMA “Triple Play Award” winner and the recipient of the ASCAP “Artist Writer of the Year” award. Additionally, he is a two-time Academy of Country Music Award winner for “Vocal Group of the Year,” and Country Music Award winner for “Vocal Group of the Year” as a part of Old Dominion. And The Writer Is...Matthew Ramsey!

This episode is sponsored by SONOS.