Billboard Music Awards
Parachute Works with Lady A, Lures Male Listeners on New Album
Parachute frontman Will Anderson says that even though the band harbors no illusion about its audience -- "It's very 16-24 year old females. We understand that," he says -- it's been happy to see a little more testosterone in the crowd as the group tours to support its sophomore album, "The Way It Was."
"We're seeing a lot more guys at the show," Anderson tells Billboard.com. "I get 'em coming up to me going, 'Dude, I would never admit this...but I love your stuff. My girlfriend played it for me, and it's amazing.' So it's fun to win over the guys as well as the girls. It's a pleasure to play for them now, and there's a whole new dynamic to the crowds. People would always tell us that guys eventually like what girls like; for us it took a little while, but it's great."
Anderson says Parachute still fully appreciates the women who first picked up on singles such as "She Is Love" and "Kiss Me Slowly" -- "They really came out and supported us and latched on to the music, which is great," he notes -- but the male presence is helping to define Parachute in a different way.
"I think we're a rock band, first and foremost -- anybody who comes out to a show can attest to that," Anderson says. "It really is a rock band with a lot of soul influence -- just soulful rock, hopefully honest and accessible. And emotional, but not emo."
"The Way It Was" debuted at No. 1 on the iTunes Rock chart and No. 2 overall, as well as No. 19 on the Billboard 200. Anderson says that after 2009's "Losing Sleep," Parachute's goal for its second album -- which was produced by John Fields -- was mostly to make it better than its predecessor.
"We felt like ('Losing Sleep') was an arrow that we shot at the door and it poked through," Anderson explains. "It got us into the ears of a lot of people and put our name on the map, but I feel like it wasn't quite all the way there. This time we just wanted to write good songs and hopefully show some improvement on that end...and for the album as a whole to be a little more cohesive as well. We think we did that."
"Kiss Me Slowly" did put Anderson and his mates in rarefied territory, co-writing the song with Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelly and Dave Haywood. "I met them through some people," says Anderson, who resides in Nashville after forming Parachute in Charlottesville, Va., "and they invited me to come on the road and write for another particular artist. (The song) wasn't 'Kiss Me Slowly' at the time; the melody was there but the lyrics were different, and once we started recording we realized we needed a song exactly like that. So I reworked the lyrics I had form another song and called (Kelly and Haywood) and said, 'Don't give this away.' They hadn't, and that's that. It's not every day you get to say a) those guys are good friends of mine and b) they're such good friends they're the only guys I co-wrote anything wtih for the record. It's an incredible honor to have them behind us."
Parachute is on tour with the Goo Goo Dolls and Michelle Branch until Aug. 27. After that the quintet plans to head to Europe in the fall as well as play headlining dates in North America. And Anderson has continued writing for other artists, though he can't reveal who that is yet.
"It's a good band in Nashville, that's all I can say," he notes. "I have a lot of country stuff going on, and even in the pop world a lot of good stuff, good opportunities to do a lot of writing. Luckily it's stuff people think works and will start cutting in the next couple of months."