After making inroads with TV synchs, the Strange Familiar is ready for radio with album 'Chasing Shadows'
While the Strange Familiar is still getting to know the public, its founding members share a deep history. "We actually started a band when we were in sixth grade," vocalist Kira Leyden remembers. The "we" she's referring to includes the band's guitarist, who just happens to be her husband, Jeff Andrea. "I knew I liked him in the fourth grade. Our first gig together was a grade-school dance."
The pop act has since graduated to much bigger stages. After relocating from Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, to Los Angeles in 2007, Leyden and Andrea met their producer, Brian Malouf, and added members Frank Freeman (bass) and Nicholas Sainato (drums). In April, the foursome released its third album, "Chasing Shadows" (Krian Music Group/Fontana), which is making a mark on both TV and radio.
TV viewers might already be familiar with the band from numerous synchs tied to its 2009 release "This Is Gravity". Songs from that set were featured on ABC Family's "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" -- "Courage Is..." which was included on the show, has sold 64,000 downloads, according to Nielsen SoundScan -- ABC's "Brothers and Sisters" and NBC's "The Biggest Loser." Reigniting the group's onscreen spotlight, "Chasing Shadows" received a boost when the song "Redemption" appeared in the April 19 episode of the CW's "The Vampire Diaries." Current single "Unwanted" has aired on ABC Family's "Pretty Little Liars."
But the Strange Familiar claims it doesn't want to associate itself too closely with all things pop culture. As Leyden sings in "Being Me," from "Chasing Shadows", "I'll never belt it like Janis Joplin, and I'll never kiss Katy Perry/I may never sing a duet with Gaga, and I'll never play this song on 'Glee'/I can't be something I'm not, but I'm just fine being me."
"'Being Me' was the first song we've ever written with pop culture references in it," Leyden says. "It started out as kind of a joke, but as it evolved, we realized we've been fighting to fit into one kind of mold with our music. It felt really refreshing to say, 'We're never going to be the bad-ass guy onstage or the rocker chick.' When you're true to yourself, you find something that's real, and that touches people more than trying to be something else."
The Strange Familiar is now working on introducing itself at triple A radio, where "Unwanted" is being promoted. And, as has become routine, Leyden and Andrea continue to mix music with life as a married couple. "When we go out on dates, music is all we talk about," Andrea says with a laugh. "It's kind of life-consuming, but we love it. We love to be immersed in music. It's really all we want to do."