Hard work paying off for Fiction 20 DownWritten by Mike Bauman | | firstname.lastname@example.org
When Wes Anderson left his full-time job in Chicago for Baltimore to pursue his passion for music and join Fiction 20 Down back in 2012, he knew the risks involved.
“Any aspiring artist or someone that’s pursuing a professional career in entertainment, it’s tough,” said Anderson, a 2005 Anthony Wayne graduate. “There’s a reason why almost nobody makes it because most people can’t handle it, and they quit before they even get a chance.”
While Anderson has certainly experienced a few low moments over the past two years with Fiction 20 Down, he didn’t quit. Now the collective persistence and dedication of he and his band mates to their craft is starting to pay off.
In addition to fulfilling a personal dream of being sponsored by PRS Guitars in 2013, this year Anderson and Fiction 20 Down signed with manager Jeff Rabhan of Trifecta Ltd., gained representation from Stephen Brush and IAA (International Artists Agency) and also received multiple nominations for The Maryland Music Awards.
“It’s a constant mental battle in a sense, and it really just is up to how bad you want it and what you’re willing to do to keep pursuing it,” Anderson said of trying to find stability in the music industry. “It’s really cool to see some things starting to happen and start to get some recognition.”
An international consultant, music executive and artist manager, Rabhan serves as Chair of the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. His clientele has included Kelly Clarkson, Jermaine Dupri and Michelle Branch, among others, while artists he’s represented have sold over 100 million records and received more than 12 GRAMMY awards to date.
“We were persistent,” Anderson said of courting Rabhan, a relationship the band started to pursue over a year ago. “We kept doing our thing, and six months or so later we hit him up again and we’re like, ‘Hey. We’ve been growing. We’ve got some new music. Just want to revisit this,’ and then he was just like, ‘Let’s do it.’”
IAA, meanwhile, has a roster that includes hip hop mainstays like Timbaland, Wu-Tang Clan and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.
“We kind of just had to build our own following and build our own buzz to the point where we could grab the attention of agencies like that,” Anderson said of Fiction 20 Down. Still independent, the band has built a loyal following of more than 11,000 Facebook fans and nearly 11,000 Twitter followers through national touring, YouTube music videos and constant fan interaction. “Part of the benefit of having a great manager [like Rabhan] is being able to use his network and build new relationships as a result of that, so it’s kind of a combination of that.”
Featuring Anderson (lead guitar), Jordan Lally (lead vocals, guitar), D.J. Fritzges (bass, DJ), Andre Toney (drums, emcee) and Justin Beall (sound/tech/tour manager), Fiction 20 Down will bring its fusion of rock, reggae, and hip hop back to Northwest Ohio on Sept. 26 when it performs at Martini & Nuzzi’s in Maumee as part of its “Halfway There” tour.
“They’re just as stoked, too,” Anderson said of the band’s Sept. 26 gig, Fiction 20 Down’s first show back in Northwest Ohio since playing at Howard’s Club H in Bowling Green in 2012. “It’s almost sort of like our second hometown because every time we come back it’s just like a big party and everyone’s always stoked.”
Fiction 20 Down is also stoked about the new music it has been working on, a yet-to-be-determined release to follow up the band’s 2013 debut LP “Where’s the Levity?” and March mixtape “The PM Side.”
“We have almost a whole full length of material ready to go,” Anderson said. “We are talking to some labels and things like that, so we want to make sure when we put it out it’s going to have the biggest impact possible.”
With an experienced management team, a loyal fan base that’s more like family and a band that’s more like brothers, that impact is shaping up to be a significant one for Anderson and Fiction 20 Down.
“It’s really cool to see some results starting to come out of all the work we’ve been putting in for years now,” Anderson said. “At times you ask yourself, ‘Is anybody listening? Is this really paying off?’ And then when it rains it pours, you know?”
Fiction 20 Down will perform on Sept. 26 at Martini & Nuzzi’s, located at 6023 Manley Road in Maumee. There will be a $5 cover and the show starts at 7 p.m. For more information, call (419) 865-7967.
Tags: Baltimore, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Bowling Green, Chicago, Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, D.J. Fritzges, Fiction 20 Down, Hip-Hop, Howard's Club H, IAA, International Artists Agency, Jeff Rabhan, Jermain Dupri, Jordan Lally, Justin Beall, Kelly Clarkson, Martini & Nuzzi's, Michelle Branch, Music, PRS Guitars, Reggae, rock, Stephen Brush, The Maryland Music Awards, Timbaland, Trifecta Ltd., Twitter, Wu-Tang Clan