Jesse Kinch Performs on ABC’s Rising Star

by Liz Moy on July 13, 2014

Jesse_Kinch1“He’s a soft-spoken kid with a huge rocker singing voice, surprising stage presence, and even more surprising sex appeal.” Billboard

“This David Cassidy-haired, rock ‘n’ blues belter was the only truly memorable or unique contestant of the 10 total who sang on Sunday…Jesse had it all: sex appeal, soul, swag, and a strong set of pipes.” Rolling Stone

ReverbNation Artist Jesse Kinch was one of the premiere artists to perform on ABC’s new music competition show, Rising Star. The show boasts being the first of its kind, an interactive singing competition where fans vote via a smartphone app, with a small percentage of votes allotted for three celebrity guest judges. GRAMMY-award-winning vocalist Josh Groban hosts, and audiences watch as stars like Jesse emerge from behind a giant digital wall that lights up as fans and judges cast their votes. The grand prize? A recording contract with Capitol Records.

When we sat down to talk to Jesse, we wanted to understand what it’s really like for a musician to be a part of a reality TV show. Jesse provided some perspective on the selection process, his initial reservations and what he thinks sets this music competition apart from others.

Tell us about the selection process for Rising Star.

I’ve been playing music my entire life, and before Rising Star I was a full-time musician. I spent a lot of time writing and performing music but never really sought out opportunities to be on a reality show. An ABC Executive actually found a video of  me on my YouTube channel and invited me to a private audition for Rising Star on the East Coast. I auditioned for the executives with ‘I Put a Spell on You,’ and after that, they invited me to come out to LA. I performed four or five more songs for a panel of judges and then was told I’d be on the show.

What was your mindset going into it?

I went into the whole audition process with the mentality of “I’m going to go down there and do my best, but I’m going to be myself, if I can’t be myself I don’t want to do it.”

Did you have any reservations about being on a music competition show?

I’ve always been very wary of reality TV shows and how they operate. What seemed different about Rising Star was that it was more democratic, because the audience has more power than the ‘expert judges.’ Rising Star also offers more freedom to artists compared to other shows. We can choose our own songs as long as they’re cleared to perform for TV. Basically we provide a list of the songs we’d like to perform and they let us know if we have the go ahead – they don’t choose for us.

So if you win the show, you get a recording contract. But what happens if you don’t win?

The greatest honor of being on the show is the opportunity perform for millions of people every week, performing songs that I believe in. Of course, it’s every artist’s dream to be signed to a label, and being recognized by one as prominent as Capitol Records would be great. Even if I don’t win, being on the show has given me immense exposure. That exposure alone could lead to so many things, and it’s already opened some doors. I’m looking forward to the opportunities that come whether I win or not.

Tell us more about your one-on-one coaching session with Josh Groban. Was it a real session, or just a quick shot for the camera?

On TV, they only show a 20 second portion of the session, when in reality, we had a 30 minute session with Josh. He’s such a great human being with a great personality. We talked a bit about my background, and he learned about my philosophy with music. I sang one of my songs for him, and he gave me some coaching and feedback. One of the things he said was that my voice was like two different animals – I have a soft speaking voice, but a powerful singing voice – like a “beast on a leash.” That’s the type of stuff that you don’t get to see on-camera.

In addition to Jesse, seven other ReverbNation Artists will also take the stage on Rising Star:

Megan Tibbits – North Hollywood, California – Indie/Pop/R&B

Sarah Darling – Nashville, Tennesse – Country

Lisa Punch – Georgetown, Guyana – Pop/R&B/Reggae

Macy Kate – St. Petersburg, Florida – Pop/Rock

Gabrielle Nicole – Cleveland, Ohio – Pop/Hip-Hop/R&B

Will Roth – Dallas, Texas – Folk/Rock

April Lockhart – Nashville, Tennessee – Pop

We’ll be watching Jesse and other ReverbNation Artists on ABC’s Rising Star this Sunday at 9/8c.



If you’re an artist who plays frequent shows both in your hometown and on tour, chances are you’re mostly playing to a 21+ age group. And usually, this is a good thing for a performer — this demographic tends to have more disposable income and is more likely to help run up your end-of-the-night payout with bar sales.

But by default, many artists end up overlooking a demographic that, according to a recent study by Nielsen, contains some of the most dedicated music fans — teenagers.

Nielsen’s study confirmed that 54% of teen concert attendees purchase t-shirts and merchandise [source]. Similarly, 51% of teens have purchased some kind of music (download, CD, etc.) in the last year [source]. These numbers are far above the national average, as well as being higher than any other age demographic.


Founder Jimmy Cantillon

So how do you get a foothold in this often overlooked but highly invested demographic? A good place to start is with this year’s High School Nation (HSN) tour. We spoke with founder Jimmy Cantillon about the festival’s inception and its benefits for the artists who participate:

“With HSN, you play in front of thousands of teenagers,” explained Cantillon. “Those are thousands of trendsetters; thousands of social media mavens; thousands of consumers. They will purchase your album. They will grow with your band and support you as an artist because they discovered you before you broke on a national level.”

Originally started as a lunchtime activities program for a small group of students, High School Nation has evolved into a national tour, visiting more than 20 cities across the United States. Now in its 11th year, HSN has grown from an afternoon of great new music to an opportunity to strengthen arts curriculum in schools, according to Cantillon.

“Over the years, we grew so close to the schools we worked with, that it was very obvious to us that they were hurting for funding,” he explained. “We felt we had an obligation to do our part to keep music alive for the students that would continue to enjoy our live acts during their lunch periods.”


Drake Bell at High School Nation

A returning opportunity for ReverbNation artists, the High School Nation tour offers bands or solo acts the possibility of opening up for Surfdog recording artist Drake Bell in front of thousands of high school students. It will also again seek to create a unique festival-like atmosphere at each school, while giving students the chance to explore various potential career paths related to the arts.

Cantillon clarifies that HSN focuses “on high school students because we think we can have the largest impact at this level. This is a time in life when many new things are presented to you for the first time.”

In short, High School Nation goes beyond most other shows you might play as an artist on the rise — it not only exposes you to an audience that is always looking for new music to consume and support, it also gives you the chance to create fans who want to grow with you.

Submissions close July 31st, so don’t miss out!

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When musician Ryan Trauley logged into Facebook to check the performance of a recent post to his band Oulipo’s page, the results shocked him.

“I have 800 fans on my page, but this post I wrote about my show was only seen by 10 people. I don’t understand how that’s possible,” said Trauley.

Ryan isn’t the only one surprised. Every day more artists are noticing that they’re reaching fewer and fewer fans on Facebook. Why is this happening?

Facebook is reducing the number of people who see your posts in their News Feed organically. They’re accomplishing this by cutting down on a number called “Organic Reach*,” which refers to how many people you can reach for free on Facebook by posting to your Page.

ReverbNation has been a longtime advocate of artists promoting themselves using social media. In 2007, we developed Band Profile, the first Facebook app for artists. Band Profile was designed to help artists take advantage of the growing platform, and to share everything with their fans, from songs to updates to merch.

Since then, ReverbNation has continued to integrate products closely with Facebook, including tying our ad offerings into Facebook through its API. In fact, we were one of the first partners invited to use their API (Application Programming Interface).

Given our front row seat to the ever-changing landscape of Facebook, I spent some time talking to those knowledgeable about the platform. I asked two key ReverbNation team members some questions and received some interesting responses.

[Read More...]

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