I first met James, Zac, Dave and Matt in 2008. We were in separate bands playing any show we could get in the northeast and sleeping on any hardwood floor we could find.
Today American Authors have millions singing their smash hit, “Best Day of My Life”. The song was featured on a Lowes commercial, the new movie trailers for both “Delivery Man” (Vince Vaughn) and “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” (Ben Stiller), as well as being the theme song for Major League Baseball’s “Fancave” and “The World Series of Poker” and most recently performed by the contestants of the television show “The Voice”.
I caught up with guitarist and banjo-playing member, James Adam Shelley, in early January as the band wrapped up their first full length album set for release on Island Def Jam Records in March.
How did you guys first come together as a band?
We all met at Berklee College of Music in Boston. We played in various projects for a long time. Zac is actually the first person I met and we’ve been writing music ever since, over 7 years. After playing Boston and touring for a few years we all decided to drop out of Berklee to move to Brooklyn. Brooklyn really opened us up to a world of new music and sounds, we formed American Authors two years ago.
Can you name a challenge you overcame and how it made your band stronger?
Our whole careers have been overcoming challenges. A specific moment we all remember was a few years ago. We had just moved to Brooklyn when we met an A&R person from a major record label. We were so excited to meet with someone from a record label and create a relationship with them. This A&R person told us that we would never amount to anything in the music industry and that we should give up. That was a big blow to our self esteem, but we pushed through it and are still pushing everyday.
What is it like seeing your hard work pay off and what has been the most exciting moment for you?
It has been an amazing ride so far. A really special moment was when we played The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Our parents came to the show. I remember watching Leno when I was a kid so this was a really special moment for me.
What is each members favorite outdoor activity?
I like to mountaineer, ice and rock climb, and hike. Zac likes to surf and skateboard. Dave and Matt both enjoy hiking as well.