Indie phenomenon Secondhand Serenade is John Vesely, a one-man show hailing from Menlo Park, CA. His mix of extremely heartfelt music and poetic lyrics has caused a strong reaction with fans through MySpace. This underground buzz and word-of-mouth propelled him to reach and stay at the top unsigned artist position on MySpace for four months. As of today, Secondhand Serenade has reached over 17,692,067 plays on MySpace, an incredible feat for an artist just now signed by an indie label.
While some artists may fear the rawness of playing with just an acoustic guitar, John
welcomes the honesty. He explains, "In some ways a band is more powerful, but in other ways there are things you can do with one voice and one acoustic guitar that you couldn't do with an army of musicians behind you.
" Born into a family of musicians -- his father has been a professional jazz musician for over 20 years in the Czech Republic -- John
started getting into music around age 12. He was a member of numerous Bay area bands ranging in style from ska, hardcore to rock and pop, but it wasn't until he picked up an acoustic guitar that he finally found his true calling.
After selling over 15,000 copies of his debut acoustic album Awake on his own through a PayPal account, John signed on with Daniel Glass as part of his newly formed Glassnote Records. Last week (2/6), the label released Awake with two new songs -- "It's Not Over" and "Take Me With You" -- and it has debuted at #16 and #8 on the Billboard "Top Heatseekers" chart and the "Alternative New Artist" albums chart, respectively. AWAKE marks the first-ever release for Glassnote Records which is distributed through ILG (Warner Music Group's Independent Label Group).
Later this month, Secondhand Serenade will team up with Butch Walker and Danny Lohner to produce his debut full-length. The new album -- which will feature a full band -- will be released at the end of the summer.
After the recording sessions, Secondhand Serenade will be heading to Austin to perform several shows at the SXSW festival including a gig on Friday, March 16 at Maggie Mae's as part of the East West/ILG showcase. Following SXSW, JOHN will hit the road with Monty Are I for handful of dates and in May he'll join My Chemical Romance, Linkin Park and many others for the Bamboozle festival.
Recently, Rolling Stone featured Secondhand Serenade in the magazine's new artist "On The Edge" section and pronounced: "equipped with an acoustic guitar silken tenor pipes, a shitload of tattoos and whole lotta sadness." Secondhand also scored #3 in the magazine's year-end reader's poll for "Best Myspace Artist."
Coming this March, Secondhand Serenade is confirmed for Yahoo! Music's popular "Who's Next?" program which highlights up-and-coming artists set to make a big impact.
Meanwhile, Secondhand Serenade just shot a soon-to-debut video for the first single "Vulnerable" helmed by Frank Borin (Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Dani California").
In addition, an MTV "You Hear It First" piece is now airing on MTV, MTV2, mtvU and MTV.COM. To watch MTV's "You Hear It First" piece on Secondhand Serenade, click here.
Also, look for a featured new artist piece on AOL Music's "Breakers" whereby John is competing with 11 other new artists including Amy Winehouse, Hellogoodbye and Landon Pigg. To vote, click here.