The Independent Triumph


In the world of over saturated music, it can be frustrating to be an independent artist.  I hope that the stories I’m about to share with you will inspire and guide you to your independent success.

My favorite success story has to be the Lumineers.  In the spring of 2005 long time friends, Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites began writing music together and playing shows around the New York area.  In late 2008 the duo would become a trio when Jay Van Dyke started playing percussion and singing back-up vocals.  The three moved to Brooklyn, where they met Katelyn Arnold who became their manager.  She would book tours, shows and eventually introduced them to their new management team.  After three years they would make the decision to move to Denver, Colorado to escape the over saturated music scene in New York.

The band felt that they were spending more time at their jobs, instead of focusing on their music and perfecting their craft.  With New York’s high cost of living, it seemed like a no brainer to relocate.  When they settled in Denver in 2010, they placed an ad on Craigslist for a cellist.  Neyla Pekarek responded to the Craigslist ad.  The band began playing at the Meadowlark, a basement club in Denver that was a gathering place for the musicians in the tight knit music scene.  The band would religiously attend open mic nights every Tuesday.  At this very spot they would run into local folk heroes like, Nathaniel Rateliff and the band Paper Bird.

Before leaving New York, Wesley wrote the commercial hit “Ho Hey” in a confused state.  He said that the lyrics speak for themselves, “I don’t know where I belong, I don’t know where I went wrong but I can write a song.”  Little did they know that this song would bring them to commercial stardom.  In early 2011 the Lumineers signed a deal with Onto Entertainment, who fronted the band money in order to record their album.  The Onto managers, Christen Green and David Meinert, became intrigued when they saw the video on YouTube for “Ho Hey”, which was filmed in a small apartment.  The rest is history.

The band has since gone on to play Saturday Night Live, The Grammy’s, Coachella and some of the biggest music festivals.  Wesley, the lead singer, has said the band’s failures have kept them humble and grounded.

To be continued…