SPOTLIGHT ON: Emblem3

November 16, 2013
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They’re the new guys on the block in pop culture, and we can’t help being obsessed with them. You may know them from their smash hit “Chloe (You’re the One I Want)”. Or perhaps you caught them on X Factor USA.  Either way, Emblem3, a Washington-bred trio producing a refreshing blend of reggae, rock and pop-influenced music, is the latest group to capture the world’s attention – and they’re doing so with undeniable style.

Consisting of brothers Keaton and Wesley Stromberg, and close friend Drew Chadwick, the youthful band is a rare gem amidst an onslaught of “cookie cutter” sensations.  In fact, the trio strives to define themselves as a group that is both unique and influential – all the while seeking to answer the question “What is music?” For a band that cherishes what music stands for and how it has affected them – as individuals, as artists, and as a band – they strive to become something more than just a mass-produced machine.

Their origins trace back to the quaint town of Sequim, Washington, where Drew and Wesley found themselves competing against one another, secretly wondering how their lives might be different were they friends.  As fate would have it, the two wound up becoming friends, which consequently led to the early-stage creation of what would eventually become Emblem3. The two practiced hard and often, which was how then-9-year-old Keaton Stromberg came into the picture. A natural talent on home recording, Keaton showed early interest in participating in the band, but was initially rejected by Drew and Wesley due to his age.

The years became a blur and soon Drew and Wesley found themselves in California, a haven for aspiring musicians and the spot where their dreams would eventually come to fruition. Experimenting with poetry and rapping, which they incorporated into their lyrics and wove into their songs, the duo slowly began to mold together Emblem3.  The adventurous, inspirational environments of Huntington Beach and Long Beach fueled the duo, aiding the band in their development and eventually prompting Keaton to relocate to the area to join them.  Combining multi-instrumental talents, rapping skills, knowledge of crucial editing software, and inspiration taken from the band Sublime, things slowly started to take off for the three hopeful teenagers from Washington.

They won the Rock N’ Road’s Orange County Battle of the Bands. They won over crowds on the famous Sunset Strip. They were well on their way to achieving what their dreams consisted of.

But then, as so often happens with aspiring bands, reality slowly started to set in. Their inspiration had started to run dry – as had their bank accounts. With money and ideas running thin, things started to take a downward spiral, and Emblem3 decided to take a leap of faith.

Enter X Factor USA. Performing an original tune called “Sunset Blvd.”, Wesley, Drew and Keaton managed to snag a spot in the show, in addition to impressing both audiences and legendary Simon Cowell. From there, things took a turn for the best.

Sure, they may not have made it to the finals. But as anyone can see from previous acts featured on the reality singing competition that also failed to win the show (*ahem*…One Direction, anyone?), this rejection was far from the demise of Emblem 3. Having garnered international exposure and become crowd favorites, the trio went on to snag a record deal with Syco Music and Columbia Records, despite their rejection from the show. The rest, as they say, is history.

Working with renowned songwriter and producer Savan Kotecha in addition to Joel Madden, Jack Antonoff and Kool Kojak, Wesley, Drew and Keaton released their début album Nothing to Lose on July 30, 2013.

The album title could not be more fitting to describe this unique band of talents. By going out on a limb to chase their dreams and do what they could to give meaning to music, Emblem3 had nothing to lose…and ended up gaining a world stage.

Buy your copy of Nothing to Lose in stores and on iTunes today, and stay tuned to WeKnowtheDJ for the latest updates on Emblem3.

-Shelley DeHekker

@shelleydehekker

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