Detroit, MI --- Unsigned Detroit-based band I Prevail has literally taken The World by storm, Out of nowhere, the band has become a viral sensation, with their recording of Taylor Swift's "Blank Space" fueling a hurricane of interest and an army of fans. Their independently released debut EP HEART VS. MIND was issued in December, and in mere months has risen to #1 on the iTunes Rock Album chart fueled by the cover song hitting #1 on the iTunes Rock Singles chart. In Mid-February, the Associated Press reported that I Prevail's version of "Blank Space" was charted as the seventh most viral track on Spotify globally, based on the number of people who shared the performance divided by the number who listened to it. This encompassed the period from January 26th through February 1. Since being posted, the accompanying video has been viewed over 5 MILLION times on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czb_CZfWko8.
I Prevail is Brian Burkheiser (vocals), Eric Vanlerberghe (vocals), Steve Menoian (guitar), and Lee Runestead (drums).
When asked why the band chose to cover "Blank Space," drummer Lee shares, "I enjoy her music. She is one of the most successful artists of our generation. We hoped to reach a lot of people with our style of music together with her popularity." Lead guitarist Steve adds, "I think the success of our cover shows that a great song is a great song, no matter the genre or style. We wanted to cover a song that had mass appeal and could reach beyond the rock, metal and hardcore world. Beyond that, we honestly all like Taylor Swift. You can call it a guilty pleasure, but she’s damn good!" Front man Brian offers, "There is a reason why it has amassed over 500 million views in four months. When we all heard the song we knew it would be the one to cover. Musically it made all the sense in the world."
The avalanche of exposure truly has become a viral sensation with the band emerging from obscurity almost instantaneously. Although the band members have a keen sense of the value of covers delivering new audience no one foresaw the speed at which this story took hold. They all felt as though they were on to something special when writing the arrangement, but optimistic projections were goals of reaching 5000 to 10,000 views. Brian shares, "If you told me that two months after releasing the cover we would have almost 5 million views on YouTube I would have called you crazy. It's like we are on this roller coaster that just hasn't declined yet. Every day comes with something new and exciting and this cover has been a huge part of that." Eric offers, "The best way I can describe it is that it is going on three months and I'm still waiting to wake up from this dream. I'm starting to wonder if I'm comatose."
Being a Michigan band, I Prevail carries that strong "Made In Detroit" swagger. Lee offers, "We love the Mitten! We have a huge sense of pride to break out in the Michigan music scene." Steve adds, "There is an 'us against the world' type mentality. Watching people continue to work hard and persevere is also hard to ignore. To be honest, it is inspiring." Eric reveals, "The underdog mentality is the best way to describe the 'Made In Michigan' philosophy. We like to see ourselves as the underdog. We stayed in seclusion for a year giving up relationships, parties, hangouts, and money to work toward our dream. We spent countless hours not only writing and recording, but planning our marketing strategies, our social media sites, and our goals. We were hoping for a little burst out of the gate, but the welcome we received was more than we could have ever dreamed or wished for. "
The band writes as a collective. They feed off one another in delivering the creative vision for I Prevail. Steve reflects, "Myself, Brian, and our producer BJ Perry (Wall of Sound Studio), started the writing for this project initially. The three of us had the vision of the sound, and wanted to mix melodic elements with the heavier stuff. Then combining both moments of singing and screaming in a rock framework that exhibited element of our hardcore background. We didn’t want to box ourselves into just one sound. We also didn’t want to reinvent the wheel instrumentally. That’s been done before. We just wanted to make music that let us express ourselves and that people could relate to in any emotional state they might be in. Then bringing in Eric and Lee, they had so much to add to our process musically with their own influences and style. All of us have touched the songs in one way or another."
When pointing to passages that are especially poignant to the individual members, those they cite are especially revealing. For Steve, the line that really sums up the struggle and perfectly describes the thought process of someone contemplating taking a huge risk in their life is the chorus from the title track "Heart vs. Mind": "I’m just a stranger; who made a wager for my life. I might not escape this time. Caught in this nightmare, dreams to thin air. This is the heart against the mind." Brian points to a line from the same track citing "My life is on the line, it seems as if I'm running out of time, and my thoughts are consuming me, is this the person I'm supposed to be?"
This is a pure example where a star has emerged from the Web, and is taking firm hold of the terrestrial realm. With fans waiting anxiously, the band now announces a coast to coast run featuring dozens of headline dates alongside a support leg with Amaranthe. Confirmed appearances include:
3/18 Pittsburgh, PA Altar Bar
3/19 Cleveland, OH Cambridge Room
3/20 Pontiac, MI Crofoot
3/22 Toledo, OH Frankie's
3/23 Buffalo, NY Iron Works
3/24 New York, NY The Studio @ Webster Hall
3/28 Springfield, VA Empire
3/29 Lancaster, PA Chameleon Club
4/09 Greensboro, NC Greene St.
4/10 Atlanta, GA Masquerade
4/11 Orlando, FL Backbooth
4/12 Tampa, FL Epic Problem
4/16 Houston, TX Peacock Room @ House of Blues
4/17 Dallas, TX Cambridge Room @ House of Blues
4/21 Kansas City, MO Riot Room
4/22 Little Rock, AR Juanita's
4/23 Sauget, IL Pops
4/25 Memphis, TN Hi-Tone
4/26 Clarksville, TN Warehouse
4/29 Bloomington, IL The Castle Theatre
4/30 Columbus, OH The Basement
5/01 Grand Rapids, MI The Stache
5/12 Montreal, QUE Virgin Mobile Corona Theatre w/ Amaranthe
5/13 New York, NY Gramercy Theatre w/ Amaranthe
5/14 Baltimore, MD Rams Head w/ Amaranthe
5/15 Worcester, MA Palladium w/ Amaranthe
5/16 Philadelphia, PA Trocadero w/ Amaranthe
5/17 Toronto, ONT Opera House w/ Amaranthe
5/20 Joliet, IL Mojoes w/ Amaranthe
5/21 Minneapolis, MN Mill City Nights w/ Amaranthe
5/23 Calgary, AB Republik w/ Amaranthe
5/24 Edmonton, AB Starlite Room w/ Amaranthe
5/26 Vancouver, BC Rickshaw Theatre w/ Amaranthe
5/27 Seattle, WA Studio Seven w/ Amaranthe
5/29 Denver, CO Bluebird Theatre w/ Amaranthe
6/02 San Francisco, CA Regency Ballroom w/ Amaranthe
6/03 Los Angeles, CA Club Nokia w/ Amaranthe
6/05 Phoenix, AZ Joe's Grotto
6/06 Tucson, AZ Club XS