Their name flies high above and so do the dreams of this quintet who are looking to put their emotive pop/rock record onto your playlist. Their name is Satellite, a four-man band based out of Nashville. Things are just ramping up for them, which has been a long time coming from the formation of the four up until now. Finally, it’s their time as the band goes to AAA radio this week with their first airplay single, “Say The Words”, on Descendant/RED.
After initially playing in Los Angeles, the group began in spring 2009 but officially went public in the summer of 2010, playing a number of small shows while developing a social following. An EP was released, Ring The Bells, as well the band’s first single… “Say The Words”. Yes, that song that’s just receiving a radio treatment now in 2013 has been out for nearly three years. You thought it was new. Considering that the band is far from established, it’s new to a lot of ears, including my own just a few days ago. You can now find it on the band’s full-length release of a few months ago, Calling Birds, available in both digital and physical form.
All four members have been a part of the industry in some capacity for several years. The most notable person in the group is guitarist Mitch Allan, the former lead singer of the rock outfit SR-71. Between 2000 and 2002, they sent three songs onto the Alternative chart, including a #2 song that also had a minor pop crossover (#28), “Right Now”. The group was also responsible for creating the original version of “1985”, which became the biggest hit to date for Bowling For Soup in 2004. Lately, Allan has been writing for clients like Daughtry and Demi Lovato, including a co-write on her international smash, “Heart Attack”.
As for the other members, lead singer Steven McMorran and guitarist Josh Dunahoo were once a part of the band Trading Yesterday. McMorran also has credits on songs by former American Idol contestants Blake Lewis and Kris Allen, among other performers. Lastly, bassist and pianist Erik Kertes has been a session musician and also co-wrote the theme song to the SyFy series Alphas, which ran for two seasons. So, with all that experience, the band has more than enough practice and perseverance to make it big.
The land of Adult Album Alternative may be where this song is headed initially, but it does have the potential to impact the Adult Contemporary formats, both Hot and Main, in a big way. “Words” fills the moody British rocker vibe we’ve been missing from bands like Coldplay, Keane and Snow Patrol. Satellite may not be from jolly ol’ England, but the mellow sound that they deliver is very much welcome with all the electronic and dance music that’s progressed onto radio formats that were almost exclusively singers and songwriters five or ten years ago. It’s a song with a lot of meaning, about overcoming illness and heartbreak, and having a cathartic experience in order to move on past the troubles. A video for the song (which you can see above), a vision of McMorran’s story with the band and personal life, was shot almost entirely on an iPhone and has racked up over a million views in two months. I certainly think they’re going places with this one.
The band does face some issues as they go to radio with their first song. They’ve been trying to break for some time now with minimal results. Will they be able to score some success this time around or will they get lost in the shuffle like many other acts? Plus, a more minor point, the new Sara Bareilles single, “Brave”, has a partial hook of “Say what you wanna say/And the let the words fall out”, which is essentially the same first half of the chorus in this song. This is already doing moderately well at the formats that Satellite is ultimately most approachable at, although the Bareilles song is an uptempo single while this is a power ballad. Is this town big enough for the both of them?
With early stations coming in, including one in Boston, Satellite will be all over the musical universe in no time, and the sky’s the limit.