Failure is inevitable. You will fail. You will fail many times. There will be many down sides and broken moments. Your hard work will often go unappreciated. You won’t win on your first or second try. It takes a lot more than that and that’s how it’s meant to be. Keep trying, keep working if you want it. Your failures are just opportunities to learn and crush it the next time around.
As a part of our series about rising music stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Boy Blue.
Boy Blue is a pop/rock band from Bloomfield NJ with a strong background of high energy shows, a number of which shut down by police, shenanigans on and off the stage, and total disregard for the rules when it comes to creating their art. The band takes pride in going the extra mile to create something positive and memorable out of their music videos, their songs, events, and their social media content. The group also runs an annual charity event, often followed by a celebratory Polar Plunge. They recently placed ‘Best Jersey Music Video’ in the 2020 Jersey Shore Film Festival, for their “Days On Fire” summer jam.
The band looks forward to the next several months of releasing new music and videos, after spending a couple months in the studio with producer John Ferrara of Trophy Scars. Boy Blue’s most recent release, “Ghost of Saturday Night”, released Halloween 2020, features Jaret Reddick, the lead singer of Bowling for Soup.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
Christian : We grew up in Bloomfield NJ. Most of us in the band graduated from Bloomfield High. That’s where Steve (rhythm guitar) and I (lead singer) cut our teeth and played our first shows. We had a couple different members at the time. I can remember walking to school with my bros, writing songs during classes, trying to work up the nerve to meet girls I liked, having band practice or playing basketball after school and getting into trouble. On weekends or at school events, we’d play shows. It was an unforgettable time, and honestly it set the bar pretty high, pretty early on.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
Chris: I can remember in my grammar school years, having a really hard time in my home life because of drug abuse by family members. I learned that life was unfair very early on. At the time I had no voice or vent for things. I had a great group of friends in and outside of school and that was all I had going for me. Around late 5th grade I got into movies and music. I began rediscovering songs from years ago that I’d heard on the radio and just being captivated. Most of them were Linkin Park songs. Next thing I knew was I wanted to learn the guitar and my life would never be the same.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Chris: In middle school and through our high school years, I’d play my guitar and jam tons of songs in my room. I would practice my singing by playing Green Day, Good Charlotte, and Bowling for Soup mostly. 10 years later, we just released our new song “Ghost of Saturday Night” with Jaret Reddick, the lead singer of Bowling for Soup. It’s funny how things come full circle that way. I can’t thank Jaret enough.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Chris: In 2011 we signed up for a showcase at a studio we used to record at, “Soundwaves Studio”. We signed on to sell a whole bunch of tickets in order for them to film and record the performance. We were 15 and like us, most of our friends were broke. We got ahead of ourselves. For a while we had no idea what we were going to do. I remember our first drummer, Mike had an idea to go door to door and sell tickets. We went through a few different towns. If a person even opened the door, usually the response was a no, but there were a few funny responses. Some people were happy to meet us though. It was insane, but as young teens we sold more than enough and had a great time performing to friends, family, and these strangers that we sold tickets to! It was a powerful hustle move for us at the time and I think it’s a good example of how serious we took our band, compared to our peers in the music scene. I don’t know if I would call it a mistake, because if I could go back I wouldn’t do it any differently. It was, however, a bit of a crazy situation.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Chris: We’re working on a music video for our upcoming single “Secondhand Smoke”. It’s nothing like our last music video. It’s going to feature a lot of NYC/night time vibes. On top of that there’s a giveaway coming up for a guitar I painted. We’ve also got a few things in the works that I can’t say when they’ll happen for sure. We’re always working, but it’s a bit hectic at the moment.
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
Chris: If you’re asking about cultural diversity, it’s extremely important. Today the “gatekeepers” are gone. Anyone with an Iphone can go viral and get better numbers than artists being promoted by major labels. It’s finally at a point where with a little bit of innovation and a lot of hard work, artists don’t have to go unrecognized. We’re seeing all kinds of culture in music, comedy, and movies now. Any major gatekeepers that still exist will have to adjust to that by getting on board. You have someone like Jordan Peele, casting non-white lead roles in REALLY good movies. I think the next 10 years of media is going to be fantastic. There will always be trash music and trash artistry to complain about, but today artists have both a lot of competition and more options for collaboration and building something great together.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- It’s going to be hard, hard, hard, hard, work. Everyday that we accomplish and work on something and I’m just in the zone, I remember this.
- Practice your craft, it’s a competition. It’s fun to play shows with our friend’s bands and meet other great artists, but honestly my goal is to make sure we work that crowd the best we can. It’s a friendly competition and all in good fun, but different artists get involved for different reasons. Not all of us want the same results. You can tell by the work ethic of many of these bands. Many of them hustle on a threatening level and I love that, because my goal is to outwork them, just as their goal is to outwork me.
- Don’t expect support from anyone. I see newer artists complain about family and friends not supporting them and I cringe. I’ve probably done the same in my younger years and I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t care for my art to go unvalued by everyone, but honestly you can’t expect even one person to see your art the way you do. You’ve got to remember why you made the art and what it did for you. You’ve got to remember that it isn’t a popularity contest. If someone is getting more likes on a song than you, you aren’t losing and if you are the one getting more likes, you aren’t winning. Cherish the support that you get because if you work hard you will get it, but don’t expect it.
- Winning is a personal concept. A crowd leaving after your set while other artists have yet to play, isn’t you “winning”. Your wins should remain personal and celebrated by you and those you worked with first. You should be offering all the glory to those who worked with you, but never yourself. Winning is not 50 people telling you that you have a nice voice. Winning is one person telling you that your song got them through a rough time.
- Failure is inevitable. You will fail. You will fail many times. There will be many down sides and broken moments. Your hard work will often go unappreciated. You won’t win on your first or second try. It takes a lot more than that and that’s how it’s meant to be. Keep trying, keep working if you want it. Your failures are just opportunities to learn and crush it the next time around.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Cafaro (bass): This advice is for any industry, but rings especially true in music:HAVE A SYSTEM. Have a schedule, stay on track, set goals, make timelines. I could go on, but the point is there. For better or worse, music is a business just like any other, and there are tried and true methods of making progress without burning out. To clarify: I’m all for giving 110%, but if you give 110% 100% of the time your career as a musician will be worse for it. It bears repeating: slow and steady wins the race.
You are both people of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
When it comes to our music I don’t think too deep into that, but I definitely hope we can offer people a lot of fun and enjoyment. Boy Blue is a band where you can have your laughs, be with friends, and let go of the hard parts of life for a bit. Our music is real and touches on the dark emotions for sure, but overall we hope to be a positive group. We do our fundraisers and things like that, and I certainly hope that those will expand as the band moves on.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Chris: I’d have to say our producer, John Ferrara has been the biggest influence. He’s gotten our heads out of the clouds and set a great example for us on what it means to work hard as a band. I remember first meeting him and being skeptical of his advice. I had my guard up, but had we taken my thought process at the time and ran with that, we wouldn’t be where we are right now. It wasn’t long before I knew we could trust the dude, because his word yields results. When it comes to recording he gets the best performances out of everyone. A day of cutting vocals in the studio is always a blast and John really helped me push the envelope this time. There’s been a huge difference in the integrity and quality of our music since he’s been producing us. He doesn’t just mindlessly work for you, but he makes a point of connecting with the band that he’s working with so that you actually learn how to be better at what you do. Once it’s recorded, he hits the mixing board and we anxiously await the results. It’s a blast every time.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. After that who cares? He’s a mile away and you’ve got his shoes!” Billy Connolly
Chris: It’s just funny.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. :-)
Chris: I would kill to chill with Gary Vaynrchuk. The dude saved our band and doesn’t even know it. He got us into gear. I had no idea how to work social media in the beginning. I also didn’t have the confidence back then. Not only is he smart as hell, but he’s a real dude from NJ. I’m proud to be from where he is from.
Cafaro: People get mad at how often I bring up Gary Vee, the dude is just always right about everything.
How can our readers follow you online?
You can follow us on Facebook or Instagram by searching BoyBlueNJ. If you google that you’ll also find our Youtube channel where we stay super active. You can stream our new track, Ghost of Saturday Night anywhere you listen to music.
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!