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Meet Pop/Rock Band, THE F1RST ANNUAL

Image of THE F1RST ANNUAL taken by Dillon Jordan Photography.

I’m pretty sure my ten-year-old emo self would be melting right now. Did anyone else scream lyrics at the top of their lungs and had absolutely no idea what you were singing about? No? Just me? This band basically brings back all of those feels for me.

Introducing THE F1RST ANNUAL.

THE F1RST ANNUAL is a pop/rock band based out of Nashville, Tennessee. The band consists of four members: Strkyer, Zach, David, and Jonesy. All four met in college and after graduation, THE F1RST ANNUAL was formed. They combine influences from 80s rock and modern day pop music.

They released their debut single ‘Used To’ in September of 2020. As one can expect where this is going, 2020 rocked the whole world as it was a difficult time for everybody. The music industry was hit hard, especially for independent artists. Live shows, festivals, concerts, anything pertaining to the live aspect of the industry were being canceled all over the world. An important thing to note is that touring, and everything included in it such as merchandise, floor seats, or backstage passes generate revenue for this industry which brings big money into the industry.

During the pandemic, THE F1RST ANNUAL took their down time to record their first EP which will be released in the summer of 2021, so be on the look out!

They recently released a single, “A.M.”, on the 21st of May, (will make you very emo so be prepared) and are going to be releasing more songs which will eventually tie into their first EP.


I had the honor of interviewing the band talking about how they got started in music and their life in Music City, each of them putting their own twist to their answers. Check it out below!

Stryker:

What got you started in music?

When I was really young, my grandparents got me hooked on Elvis and The Beach Boys. As a kid, I wanted to be like Elvis more than anything! Then when I was a bit older, Disney’s Goofy Movie came out. There’s a character that performs in it called Powerline, and in the movie he flies out over the crowd while he’s singing and does all these cool moves. I thought it was awesome. Then when I was in middle school the Jonas Brothers got big. I saw how cool they looked, how all these girls loved them, and I thought they sounded so cool. I started singing and practicing their songs in secret cause I thought my friends would think it was lame. From there, I decided to join choir, so I did that in middle school and high school. It wasn’t until my freshman year of college that I wrote my first song, and bought a guitar from my little brother for $20. From there the rest just snowballed.

Who would you like to collaborate with?

Being firstly a singer at heart, I would love to collaborate with any of my favorite vocalists: Adam Lambert, Miley Cyrus, Bruno Mars. As a songwriter, it would be incredible to collaborate with Julia Michaels, Jason Isbell, Tyler Childers, Ed Sheeran, or Eminem.

What or who inspires you?

I get inspired by stories, whether it be something a friend told me, a movie, some imaginary scenario I created in my head, anything. I used to write a lot based on other peoples experiences, or scenes I can see in my head. Here lately, I’ve been going through a lot, however, so most of the new songs are based off of the emotions I’ve experienced going through my own battles and hardships.

What has been the most challenging thing you’ve face in the industry?

I’ve found the most challenging thing for me is picking a direction to go. Where I write songs for not only myself but also other artists, I find myself going back and forth on whether I should focus more on writing or more on my artistry.

What’s your favorite thing about being in Nashville and the music that surrounds the city?

Coming into Nashville, I always heard how cutthroat the music industry is, and how people will try to screw you over. I have not experienced that in the slightest. I know it happens, but everyone I have met on my journey have been nothing but encouraging and helpful. It’s a beautiful community.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how excited are you for live music, concerts, shows, etc to be coming back?

9.8. The 0.2 thats not there is just do to the stress of the logistics of it all lol. But I love it, and its still crazy to me that some people will pay to watch me do my favorite thing in the world.

What’s next for you?

We’re going to be releasing a single every month all summer, and hopefully hit the road this fall! Hopefully by next year we will be hopping on a tour as an opener, until we can headline our own!

Zach:

What got you started in music?

I’ve always loved music. My grandpa who was a high school band director got me started on snare drum when I was 8. I played saxophone and clarinet through middle and part of high school. When I was 12 I found a video of Green Day doing Holiday live and I was enamored with the energy and music. I watched a cover of that song on guitar and memorized the main riff. I didn’t have a guitar so I would have to go to my friends house who had a guitar to play it. I got my first guitar shorty thereafter.

Who would you like to collaborate with?

I would absolutely love to collaborate with John Mayer, Charlie Puth, Miley Cyrus, or Surgill Simpson. I know that’s all over the place but I look up to each of these artists so much.

What or who inspires you?

The 80s as a whole inspire me. The music, film, sports, and fashion has always drawn me in. Film in general inspires me and when I’m not playing or writing I’m probably watching a movie. Especially westerns or crime/mob movies. My musical inspirations include Jim Croce, John Mayer, Prince, The Cars, and list goes on

What has been the most challenging thing you’ve face in the industry?

The most challenging thing about the industry has been where to start. Whether it’s writing, practicing, recording/engineering, there’s often so much information and ways to go about things that it feels overwhelming at times. Getting myself out there has been tough for me at times, but being in this band and getting to know these guys has really gotten me out of my shell.

What’s your favorite thing about being in Nashville and the music that surrounds the city?

My favorite thing about Nashville has to be the talent that lives in this city. It is so inspiring and forces you to better yourself. I could go down to Broadway right now and see 10 different bands with guitarists that are way better than me. It’s awesome to hear all these amazing players and singers all packed into one city. Music isn’t a competition, but it’s good for the soul to be reminded that you need to practice and produce at the level Nashville is known for.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how excited are you for live music, concerts, shows, etc to be coming back?

11. I’ve missed playing so bad. And as a fan of music I’ve missed going to shows. I hope to be attending many shows this fall. Another reason I love shows is that I find inspiration from them. I saw Dead and Co. in 2017 and stayed up till 3 AM practicing after I got home.

What’s next for you?

I’m not really sure what’s next for me. I’m gonna keep working hard with the guys in the band and we’re gonna keep rolling out songs. I’m gonna keep doin my thing, they’re gonna do theirs, and we shall see where the universe takes us. God bless!

David:

What got you started in music?

My dad used to play drums, and the friends I was growing up around were into music so I decided to pick up an instrument.

Who would you like to collaborate with?

Literally anyone really who has artistic vision and passion, there’s so many amazing people that we could collaborate with.

I’m just inspired by a lot of post rock/post hard-core music. As well of some of my friends in hip-hop genre.

As far as band I’m inspired by “The 1975”, “Casey”, “Bring Me The Horizon”, and “Lincoln Park”.

What has been the most challenging thing you’ve face in the industry?

I think “doubt” is probably the most difficult thing I faced….There’s always people trying to tell you what you’re doing right, and what you’re doing wrong. Sorting that out, and trying to find your own way is always a struggle.

What’s your favorite thing about being in Nashville and the music that surrounds the city?

I really love the music community out here, and the people of Nashville are always outstanding. Also, the amazing sports teams! Go Nashville SC!

On a scale of 1 to 10, how excited are you for live music, concerts, shows, etc to be coming back?

10 times a 1000!

What’s next for you?

Personally and as a band, I think we’re all just looking forward to the next opportunities that come our way… writing and recording new music, and seeing what the world throws at us.

Jonesy:

What got you started in music?

My friends got me started playing music! I always loved listening to music, but my two childhood best friends pushed me to pick up guitar and bass, and the rest is history.

Who would you like to collaborate with?

I would be really interested in collaborating with a composer, maybe revisit some of our old tunes and do string arrangements or something like that.

I have several musical heroes, among them Victor Wooten, Disasterpeace and JPEGMAFIA. They each approach music from a truly personal, authentic place, and that is something I strive to emulate in my own approach.

What has been the most challenging thing you’ve face in the industry?

Honestly I think the hardest thing I’ve faced in the industry is getting anybody to care about the bands/projects you’re involved in during the early stages. There’s such an abundance of artists and musicians that until you cultivate a following, you’re kind of just more white noise.

What’s your favorite thing about being in Nashville and the music that surrounds the city?

For me, Nashville’s vice is also its virtue. What I said before about Nashville having an abundance of musicians, means that there’s room for a wealth of genres to thrive. I love that on any night of the week you could find a country show, a pop show, a funk show, and a punk show.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how excited are you for live music, concerts, shows, etc to be coming back?

I’d say I’m a big phat ELEVEN! Live shows are my favorite aspect of music, and I can’t wait to get more gigs lined up.

What’s next for you?

Next up for me is writing some more tunes with these guys, seeing my family at least once this summer, and hitting the shed!

Image of THE F1RST ANNUAL taken by Dillon Jordan Photography.

I’ll link their streaming sites and socials below so you all can check it out! Stay tuned for new music coming from THE F1RST ANNUAL. In the meantime, go stream, “A.M.”!

Spotify. Instagram. Facebook.

By The A&R Guru

Kristi, founder and creator of The A&R Guru, graduated from Belmont University in April of 2021. She earned her BBA in Music Business and minor in Production. She is passionate about the music industry, and the up-and-coming artists all over the world. One of the most important things she wants her audience to know is that talent is everywhere, and as a music industry professional, she is determined to find it.

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