There are few artists in the music industry that can hold the title “independent” with as much depth as Brad Skistimas of Five Times August. The 26 year old singer/songwriter has passed up opportunities with major labels to go at his career alone. Based out of the small town of Waxahachie, TX, the indie Southerner has garnered enough success in his own stride to ignore the pipe dreams of glitz and glamour so many bands tend to get caught up in. He is a true patriot to the “Do It Yourself” work ethic. His only aid is manager and wife, Kelly, making the two a legit “mom and pop store” in the midst of a large corporate industry. With the release of Five Times August’s latest album “Life As A Song,” the dynamic duo plan to push boundaries and set the standard for what being a truly “indie” is all about.
In November 2004 Five Times August’s song “Better With You” was featured in MTV’s hit show Laguna Beach. The series’ music supervisor had found the song at random via online web portal CDBaby.com. By the end of the year that exposure had snowballed into an underground following for the one-man band, catapulting Myspace listens and iTunes sales. By Spring ’06 Five Times August was a national touring artist, performing solo acoustic shows across the country (to date FTA has performed in 43 of the 50 states). More song placements soon followed, with features on networks ranging from The CW and MTV to ABC, FOX and Lifetime, among many others. In 2007 Five Times August became the first unsigned act in history to accomplish national distribution through Wal-Mart stores.
It doesn’t stop there. Most recently you may have heard Five Times August in a national GMC commercial promoting their big summer savings event. Also, if you own any of HBO’s 2009 DVD releases, you’ll most likely be hearing the song “Do It Again” in a quick ad before the menu pops up.
“Life As A Song” is a twelve-track collection of Five Times August’s most popular songs in recent years. Based on fan favorites and the most licensed songs, Skistimas went back into the studio with Grammy Award winner Andy Zulla (Kelly Clarkson, Jessica Simpson, Rod Stewart) to polish and shine each song for more commercial success, re-recording many of the tune’s instrumentation and vocals from the ground up. “It’s an album of growth and change,” Skistimas says about the quazi “best of” album. “At the start of the album you’ll find me where I was as a songwriter, more innocent and raw. By the end you’ll see I’m not the same songwriter anymore, there’s a deeper outlook on life in the newer songs.”
The album includes new mainstream versions of underground college cult-hits like “Up To Me” and “Better With You” (the latter has sold 58,000 digital singles to date). Alongside those fan favorites, the album also includes a few new songs, one being the stand out piano ballad “Break,” which shadows influence from Nilsson’s classic hit “Without You.” Brad explains “the beauty of this album is that even though a lot of my fans may know the songs already, it’s going to be a brand new listening experience for them. They are going to hear these songs as if for the first time.” Skistimas’ mind rests knowing songs like “Wherever” and “The Lighting” finally sound like he had always envisioned.
Brad is furthering the expansion of Five Times August with a new concrete touring band. After spending the last three years touring solo, Skistimas is changing gears on the road, transitioning his intimate set list into a full on concert experience. Five Times August will be on several national tours surrounding the release of “Life As A Song,” in stores October 13th, 2009.