Joe Firstman bought an $18 cross-country Greyhound ticket from his home in North Carolina to Los Angeles, arriving with a beat-up guitar and head full of songs. He quickly found the big stage. It all happened quickly: first came the Hollywood gigs, then the industry buzz, then the deal with Atlantic Records and national tours withrock stars like Sheryl Crow, Jewel, and Willie Nelson. There was ego and excess and beautiful ladies and music, music, music. Firstman wrote it all down and sang his songs like his life depended on it.
When the world stopped spinning, he’d landed a regular gig as the bandleader on Last Call with Carson Daly. For four years, this was his university—playing and writing songs in whatever style the show’s musical guests played and learning how to engage a studio audience, day in and day out. That gig ended in early 2009.
Upon anchoring in L.A., Josh Hoge quickly became friends with hit-maker and future super-star Ne-Yo. Together, the pair began to work on a series of songs. A strained personal relationship brought Josh back to Nashville where he eventually signed to Epic Records. His debut single, "360," soon followed.
Marianne Keith wears her heart on her sleeve, penning songs that seek to capture the essence of falling into—and losing—love. Growing up singing in church choirs and playing in the school band, Keith started to play professionally around her hometown of Redlands, CA, where she garnered a local following as well as critical accolades.