American Authors

Since releasing their debut album Oh, What a Life in 2014, New York-based pop-rock outfit American Authors have experienced milestones most bands only dream about. They’ve watched their music climb to the top of the charts, and seen singles go multi-platinum. They’ve played awards shows, hit the stages of legendary venues all over the world, and toured with One Republic. They’ve heard their anthemic hit single “Best Day of My Life” in movie trailers, on TV shows, and as a theme song for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Despite these accolades, however, lead singer Zac Barnett asserts that the best day of their lives is still yet to come. “We just want to keep going,” he says. “We can’t wait to continue this adventure.”

Adventure is an understatement. After meeting at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, Barnett and bandmates guitarist James Adam Shelley, bassist Dave Rublin and drummer Matt Sanchez began to develop an entirely unique, collaborative sound; one that radiates style, without sacrificing substance. This eclectic brand of energetic pop rock attracted iconic label Island Records, to which the band is now signed. “Signing with Island was so exciting,” remembers Barnett. “We literally signed the papers and then hit the road on our first legit tour.”

Regardless of time constraints, it’s clear that American Authors take their name seriously – their tracks are infused with tribal rhythms, country twang, Latin riffs and EDM-style drops, making their music as diverse as the city they live in. “New York opened us up to this whole new world and community of musicians,” says Barnett of the band’s adopted home. But worldliness doesn’t take away from the relatable nature of their authorship. They create fun and truthful pop rock, drawing on personal experience for inspiration. “Our songs are about daily life. We’re constantly learning and failing and succeeding and that’s what influences us more than anything.” They’re not afraid to take risks, a trait that’s only intensified since the release of Oh, What a Life. In fact, says Barnett, their new songs take elements from their beloved sound to the next level: “We’re pushing everything. Bigger harmonies, bigger melodies – it’s American Authors 2.0.”

This transition is exemplified in “What We Live For,” a song about moving forward and dreaming big. It’s fitting as the title track of the upcoming album – it’s hopeful and upbeat, utilizing road trip imagery the band has become so familiar with to call for artistic exploration. “The first album is all about reflection and the memories that led us to becoming American Authors,” says Barnett. “What We Live For is about the adventures we’re having and where we want to go.” “Right Here Right Now” echoes this sentiment, employing an infectious backbeat handclap, choral vocals and catchy lyrics that illustrate the carefree excitement of being in love. “We can have all these goals,” he notes of the song’s meaning, “but if you’re not doing the things you love with the people you love, they don’t matter.”

It’s entirely apparent that this statement represents the ethos behind American Authors. Their songwriting process is uniquely collaborative, with band members able and willing to play every instrument. Each song, including first single “Pride,” is the result of a dynamic mix of experimentation and experience. The track features tribal vocals, unique percussive sounds and banjo to underscore its emotional, but uplifting message. “We’re always open and excited to try new things and new sounds,” says Barnett. “That’s what sets us apart.”

Transparent lyricism and a sense of genuine enthusiasm have set American Authors even further apart, rendering them one of the most exciting bands of the last few years. They’re humble and earnest, eager to continue their adventure by writing, playing and traveling to new places. More than anything, though, the band is excited to continue connecting with fans. “Our music is our hearts and our souls and our entire lives,” says Barnett. “We hope that people can put their own stories into it and find a sense of unity with the music, but also with important moments in our lives. That’s what we really live for.”