I 'Believe' in Travis Garland

This officially marks my 400th post on Melismatic, and I couldn't be more excited for who I'm going to spend it on. It means so much more when I'm writing about an artist I'm particularly rooting for, and Travis Garland is one of those artists.

You may remember Travis as the lead singer of boy band Not Like Them, aka NLT. The group released three singles together over the course of 2006-2008 ("That Girl", Timbaland-produced "She Said, I Said" and Ryan Tedder-penned "Karma", the latter of which being one of my favorite songs of 2008) but their album got lost in the Universal clusterflubclutter due to premature leaks and a myriad of other issues. 

NLT remains to be a ridiculous missed opportunity for Geffen Records -- and to think of their breakup even now still makes me a little bitter regarding all they could have accomplished together. All of Trav's former bandmates have gone on to other things as well: JJ Thorne is now 1/4 of "super"-boy band One Call, V Sevani went solo, and you can see Kevin McHale every Tuesday night on FOX as 'Artie' in the musical dramedy hit that is Glee. While I may be rooting for One Call (and not to mention NLT's friends in boy band VFactory), Travis remains to be the one I was keeping my eyes on in the post-NLT Apocalypse.

In the period of time since NLT has formally announced their break-up last year and now, I have been patiently (read: not so patiently) waiting on pins and needs for new material from Garland. What we have been hearing is mostly just leaks; the majority of which will never see the light of day on Garland's solo album, set to be released later this year on Interscope Records. In terms of what was confirmed, Garland "released" a re-written "cover" of T.I. and Justin Timberlake's "Dead and Gone" (listed as an Honorable Mention on my list of the Top Songs of 2009) on his MySpace late last year as a declaration of himself as a new solo artist, and earlier this year he released another re-write of Beyonce's "Sweet Dreams" (dubbed "Beautiful Nightmare").

Fast forward to last week, when Travis begins hyping up a huge announcement to soon hit the deck via his Twitter page. Then, the bomb dropped. The News: that Travis would be performing his debut solo single, "Believe", on American Idol this Wednesday (read: tomorrow). It's sort of like waiting for Christmas to come when you were little. You had a clear idea of what you'd be getting, but the anxiety of waiting was just about killing you. Then, your parents decide to flip the script and say you can open your presents on December 20th. I'm so blind-sided, I can barely type.

Much of this announcement was attributed to famed (or rather notorious) blogger Perez Hilton, who has apparently poured his support behind Garland in favor of pulling strings to gain him such wide exposure on the Idol platform. (Say what you want about Perez, but I gotta hand it to him with picking Travis.) To be honest, I don't believe NLT ever got the chance to perform on such a far-reaching television program during their tenure as a group. The mentality that this is Travis's first appearance, first performance as a solo artist, and it's on an Idol results show? It's kind of insane. Better catch the bandwagon now -- it'll be rolling at 120 MPH after tomorrow night. You'll find your girl sitting waaaay up front.

"Believe" officially hit iTunes today, and it was definitely worth the wait. Boasting production by Timbo's chief production protege Danja, its textbook pop that helps fill the void left without the Justin Timberlakes and Chris Browns of the world. It's not too artsy to be out of reach of the tween fandom that currently spend their school days twittering about Justin Bieber, but is refreshingly not too heavy on the Auto-Tune, proudly displaying how much of an incredible vocalist Garland truly is. It also features a variety of interesting worldy, hand-clappy drum beats that truly drive this little nugget of pop along. It's decidedly pop in sound, which is a bit of a shift from NLT's more urban-twinged r&pop. However, I really like that the song allows Travis to show off his vocal range, from his head voice during the verses to more of a falcetto in the chorus. In short -- it wasn't quite what I was expecting, but I find myself hitting repeat over and over and over again. And it only just came out today.

Now that the first single is available in a digital format, my appetite is only further whetted for the full record, which is said to contain production by the Darkchild, as well. Keep it locked to Melismatic for more updates regarding Travy. As a supporter of Trav (and the other members of NLT) since this blog first began in November of 2008 (and beyond -- I had a 'Heart Attack' the minute I heard 'That Girl' back in early 2007), I couldn't be prouder of all he's accomplishing in this Dog-Eat-Dog world that is the music industry.

Fingers crossed for a Travis Garland/Simon Curtis/Chris Richardson joint tour. Oh...I shouldn't even write that. I'll die from the anticipation!

"Believe" is available on iTunes now. Trust your $.99 will be very well spent.

6 comments

rcLoy said...

You make me want to check out the tune in his myspace page. Not too shabby :)

John said...

I haven't been able to hear anything more than 30 second or less snippets, so I'm not sure what to think of the track. Having said that, he's got one huge strike against him with the Perez backing. A lot of folks out here won't support product that Perez pushes, and I unfortunately am one of them. I wish the guy nothing but success, but sometimes you have to pick your partners carefully. Having said that, getting on Idol is probably as good a chance as he's gonna get to make it big.

Aaron said...

BRING IT ON! - Loving the sound of this, and DYING for a V-Factory album!

Mel said...

Loy - :) :) Glad you like! He's due big things!

John - Understandable, and valid point. Normally, I'd 100% agree with you. It's just I've been a Travis/NLT fan for so long, it's hard for me not to be so excited. It saddens me that people won't give Trav a chance given who he's got in his corner -- especially since he's been working for this for so long. I'm hoping the eventual album will speak for itself. To be honest, I had no idea he was so close to Perez until the announcement was made.

Aaron - Dit.To. to the enth degree!

Maija - Thanks so much! Glad more people are giving him a glance -- he's long overdue extreme exposure. But even I can't believe the coups he is getting! Incredible!

John said...

I promise I'm going to give the music a chance, as soon as I can hear the full-length track.

Mr. Will-W. said...

i love perez's blog but he's just not selling me as someone experienced or knowledgable enough to be running a label which ties in with what john's saying.

i wish them luck!

happy 400th, lady!! :')

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