The Strange Familiar
Fresh off the release of their full-length album, Chasing Shadows, Akron natives The Strange Familiar plan to kick start their latest tour this weekend at Canton’s The Auricle on Saturday, June 23.
Formed in 2006, The Strange Familiar initially began as a husband and wife duo, featuring singer Kira Leyden and Jeff Andrea, but the couple would later meet up with bassist Frank Freeman and drummer Nicholas down the road.
“For Jeff and I, it was really refreshing to experiment with different sounds. There were no rules.” Layden told akronlife. “After writing and recording tons of demos in our basement, we decided to head to LA where we met up with our good friend and producer, Brian Malouf (Everclear, Dave Matthews, Lisa Loeb), who really helped us hone in our sound and put us on a path that was more genuine to who we are.”
The band name came courtesy of a Cultural Anthropology course Layden had taken in college in which there was a reading that stated, ‘In order to study other cultures, you must render the strange familiar and the familiar strange.’
“For me writing music is all about being able to take a step back and look at situations through other people’s eyes,” she said. “This strengthens my own convictions and beliefs and can help me reach people on a deeper level.”
The band first drew acclaim, when their single “Courage Is” made its way to television executives at ABC Family.
“A producer was searching for a song to help launch their new show, Secret Life of the American Teenager, and he championed our song,” she said. “After going through several people in the chain of command for approval, it finally came down to the bigwig at the network, and he loved it.”
ABC Family would go on to use three more songs from the band while other networks like NBC and CW would follow suit, playing tracks on shows like The Biggest Loser and The Vampire Diaries.
The Strange Familiar would gain even more success thanks to an appearance on America’s Got Talent, making it all the way to the Top 48.
“A friend told us we should audition because we were in LA at the time, and the auditions were right down the street. We looked at it as just a fun, sort of as a joke, spur-of-the-moment type deal,” Layden explained. “As we made it past each round, we felt more and more pressure to succeed. Let’s just say they really know how to pull the emotion out of contestants. But all in all, we are glad we did the show.”
Though they continue to grow and mature as artists, one thing remains the same – Layden admires her career most when what she does makes an impact in someone’s life.
“I love it when a fan writes to me to say that a song of ours changed their life, inspired them or helped them through a tough time,” she said. “When we can help people with our music, make them think and give them hope, that’s what it’s all about.”
The show gets underway at 9 p.m. with tickets available for only $10. The Auricle is located at 601 Cleveland Ave NW in Canton.