The Fates

December 16, 2011

This article is from our December 2011 issue. The full issue is available for download.

The members of Boston band The Fates have learned that modern technology and social media can be used to achieve even the most unexpected of dreams.

Even in the current drastically transforming music business, almost every musician ultimately still dreams of one thing: making it big. However, it is the modern means by which some musicians come across fame that has drastically changed. “When I was younger I used to think that a musician got famous by touring the country, playing thousands of unpaid shows, and making the public fall in love with him and his music,” said Beau Cassidy, 20-year-old musician and son of The Partridge Family’s David Cassidy. “This is what my father had to do, and he taught me that this was how the music business worked.”

Despite what his father may have taught him, Cassidy’s experience in the music industry has been radically different. In 2009, Cassidy started a music group called The Fates, which was comprised of friends from both Boston University and Berklee College of Music. Cassidy, Josh Friedman, Jon Green, Tyler LeVander, and Dan Alport, began writing and performing original pop/rock music in venues around Boston and at private gigs. According to pianist Friedman, “the goal was to make this group our job and a reliable career for all of us, but we didn’t expect this to happen anytime soon, or even at all.”

Despite realistic expectations, the boys of The Fates were bombarded with unexpected attention. Over a two-year period, The Fates transformed from a concept to a recognizable name in the Boston music scene. “We didn’t expect to gain any type of immediate following,” said Green, guitarist for The Fates, “And to be perfectly honest, we actually struggled for quite some time just hanging in limbo, writing music in our dorm rooms, and playing a random gig once every five months.”
Ironically enough, fate had a different plan for The Fates. After recognizing and acknowledging that many of today’s most popular musicians have been able to get their start or make their big break through the use of social media tools on the Internet, the members of The Fates created a YouTube channel and began recording and filming covers of popular songs. “A friend of ours named Joe Bissell at Berklee College of Music, was able to gain a following through YouTube,” said LeVander, drummer for The Fates. “Joe recorded several hundred videos of himself covering artists like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Britney Spears. He has a tremendous voice, so we all knew he would be famous some day, and eventually after three years of posting videos and after gaining around 18,000 subscribers, Joe got a headlining gig on Friday nights singing cover songs and original music at Club Zhe in Boston. Joe also won celebrity blogger Perez Hilton’s cover contest—and when that happened, the boys and myself knew we had a great opportunity here to create a hyped Internet presence.

What was different for The Fates, LeVander explained, was that instead of hundreds of videos—they only needed one.

Having observed and analyzed the slow progress of their peers at Berklee, the members of The Fates decided that they would start out by posting high-quality video productions of themselves singing popular cover songs. The group began by recording a rock cover of young pop singer Demi Lovato’s popular song “Skyscraper,” and pairing the music with an in-studio video filmed by their friends who work for SEMIproductions. “After a week,” explained Cassidy, “we had 100,000 views on YouTube.”

After releasing their cover at the height of the original song’s popularity, the band’s recording garnered a level of attention that they never expected. “We had no idea how it happened,” said Cassidy, “but we weren’t about to question it or let the hype surrounding our YouTube video fade.”

A week after their first video was released, the band posted a follow up cover—a rock and roll cover of Katy Perry’s song “Last Friday Night” that got quickly over 60,000 views in less than a week. Soon after, the band’s Twitter account had over 10,000 followers and their Facebook page over 5,000 likes.
Now that they had the public’s attention, it was the opportune time to release some original music. The band recorded a music video for their original song “Photographs” and posted it on their YouTube page. With 20,000 views, the song was received very positively.

“We soon realized that the way we were coming about fame—how fast and unexpected it was—was really unusual,” said Green. “But instead of letting this get to us, we decided as a band to embrace it and exploit it to the best of our abilities.” After booking a

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gig in Michigan with the popular band HeyHiHello and meeting YouTube sensation and Internet star Meekakitty, the band decided to hire Tessa Violet (the face and personality behind the Meekakitty channel) to produce and record their next music video for their song “Miss America” in Los Angeles.

Given that Meekakitty has 824,000 subscribers on YouTube, and that her videos easily average at around 1,000,000 views each— it wasn’t long before her video of The Fates reached a similar popularity. Following the bands success with Meekakitty, the band teamed up with other YouTube celebrities to further their online fame, including user Nanelew and user Strawberry13, who both have around 500,000 subscribers each.

Since the development of their YouTube fame, The Fates teamed up with Cassidy’s father on a U.S./European tour playing in venues like MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas and the Hammersmith Apollo in London for tens of thousands of attendees. Following the tour, the band released their first EP Drama Dropout with a label in Boston.

“If I’ve learned anything from this experience,” said Cassidy, “It’s that embracing the new and unusual can be a very beneficial thing. I never expected to actually see my dream come true. I had hoped, but I never expected, and I certainly would never expect it to happen like this.” The members of The Fates represent the new celebrity—the naturally talented who make it big not through the assumed typical methods, but through the use and utilization of new technologies.

Check out the Fates on YouTube:

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