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Don’t Think Twice
Fortunate Youth is a collaboration of South Bay reggae stand-outs. Rising from various bands, they’ve created a phenomenal 6-piece masterpiece bringing more fire to the stage than ever before. Combining rootsy vibes and unique bass lines united with multiple harmonies, boisterous guitar solos, and heavy keys separates Fortunate Youth from every other mainstream reggae band. With their high energy approach and positive stage presence they provide an unforgettable show to every music fan. Fortunate Youth’s objective is to ensure a performance that leaves you feeling euphoric and curious of what might happen at the next show.
In 2011 they supported Tribal Seeds on their nationwide Tribal Youth Tour to spread their conscious music to the nation. F.Y. linked up The Green, from Hawaii, for a Midwest/Westcoast run before jumping back in the studio to record. They have hit the masses promoting only their 6-song EP titled ‘Up-Lifted EP’ and just released their full-length album, “IRIE STATE OF MIND” on July 1, 2011. Fortunate Youth will also be touring very heavily through 2011 including a Naitonwide CD Release Summer Tour.
Upon Releasing their full-length album they quickly rose to #2 on the iTunes Reggae Charts and also locked in a #13 position on Billboard Top 100 Reggae Albums. Receiving great praise for early success Fortunate Youth strives to spread their interpretation of Reggae music to Music Lovers worldwide.
Fortunate Youth toured very heavily in 2012 supporting Headliners such as The Expendables and Tribal Seeds. FY also headlined their own Nationwide Summer of Sweet Love Tour proving they can pull their own weight. Making their first international departure, Fortunate Youth played 4 shows in Costa Rica spreading the love of reggae music internationally. 2013 release, ‘It’s All A Jam’, hit numerous charts including #1 on Billboard Reggae Charts, #10 Billboard Pacific Heatseekers Chart, #23 Billboard National Heatseeker Chart along with #1 on iTunes Reggae Charts and #46 iTunes Overall Charts. FY followed the album release with a 55-Show nationwide Spring Headline Tour seeing great response from the album’s successful release.
In 2014, Fortunate Youth hit the road for their Spring 2014 Headline Tour followed by their ‘Fall with Friends’ Tour which boasted a solid lineup of support bands including: New Kingston, The Expanders, The Steppas, Ease Up, Thrive, Ashes of Babylon, and more. They then followed up their spring tour
Fortunate Youth is gearing up to go on the road in 2016 with Stick Figure and Raging Fyah. Keep an eye out for a show in a city near you. As always, all tour dates can be seen at www.fortunatemusic.com.
Fortunate Youth band members include: Dan Kelly- Lead Vocals, Travi Bongo – Percussion, Jered – Keys/ Bass, Greg – Bass/Guitar, Corey – Guitar/Bass/Keys and Jordan- Drums.
Irie Magazine is proud to present this exclusive interview with our Cali bredren, Fortunate Youth!
IRIE. You guys were originally called Rudeboy Roots. What prompted the name change to Fortunate Youth and is there a meaning behind the name?
FY: Well the real story behind it all is that there were 2 bands with 2 brothers. The older brother Jered was in Rudeboy Roots with Travis and Dan, as younger brother Corey was in a band named Irie State of Mind with Greg and Gonzo. On June 1st 2009, at our now manager, Jared Segawa’s backyard birthday party, both bands came together to form one, and it has been Fortunate Youth ever since that day.
IRIE. Take us back to the beginning… how did you guys originally come together to form what is Fortunate Youth today?
FY: As mentioned, Fortunate Youth was formed out of the combination of the brothers bands, but to go back further. Dan moved all the way from Mississippi when he was still a teenager for hopes of pursuing his dreams. Fate had it be that one night when Travis was performing at an open mic night in Hermosa Beach CA, Dan also happened to be there. Travis & Jered played baseball together all through middle & high school.
From 2009 to 2011 we had gone through over 5 drummers for various reasons (kids, injuries, medical conditions) so right before we embarked on our first headlining national tour, Jordan, our now drummer, parted ways with his band HaleAmanO in Las Vegas. Almost at the same time, our drummer injured his shoulder a week before tour started and was unable to drum. So, Jordan drove to California to try out on a Friday, practice Monday and Tuesday, and start the tour on Wednesday & that was that. The band has stayed the same line-up ever since that first run across the country.
IRIE. Who are some of your early musical influences?
FY: Music is definitely one thing that we never let be limited by genre or popularity. We have a huge respect for musical history and what has been done to pave the way for artists like us today on our journey’s. Our influences range from Blues, Classic Rock, and Jazz all the way to Punk, Reggae, and Hip Hop.
With every style of music there can always be something that will be inspiring, from a musical lick to a strong message in the lyrics, thats what is so wonderful about music. You never know what to expect, so just sit back, put on a record, and enjoy the ride!
IRIE. You spend a majority of the calendar year touring on the road. Can you share with us the ups and down of such an ambitious schedule? We love it so don’t change!
FY: Well there are obviously positive and negative aspects of everyones life, and all you can do is just hope that the positivity outweighs the negativity. We get to travel this world and see all of its beautiful sights from oceans, to rivers, to springs, to mountains, and more. Also, we get to meet so many good hearted wonderful people who truly do humble and inspire us with stories of their lives and of who they are as people, And of course we get to follow our dreams by playing music every single night to people who actually are there to listen, it’s a magical thing.
IRIE. What is your most memorable story from touring on the road?
FY: One of the most memorable stories from any tour was when the band went down to Costa Rica for a tour with Thicker Than Thieves. One night after a show in Play Hermosa, a couple of the guys decided to swim out into the ocean so that they could take in the sun rising over the ocean. Well, let’s just say that the current was way strong and the boys almost didn’t make it back. One of those times when you are humbled by the power of the mother nature and the energy of the planet that we live on.
IRIE. This question is for Dan. There’s something special about your performances on stage from the different ways you hold the mic to the endless facial expression you make when delivering your vocals to the audience in your unique voice. We can feel EVERY word you sing. Can you share with us the inspiration behind the way you perform on stage?
FY: My stage performance is one man giving all he has; mind, body and soul. I always think I can feel the crowd in more ways than one, and that alone moves me to another place. When I was young I was told that life is a gift, so live in the present moment. That’s why I sing on stage everyday as if were my last, and am happy for every time that I can open my eyes on stage and just for a moment…..feel the energy all coming back.
IRIE. Cannabis always comes to play at your performances! Do you guys see yourself as a voice for the legalization of Marijuana?
FY: We are just supportive of any medicine that has the ability to help heal anybody in need. To relieve some of the pain that people have to deal with physically, and to just give the lives of so many families hope for a better tomorrow with an alternative substitute for some of these medicines that seem to fight and destroy the body rather than work with and heal. There is a song on our new album that is called ‘Pass The Herb’ and it talks about the legalization of marijuana in this country and world.
IRIE. In May 2015, you guys released ‘Don’t Think Twice’, which went directly to number one on the iTunes and Billboard Reggae Album charts. Big Up! When you are working on a new album or single, is it a collaborative process or do members of the band take on certain roles?
FY: Every album that we put out, and every song that we create is a collaborative process between all the members of the band. They each put their stamp on the track we are working on, making the finished product always a completely different version of the original idea that was brought to the table. Very thankful for so many creative minds with different ideas during the song writing process.
IRIE. Your album covers are always a visual, illustrated masterpiece, something Irie Magazine can easily connect with. Who does the artwork and how do you guys decide on the the designs for each album?
FY: We have been very lucky to have had so many talented artists help us create our album covers. Every album has actually had a different artist, and really, we just kind of give them an initial idea of what we might want and then just let them go to work and have their creative juices start flowing on the project. We would rather give the artist the freedom to create, rather than constantly be nit- picking on everything that they do, never really allowing them to just let the vision in their own head come to life.’
IRIE. We recently watched the sneak preview of your first music video, ‘Midnight Lover’. You chose claymation for the style of video which is a great idea. What was the inspiration for doing an animated video?
FY: We are very thankful to have gotten together with our good friend Johnny McHone who works on Robot Chicken for Adult Swim. The really idea behind it all was that we just wanted our first music video that we released as a band to be something different than what everyone else is doing. Our goal was to create something that even if you didn’t like the music, you would like the video. So if you like the music also, I guess its a win win situation.
IRIE. What do you hope people walk away with after experiencing one of your shows?
FY: 3 simple words, Peace, Love and Unity. We know how the day to day can make you forget about what life is really about, and all the good that is out there. We just want to help make peoples days better by one night of letting go and listening to music.
IRIE. Is there anything you would like to say or share with the Irie Magazine audience?
FY: We have the greatest fans that a band could ask for, so we just want to say Thank You to everyone that has ever been there. If you want to find out more info on Fortunate Youth, please visit www.FortunateMusic.com for Tour Dates, Free Music, and More!! PEACE, LOVE & UNITY.