Listen to the new song from Troy Harley – End of Summer
Tell us about where you are from and how you got to this position today.
I’m from Russia and several years ago I was on “Fabrika Zvezd,” or “Star Academy.” It’s a music competition like American Idol or X-Factor. I was 21 and got the chance to sing with some of the all-time greats. The Scorpions, Gorky Park. Gotthard. After that I joined the band, “Chelsea.” We won 3 Golden Gramophones, like Grammys, but the Russian music scene is really about pop music and I love rock-n-roll. So I signed with JK Music Group and moved to Los Angeles where I got the chance to audition for Randy Jackson. We recorded “End of Summer” together – and here I am. Just off the Van’s Warped Tour and thankful to be playing the music I’m passionate about.
What do you have coming up? What are some of the new projects we can expect to see?
Well, we’re getting ready to shoot our second music video, but the big news is that we’ll be touring with Nickelback at the end of October. It’s a great opportunity to play with such renowned musicians, but also I get the chance to see my home again — Russia. October 25th we’re in Moscow. The 28th in St. Petersberg. And the 31st in Minsk. I’m so excited to see my Russian fans again, it’s been over a year since I left. After that, we’re hitting a few venues around Los Angeles, hoping to build some momentum locally.
Tell us more about the current song you are promoting to everyone.
Our second single is called “Someone Like Me.” We’re getting ready to shoot the video at the end of September. It’ a great tune. Very melodic-rock. It’s about love. A bit about lust. It’s about longing for someone so much that it hurts. Getting knocked down, but having the wherewithal to get back up and keep going, keep loving. I think it’s something everyone will be able to identify with.
How does your music separate yourself from other artists and bands out there?
In terms of style, I think we’re still looking for ours. One of our strengths is variety: a little classic rock, a little melodic rock, some heavier, harder songs. But whatever and whenever I’m singing, I just want to leave a piece of me behind on stage. I feel like a lot of today’s music sounds mass produced. It gets clumped into “rock,” “Pop,” “Rap,” I just want to be genuine. I think music is meant to connect people. My idol, guys like Stephen Tyler, Bon Jovi, you listen to their music and it becomes part of you almost. That’s what I strive for and that’s what’s going to separate me as a musician.
Tell us about one of the hardest challenges you had to face in the industry?
Getting radio play in Russia. Like I said, their music industry predominately revolves around pop music, so if you’re into rock, you’re going to have a hard time finding a radio station willing to play your stuff. That’s why I moved to America. Here, there’s a chance for people to hear your music.
What was one of the biggest set backs in your career and how did you bounce back?
In Russia, after my appearance on Star Factory, I got trapped in a sticky contract with a manager. He told me, “be in this pop band, you’ll make lots of money,” but I said, “I want to play rock-n-roll.” Didn’t matter. I had a contract. So I played out the duration of that contract and as soon as it was up, signed with JK Music Group. I’m thankful for my time with Chelsea, don’t get me wrong. But it wasn’t where I wanted or needed to be. JK gave me the opportunity I’d wanted all along.
What are some things artists need to be careful of?
Overnight success. I think every musician needs to put his or her time in. And by that I mean the grueling tours. The shows where nobody actually shows. In the face of failure, you keep working for your dream because music is all you know and love and after all of that you’ve earned success. The problem with overnight success is that you never really gain an appreciation for it. Sure, you might be impressed with the press and pampering, but if you’re not prepared to struggle and work hard, you’re not going to be successful for long. It’s a competitive industry. Stars only stay on top for as long as they’re willing to work for it.
What suggestions do you have for other artists like yourself?
You have to be prepared to be lonely. Even when you’re on tour with the band or playing in front of a packed house, you get lonely from time to time. It’s inevitable. As a musician, you might be on the road for months. Away from familiarity: friends, family, loved ones. Some guys try to fight loneliness with booze, or drugs, or sex. But it’s not about this. Loneliness comes with the territory. It’s a job hazard. You just have to accept that and keep going, keep playing. You’re a musician. You’re not allowed to have a “normal” life. That’s a sacrifice I made a long time ago. I decided I wanted to dedicate my life to my music and my fans. And I’m a very happy man for it, despite those lonely moments. And besides, who wants “normal?”
What is one of your favorite ways to promote yourself and your music?
Playing spontaneously! Being out with friends at a restaurant, seeing a guy playing piano and an open microphone, and just singing. I love being spontaneous, in all walks of life. When people see that, I think it makes them see you as a real person. Not just someone on a poster, or CD cover. That’s how you gain real fans. Fans who are going to follow your whole career. Interact with you on social media. They’re my favorite.