Leo's Infinite Playlist #3


1. "New Friend" by Ry-Lo

This is actually a song I just found through Spotify's Discover Weekly playlist. There's just something about this song that makes me filled with hope and joy. It sounds so big, and it gives me feelings of sitting in my basement and making music with friends. I listened to the other singles Ry-Lo has on Spotify too, and I can't wait to hear more. Until then, here's "New Friend".

2. "Greed" by The True Blue

My friends Chris, Ben, Jacob, and Koda are some of the most talented, hardworking, and creative people I know. These guys have been playing music for a while in various bands, but it wasn't until earlier this year where they found their sweet spot with The True Blue. This band is a powerhouse on the verge of making real waves, and I respect these guys so much at every level. The True Blue sound is a dark urban pop with textured layers, and showcases Chris's most vulnerable yet concise songwriting to date. I'm spoiled to have already heard this and a handful of unreleased songs from them, and I can't wait to watch this band grow even more. Here's their newest single "Greed".

3. "Dead Friends" by Shapes & Colors

I've known Travis from Shapes & Colors since I started Rival Summers back in 2008. He was the lead singer of a band called Aria Aesthetic, which eventually transitioned into Shapes & Colors with the addition of Mike Morris, Kyle Labuta, Bob Allers, and Scott Solomon. I met up with Travis outside of Somerset Mall to pick up some tickets for a show, and he was one of the first people who heard some of the final mixes of "Undeniable". He then showed me this song, and since has become one of my favorites of theirs. Everybody grows up thinking they'll be friends with their friends forever, but sometimes life brings you to different places than you had anticipated. To me, it's what you decide to do from there that defines who you are and your character and trajectory. Without further ado, here's "Dead Friends".

4. "From The Cold" by Cody Fry

Last year, I went to St Andrew's Hall in Detroit to see one of my favorite artists Ben Rector. Originally, the band Judah & The Lion were set to open, but they weren't able to make it. So Ben's backing guitarist and singer Cody Fry opened the show and totally blew everyone away. Apparently, he was also on American Idol at one point, which doesn't surprise me. As a songwriter and composer, this song makes me drool from its simplicity and musicianship. I was bummed to miss Judah & The Lion, but I'm so glad I found a new favorite in Cody Fry. Check out this one called "From The Cold".

5. "Born" by OneRepublic

I've been leaning more towards indie bands on this playlist, but OneRepublic is one of my all time favorites with Ryan Tedder being one of my biggest inspirations in music. He said they traveled and recorded this album all over the world wanting to create music that captured humanity. I think it's an artist's responsibility to share their perspective and distill their lives through the lens of creativity to open the eyes of their audiences to a new understanding of what the world could be like if you lean into empathy. I've really loved following this band and taking inspiration from what they set out to do. Here's my current favorite from their new album Oh My My called "Born".

6. "Wait For Me" by Rival Summers

I had a conversation with my friend Tyler about the hopes and dreams he had for his relationship with Simone, his now-fiancee. They have been dating long distance for a number of years, but they're the most committed couple I've ever seen. They're a true testament to holding steady to their heart's desire, and having faith in what's ahead regardless of the obstacles. I left that conversation feeling so encouraged, as I always do after talking with Tyler. I knew I had to write a song about them, and it turned out to be one of my all time favorites I've ever written. Here's Wait For Me.

I'm really trying to challenge myself to listen to more music of all different kinds, so if you guys have any favorites you'd like me to check out, leave a comment below or send me a tweet at @RivalSummers with the hashtag #LeosInfinitePlaylist and I'll make sure to check it out!

Leo's Infinite Playlist #2

Hey friends,

We're back at it again with my weekly Spotify playlist of some of my favorite songs and stories behind them. I called named this after one of my favorite movies "Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist". I loved how they intertwined music and story, and so that's what I'm hoping to do through this series. Every song has a life of it's own, and I'm excited to share what makes this week's playlist special to me. I hope you enjoy!

1. "All About It" by Rival Summers

This one's one of my songs, and is the second track on my most recent album "Undeniable". I'm getting married next year, and this song is about my fiancee Brittney! Our relationship is really something special, and I wanted to capture the joy and confidence I feel with her in this song. I talked in last week's blog about how there were some songs I really found freedom in writing, and once I started writing this one, I knew I could explore other territories in music I've never touched before. I'm really excited for the future, and for what's next for Rival Summers. Blast this in your cars, friends. This one's a jam. Here's All About It.

2. "Small Victories" by Flint Eastwood

I'm really proud to say I had a part in writing on this one, but all credit goes to my dear friend and mentor Jax Anderson who fronts the Detroit-based powerhouse that is Flint Eastwood. Getting to sit in on the process of creating her EP called "Small Victories" was life changing for me, and I'm so grateful for her friendship. I spent much of 2015 as a part of her band and tour managing, and those were some of my favorite times and one of my greatest seasons of growth in my life. I owe much to Jax, Flint Eastwood, and the entire crew behind Assemble Sound in Detroit. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did being a part of it. Here's Small Victories.

3. "Say No More" by Fickle Friends

I was in San Diego recording Undeniable with my producer Jesse Barrera, and we were talking about music videos. He pulled out his phone and showed me this band he described as "The 1975 with a girl lead singer" and I was hooked on this song for weeks and weeks afterwards. I'm a sucker for anything that sounds youthful and bright, and the combination of '80s synths and syncopated guitars always gets me gushing. Put your headphones in, and bop around in your socks to this track. Here's Say No More.

4. "Hit The Bottom" by Sherwood

I found out about Sherwood in high school on MySpace. Their sound is so nostalgic, think The Beach Boys playing pop rock. They put out an album in 2009 called "QU" and it is still one of my go-to favorite albums to listen to all the way through. There's something special about a band or an artist that creates music that brings you to a different place than where you are. They always transported some place warm and bright. If you're looking for some new albums to dig into, they just released a new album called "Some Things Never Leave You", and it's definitely worth investing some time into. But here's one of my favorites from "QU" called Hit The Bottom.

5. "Waiting For My Time To Come" by Colony House

If you haven't heard of Colony House yet, take a few moments to check out this song and then the rest of their discography. Since finding out about them, they've quickly become one of my all time favorite bands and people I look up to in this industry using their gifts as a platform for hope. Their music is so authentic to who they are, and I appreciate that they're able to convey such thoughtful themes while creating catchy, timeless melodies. If there's one band to watch in 2017, it's them. This song is my current favorite from them, but they're releasing a new record next year so I can't wait to dig into that when it comes out. Here's Waiting For My Time To Come.

6. "Like The World Is Gonna End" by Ben Rector

This is my alarm when I wake up every morning. I chose this song as my alarm to be my first thought of the day. To be kinder, to be gracious, to have an open heart to the people around me. As we move forward from this election season, I hope to always be a voice of positivity and hope. I firmly believe that choosing to love more outwardly and being intentional about that every day will be what changes the landscape of our communities, which will in turn, change the world. We lead by example the kind of society we wish to see. Also, Ben Rector is one of my favorite artists and people. His music is always so thoughtful, and I strive to be the same kind of voice as his. Here's Like The World Is Gonna End.

This is so much fun, and I'm really enjoying sharing more of my life through the songs I share through this playlist. Thanks for swinging by, and stay tuned for more next week!

Leo's Infinite Playlist #1

Back in 2011, I hosted a weekly college radio show called "Leo's Infinite Playlist" where I would compile a list of my favorite songs, share them on the air, and talk about what I loved about them. As a songwriter myself, it's really interesting to me learning more about people through their art.

Starting today, I am resurrecting my radio show in the form of a Spotify playlist where I will be compiling six songs a week. Some will be from friends of mine, others will be songs I found and am excited about, and I'll throw some of mine into the mix too and talk about what I love about them.

I'm always looking for cool music to listen to and be inspired by, so I would love for you to follow the playlist on Spotify and send me some suggestions of what I should be listening to on Twitter.

So without further ado... Here's the first installment of Leo's Infinite Playlist on Spotify!

1. "Nineties" by Michigander

Kicking off with one of my best friends Jason Singer, also known as Michigander. I met Jason while playing in churches, and he's been a dear friend and constant source of encouragement ever since. He's one of the most talented songwriters I know, while also being one of the most driven and hardworking people I know; both being a winning recipe for success, which I'm so proud to be a witness of. This song was recorded in my studio space, and also features yours truly on some pretty layered vocals in the second verse. Currently, it's within the first half of the Top 50 Viral Songs in the United States on Spotify, so let's get him some more plays. Here's "Nineties".

2. "Sparks" by Fleurie

Fleurie is the pop project of a friend of mine, Lauren Straham. I found her music on MySpace years ago and was so amazed by the sounds she created with just her voice and a piano. She's originally from Michigan, but relocated to Nashville where she's been killing it creating music for television and film, while also making music for herself. Like Jason, she's a big inspiration and role model to me, and it's an honor to be able to call her a friend. Dance along with me to "Sparks".

3. "Think About You" by LEON

LEON is an artist I just found out about, but I'm already hooked. Such a strong, soulful, and textured voice mixed in with simple and organic production, this song is so well written and executed. It's a dream listening and digging at all the layers present in this recording, and it has that blend of modern composition while throwing it back to the old Motown feels. Full transparent, I wanna write a song that feels like this. Here's "Think About You".

4. "Eyes Wide" by Handsome Ghost

I caught Handsome Ghost's set at SXSW in 2015, and they really stuck out to me. Their set was dreamy, and by the end of it, I was really glad I stumbled into that tent. Maya Angelou said "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." I honestly didn't remember much from their set except about how good it made me feel, so I made sure to look them up. Here's one of their newest singles "Eyes Wide".

5. "Without You" by Oh Wonder

Oh Wonder is a band I've really been into as of lately, comprised of the duo Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West. I really loved Anthony's old band Futures so when I saw he was making music again, I was really excited. Their songs are simple, but moving and the way they approach their art is really motivating. The music video for this song "Without You" is so beautiful, and all the other music videos they have also touch on social issues and pose questions that make you think on a deeper level. I could gush on and on about this band, so take a listen!

6. "Stay" by Rival Summers

This is the first single off of my newest album "Undeniable", and it was the first written for the record. This song went through many transformations before landing on what I believe to be one of the coolest songs I've ever been a part of. It was also a song that gave me freedom to explore a different kind of sound than what I had been used to until that point. I'm really proud of the record as a whole, and I'm excited to share more from it in the coming weeks!

Hope you enjoyed these songs as much as I do! I'm excited to share more of my favorite songs with you. Thanks for checking this out, and make sure to tune back in next week!

Fall Living Room Tour

Music has always been a communal thing for me. From the beginning of the songwriting process, I think about how these songs could connect with people on an intimate, personal level.

This Fall, I'm bringing my songs to homes across the midwest to share a night with my friends dedicated to relating stories and building friendships.

This is something I've always wanted to do, and hope to do more of in the future. Can't wait to hang out with everyone soon.

If you're interested in more information about hosting, please email me at info@rivalsummers.com with the subject line "Living Room Tour" + City.

Fresh Start

Hey friends,

It's been a little while since we've been able to update you, and we've definitely got a lot to catch up on.

In the last couple of weeks, Sam's been pursuing a huge opportunity that's been placed in his lap. It's been really exciting to see things unfold with that, but he's had to make the tough decision to step down from the band to put things in order. We've really accomplished incredible things together, and while he's stepping down, we're both excited for what lies ahead and collaborating together in new ways.

With that said, I'll be taking the reigns with Rival Summers moving forward like I did in the beginning. This band has seen so many forms, and it has constantly inspired me to see how each season has brought new life and new growth. I really believe I'm in the greatest chapter of my life, and I'm so excited to continue to share this with this community. This family we've built together over the past eight years. Rival Summers has always been about sharing life and growing in community, so I can't wait to witness the incredible things we'll do together from here.

The first show I ever played under the name Rival Summers was at a place called AJ's Cafe in Downtown Ferndale. It's only fitting that we come back to where it all started in this season. We're going to be playing at The Loving Touch in Ferndale on July 29 with our friends Ellis, The True Blue, and Shiny Penny.

The future is bright, and I'm so proud to be standing where I am. So here's to what's ahead and where we're going together.

– Leo

There is so much more coming soon, so make sure to stay connected with me.
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