ARTIST NAME: Kolby Knickerbocker
SONG TITLE: Alright with Me
ALBUM TITLE: Alright with Me
RELEASE DATE: 1/24/2020
GENRE: Indie-Folk; Neo-mellow
Living in a musical tapestry has taught this North American Singer-Songwriter one thing; the sounds and words that move emotions are what matter most.
The words that evoke, the sounds that paint a color, the songs that help bring human emotion to the surface; that is the gift of the songwriter.
As a self-taught musician, producer, audio engineer, and songwriter, Kolby’s seasoned experience in the musical universe helps him take his life experience and alchemize it into something musically extraordinary.
With folk-roots and worldly musical influences, the simple yet exotic arrangements of Kolby Knickerbocker have landed him spots in various TV and film placements across the globe and have met with critical praise. Most notably, his music has been featured in MTV’s Degrassi High, 90210, many independent films, and have been featured in Spotify’s “Top” editorial playlists, exposing millions of fans to his emotive vocals and powerful lyrics.
Kolby started his musical career early on, releasing his first album with Kitty’s Musicbox (2004) as a sophomore in college.
He has since released an additional full-length album Red Dust (2015) and two EPs, Rodello’s Machine and Animus (2012 and 2016), with Nate Donnis of Rodello’s Machine.
In 2019, he claimed his solo project to critical praise and fan approval.
Growing into life has taught Kolby that time, family, and love are what’s important.
His debut solo EP Kindness Courage (2019) met with critical acclaim and fan praise, landing him a variety of placements in film and TV and top spots on Spotify’s editorial playlists.
This EP wove between timeless messages of kindness and strength left for his unborn daughter (“Kindness Courage”) and his dedication to his wife and family (“Promise”). Both tracks set the foundation for a strong fan base and fuel for his future releases.
His next set of singles shift the focus on his now growing daughter (“Alright with Me”) and the world he wishes for her, along with the ways he can make the world a better place for this growing generation of young souls.
Tell us about your history.
I’ve had a knack for music since I can remember. I’ve always had a guitar in my room and messed around with music in some form another for about 25 years.
Though it took me a while to really gain my footing and figure out who I was as a songwriter and musician.
I first started off producing other acts and acting as an instrumentalist on other projects.
I was never confident in my own songwriting abilities or my voice, so I just produced and helped other musical acts. It took me years to get comfortable with how I sounded and what I was singing about.
In 2008, I started a project called Rodello’s Machine where I started co-writing a lot of songs and singing back-up on most of our songs, and lead on a few.
We played a lot of live shows and gave the full-time musician life a real go for about 7 years.
It was a great experience that taught me a lot about stage presence, songwriting, producing, and the life of a musician.
Since marrying my beautiful wife and having a daughter, my priorities have changed drastically.
My new life has given me so much material to write about, but I have the least amount of time to write about it! As a result, I tend to be super focused on my solo project on what works for my music and what I need to do to write and record and record with uber efficiency.
I’m happy to be releasing music as a solo act and it seems like my fans are too.
I’ve received a lot of critical praise from tastemakers and bloggers alike as well as new fans.
I think the authenticity of what I’m writing shines through and I’m happy that my music is finding a place with my audience.
Describe yourself as an artist.
I’m always trying to find the music and lyrics that move me. I write about what’s important to me and what moves me emotionally.
I tend to write songs that are mostly about relationships, love, etc. This isn’t an intentional move; it’s just those are the types of songs that feel authentic for me.
I would love to write a catchy dance tune like Ed Sheeran or Justin Timberlake, but for now, it seems like the sappy love ballads are what’s coming for me.
Tell us the genre of your music.
My songwriting and music fit in the Indie-Folk and Neo-mellow genres.
It’s acoustically driven but has a slower pace than most folk; that’s kind of where it fits into the Neo-mellow genre.
I love using strong percussion lines (stomps and snaps) as well as exploring new production techniques but as for genre, I’m an indie-folk guy.
Tell us the story behind your song.
I’m always trying to write songs that people can connect to and that are strong emotionally.
The story for this song came about after days of reading news about fires in the Amazon, stock market crashes, the immigration crisis within the US and I thought “Man, the world is just going to shit.”
I kept thinking about my daughter and wife in this time of turmoil and came to realize if anything happened to me, or our home, or the world around us, I would be alright if I had them at my side.
It was the realization that family is the most important aspect in life for me; that my family is my world.
As the song mentions, my material world could burn around me but if I had them with me, I would know everything would be okay.
Hence in the chorus, “I know, if it’s you and me, that’s alright with me.”
Tell us the problems you are facing as a musician.
I think I fit in the category of most musicians who have a normal 9-5 job, or side hustle so that I can write and record music.
Most musicians I know don’t survive exclusively on making/performing music, so I know this is common among independent musicians to hustle in order to make music.
I work in the day, take care of my family in the evening, and write/record at night if I’m not too tired.
Taking care of a family with a regular job, and writing/recording at night is both challenging physically and mentally.
I can easily burn out if I don’t take time out for myself on the weekends or take a night off once and awhile. It’s a hard balance because I have all these melodies that I want to record and release but finding the time is a bit of a challenge. This is probably my biggest challenge; just getting good material out on a consistent basis.
Discuss the recording and production of the song.
I was fortunate enough to work with an amazing recording engineer, co-producer, and instrumentalist, David Jacob-Strain, on this song.
He’s an amazing slide guitar player, engineer, and producer to boot.
We sat down at his studio and recorded the main guitar and vocals together in one take (after a few goes of course).
He then laid down some very tasty slide guitar, bass, and 12-string acoustic to fill it out. That pretty much laid the foundation for this track.
I then went back to my home studio to add those thick stomps and snaps, some backup vocals, and piano stabs, strings, as well as some other production elements.
After some time tweaking other production elements, the song was ready to go. It was one of the easier songs to record and produce because the ideas came so quickly and naturally, it was easy to capture them.
List the names of blogs, radio or television stations that have supported you so far.
A huge shout-out to Indie Music Center, Indie Folk Central, Two Story Melody, Dancing About Architecture, Glitter and Stilettos, Reignland Magazine, Bristol Funk, and ElectroWow for stellar write-ups.
Each of these outlets took the time and energy to listen to this new music, find inspiration in it, and share it with their readers.
I’ve also had a tremendous amount of support from small scale videographers, photographers, and filmmakers who have used my music in their work. It’s been a tremendous ride and their support has really propelled my music to the next level.
Elaborate on your music career, experience and future goals.
I truly enjoy everything about being a musician and a songwriter.
I’ve been a musician/songwriter since about 2004, mostly working as an instrumentalist and producer on other projects.
In 2018, I started my own solo project which has gone well. Since 2018, I’ve focused exclusively on my own music. It’s been nice to be able to have full control of my creative vision and write/record the songs that matter to me!
I would say my experience leads me to a decent all-around producer. I can take a song from its raw form and find the elements within that want to come through, as a good producer would.
As with most independent musicians/producers, I wear the audio engineer hat, the mixing hat, the producer hat, the songwriter hat, the singer hat, etc. etc.
I think this comes with the territory and it’s made me realize where I need help, and what I can take care of on my own.
I’m finding quite a bit of success in film and television sync placements now.
I don’t write “library” music, but the songs that I naturally write seem to do well for music placement in both TV and film. That’s really been where my focus is and where it will continue to be; making connections with music supervisors and sync agencies that can foster more TV and film placements.
My hope is that soon, I can make songwriting a full-time job!
Brief us what inspires you to write, compose and sing.
Right now, my daughter and my new family life are my biggest inspiration to write and compose.
Having a daughter has really prioritized my life and shown me what is important.
There is a visceral realization that time is the only thing in my life that I cannot trade or alter.
I’ve been writing a lot about time with my daughter, the sadness and the joy that comes with being a father, of watching her grow, the struggles of being a husband and a family, as well as the good times.
Life is such a rich well to tap into for material, I’m having a hard time just keeping up!
Brief us the top-secret behind making a hit song.
I have no idea. Usually when I think I have a hit song, it doesn’t do so well and when I think “This isn’t the song”, that’s the song that takes off.
My best advice is to make music that’s genuine to you. If it makes you feel something, it will make a bunch of other people feel something too. And that’s what people are wanting with music, an emotional experience.
Those songs may not be “hits,” but they’ll get traction and have “legs” in the long run.
As an aside, any song that’s done well for me, I’ve ran it by my wife, who is not musical at all, for her opinion on it. She gives me good advice and her thoughts on whether she thinks it’s a hit or not. But ultimately, I have no idea what makes a hit song.
Tell the advice you will give to an upcoming artist.
I would tell upcoming artists to just keep honing your craft. Keep making better music, writing better songs, being an innovative producer.
There’s a lot of noise in music today but most of it is low-skill noise; anyone with a computer can make a beat or a 4-bar loop.
But most musicians/artists today have a hard time writing a good song or good lyrics and that can set new artists apart from the noise.
If you keep at it, it may take several years, but good work always has a way of being heard and capturing an audience. Don’t be discouraged, keep going.
Discuss at length your music careers, albums, songs, tours, recognition or awards you might have received.
I’ve worked on quite a few projects over the past 15 or so years. I started in college working with another songwriter; we formed a duo called Kitty’s Musicbox. It was a fun little project with a very Postal-Servicey sound. That was the first real go I had at recording and being an audio engineer.
I listen back to those recordings now and they sound terrible! But it was that time that really forced me to understand everything about recording audio; mic preamps, compressors, EQ, signal chains, etc. It was like a big testing ground for me.
In 2008, I started another duo with Nate Donnis called Rodello’s Machine. I had a better understanding of producing and being an audio engineer and the music with Nate really set a new level of professionalism.
For about 10 years, Nate and I toured through SoCal, played lots of live shows and dedicated many late nights to this project.
We created one full-length album (“Red Dust”) and two EPs (“Rodellos Machine” and “Animus”).
Working with Nate and Rodello’s Machine really honed my skills as a songwriter and stage performer, as well as music marketer and promoter.
The back catalog of Rodello’s Machine has since done well in TV and film as well.
My latest project as a solo singer-songwriter (Kolby Knickerbocker) has taken off in a good way.
I’ve had much better press and coverage with my solo work and fans have been digging it as well.
With the experience I gained from previous projects, I’ve really honed my promotions and marketing efforts to focus on the channels that have the biggest return.
I don’t tour or play live often now, but I have been looking at getting in some more live performances soon!
Tell us how you write your lyrics, compose, sing and record in the studio.
My creative process is really a hodgepodge of “when I can get it done.”
Sometimes, I’ll be walking and thinking of lyrics and have an idea.
Sometimes, I’ll be late at night in my studio and have a lyrical melody that I like and sing that into my phone.
It’s really a scattered process but it works for me. I write lyrics when I can, makes notes in my phone about musical ideas, and just have an ongoing notepad of musical ideas that I keep adding too.
Most of my musical composition comes late at night, just because that’s when I have time to play music.
If I can get a few hours away on the weekend, that’s the best time for me to record anything down. Because I have such limited time, it takes me a while to piece together a full song but when I record, it only takes a few hours.
Name your favourite artists for collaboration.
I should really get into collaboration more, but it’s been hard to collaborate with my limited time schedule.
I think if I could collaborate with any artist, I would love to sit down with Matt Kearney and check out his production style. I like his blend of modern production with good songwriting.
I’d also love to write with Ben Rector; he’s an amazing songwriter and I really dig his ability to write good songs with interesting hooks and phrases.
Share your press releases and reviews with us.
“Alright with Me” is a powerfully intimate song that evokes calm and purpose with grand production. Featuring slide guitar and spacious percussion, it is simple yet powerfully built.
I wrote this song for my daughter, and for the strength in purpose, she gives me. This song reflects the peace and calm I feel when I have her hand in mine.
The vocals and guitar of this song were recorded in one live take, leaving in all the nuances of me playing this live. This live recording makes the song more intimate and genuine in its performance, bringing the listener right into the room with me.
My previous tracks have been featured in “Top” curated Spotify playlists and featured in film and TV internationally.
“Stunning compositions…really great songwriting…really great stuff!”
– Valida Carroll, KCRW (89.9 FM)
“Good lord, [it] had me hooked from the word go!”
– Jason Grishkoff, Indieshuffle.com
“The music here represents my thoughts and life experiences as I’ve transferred them onto the pen, paper, and sound.
I’ve done many projects with other artists and released many co-authored songs. I’m proud to finally present a project that is solely from my mind and heart.
My previous releases have been featured in Spotify’s “Top” curated playlists to millions of followers. My songs have been, and continue to be, featured in a variety of TV and film internationally, garnering wide-ranging fans as far as Tokyo. My music has been met with critical acclaim from music tastemakers and fans alike, giving me the inspiration to continuously pursue my talent.
My previous works with Rodello’s Machine gained international notoriety and popular reception at home. With television placements in such programs as MTV’s Degrassi High, use of my songs in national ad campaigns, syndicated international radio placement, and 1,000s of plays per week on Pandora radio, my shared accomplishments with Rodello’s Machine have given me the positive feedback that propelled me forward.
Tell us how you will spend a million dollars.
With a million dollars, I would buy a modest piece of land, build a cozy house for my family and have a decked-out separate music studio; a place for me to be creative and loud at all hours of the day and night. Just to set my family up for a good living and nice creative space for me…that would be sweet!
Discuss music promotion and how you are boosting your fan base.
I think each artist probably has their own way of connecting with their audience.
I’ve really tried everything in the landscape to see where my audience lives and where my music sticks.
I’ve stuck mostly to digital marketing to maximize my time and efforts to reach my core audience and deliver good content on a consistent basis.
I do think playing live is worthwhile, it just takes time that I don’t have right now.
In a marketing sense, I’ve realized that music is essentially a content marketing game, but you’re competing with hundreds of thousands of songs each day for a limited audience. With that in mind, I’ve had success in recording and releasing singles to keep content fresh and consistent.
I’ll post videos and images of my creation process, song samples, production process, thoughts, etc. to my socials (IG, FB, YouTube, etc.) all to keep content fresh. This has proven the most valuable for me.
Once I have a song ready for release, I’ll reach out to bloggers and playlist curators for the inclusion of my song on their platforms.
If I feel the track is a good one, or if I have a good album, I’ll sometimes hire a PR firm or do a paid social media campaign to widen my audience reach.
Each of these avenues of promotion has a specific function and work to get more listeners.
At the end of the day, my goal is to gain more film and TV placements as that’s where 98% of my music revenue is coming from.
Tell us how you manage other activities with your music career.
When I’m not doing essential things in my life (job, eating, family time, etc.) I’m thinking about music.
I’ll hear a new song from Matt Kearney and think “Man, how did he make that sound?” – then I’m off trying to create that tone or whatever…it’s all-consuming.
I have a few things in my life like spending time with my wife and daughter that are non-negotiable but outside of that, I try to carve out an hour or so a week to get some exercise and hang with friends.
Community and family are important, and my heart is always in music.
State your artist’s name and elaborate on it.
My artist name is just my real name. I tried to come up with a unique stage name a couple of times until a buddy of mine said: “Dude, Kolby Knickerbocker is a pretty weird name anyway.”
So, Kolby Knickerbocker is my artist and real name…makes filling out forms slightly faster. 😉
State the title of the song and the meaning.
The title of the song goes back to the reason I wrote the song. “Alright with Me” is the refrain after every verse and chorus; it felt only natural to have that be the song title.