Bleu in Los Angeles
|Born||July 18, 1975|
|Genres||Power pop, pop, rock, indie, acoustic|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, songwriter, producer|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, piano, bass|
|Labels||Lunch Records, Aware Records, Columbia Records, EMI, Artist Garage, Lojinx, The Major Label|
|Associated acts||L.E.O., LoudLion, The Major Labels, Hanson, Dan Wilson|
William James McAuley III (born July 18, 1975), best known by his performing name, Bleu, is an American pop artist (singer-songwriter), professional songwriter and producer currently living in Los Angeles. Bleu graduated from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. Along with his solo work, he is the lead singer and songwriter of the Electric Light Orchestra-style power pop band L.E.O., as well as a founding member of the power pop trio The Major Labels with Mike Viola and Ducky Carlisle, and is also a founding member of the Mutt Lange homage super-group LoudLion (featuring Taylor Locke of Rooney, Allison Robertson of The Donnas, Maclaine Diemer formerly of Bang Camaro, etc.). Bleu has toured the United States and internationally with bands such as John Mayer, Puffy AmiYumi, Hanson, Guster, Rooney, Mike Viola, Switchfoot, Alexz Johnson, and Toad the Wet Sprocket.
Bleu was known in the local Boston music scene for his live shows and work with other musicians, and received some local notoriety for his debut effort A Bing Bang Holidang, which was a charity benefit for the Boston Institute for Arts Therapy. A single from that record, "Boston All Star 12 Dayz," received some local airplay, featuring famous local musicians and acts from Guster and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones as well as Kay Hanley of Letters to Cleo and Bill Janovitz.
Bleu would soon follow with his Workaday Day EP before releasing his first proper album, Headroom. Released via Lunch Records, it received generally positive reviews, but did not take off until Bleu's entry into the WBCN Rock & Roll Rumble, which he won in 2001. This led him to local opening slots with Jump, Little Children and Ben Folds. He would later win a Boston Music Award for "Best Boston Band" (as well as be nominated for 5 in his career), and land a major label contract.
Major label career
Bleu's next album, Redhead (called "an all around power pop treat" by music critic Aidin Vaziri), was released in 2003 on Aware Records. Two versions were released; both featured the song "Somebody Else," which was also on the Spider-Man soundtrack. The first version of the album featured a song, "Sayonara," which had backing vocals from Puffy AmiYumi, and the latter version (released on Columbia Records) contained the single "Get Up," which received moderate national airplay. The album was also released in Japan with the Puffy AmiYumi guest spot featured, followed by a short tour in Japan.
New Directions, New Music
Bleu parted ways with Aware Records after a public dispute about the direction of submitted demos, and his third studio album, tentatively titled A Watched Pot, was not released by the label.
In 2006, a side project with Matt Mahaffey of Self called L.E.O. was released. Featuring contributions from Mike Viola, Andy Sturmer (formerly of Jellyfish), Hanson, and Jason Scheff of Chicago, Alpacas Orgling was meant to be similar to 1970s AM radio pop music, and is described by the band as an "alt-pop version of the Traveling Wilburys."
In July 2007, Bleu released two EPs on iTunes. One is a collection of songs he wrote for friends and family members for their birthdays, simply titled Happy Birthday. The other is credited to the band Blizzard of '05 (also the name of the album). The 7-song EP was recorded by Bleu, some friends, and some former bandmates when they converted the basement of one of their houses into a recording studio, and holed up there during the Blizzard of '05, which swept across New England and shut down the city of Boston for five days.
In July 2008, Bleu and frequent collaborators Mike Viola and Ducky Carlisle released Aquavia as a band called The Major Labels.
Also in 2008, Bleu regained the rights to A Watched Pot. It was released on July 14, 2009, through Artist Garage and Fontana Distribution.
Another side project is a take on '80s rock called LoudLion (plays covers and originals), which plans to release a CD in 2011.
In August 2010, Bleu made the decision to use Kickstarter to fund the release of his already recorded fourth album in the US. (UK label Lojinx had agreed to release the album in Europe.) Fan contributions reached the target of $8000 within 10 hours and went on to raise a total of $39,645 to support the release and marketing of the album in America.
The new album, titled Four, was released on CD in Europe on October 25 on Lojinx and on November 2 in North America on Bleu's own "The Major Label" imprint. The European digital release date was November 29.
To Hell With You
In November 2012 a crowd funding for the fifth record of Bleu started at pledgemusic.com. The campaign ended October 24, 2013 and was even more successful than Four. One of the offers from the campaign was the Redhead Record Club. It consists of re-recorded songs from Redhead for its 10th anniversary. The songs are released individually in digital form. In 2014 there will be a collection of them on CD (exclusively for the pledgers).
The official release of To Hell With You was January 28, 2014.
- A Bing Bang Holidang (CD) - Lunch Records - 1999
- Workaday Day EP (CD) - Lunch Records - 2000
- Headroom (CD) - Lunch Records - 2000
- Redhead (CD) - Aware Records - 2003
- Redhead (re-release) (CD) - Columbia/Aware - 2004
- A Watched Pot (CD) - Artist Garage - 2009
- Four (CD) - The Major Label (US) / Lojinx (UK) - 2010
- Besides (Vinyl & digital release) - The Major Label - 2012
- To Hell With You (CD) - 2014 - The Major Label (US)
Bleu has also worked on a number of different projects:
- Tangos and Tantrums by Sylvie Lewis - Backing vocals on "All His Exes."
- Alpacas Orgling by L.E.O. - Executive producer, chief songwriter and singer.
- Sugar EP by Dan Wilson of Semisonic - Guitars and vocals on several tracks.
- Winter Pays For Summer by Glen Phillips (Of Toad The Wet Sprocket) - backing harmonies on radio mix of "Finally Fading"
- The Walk by Hanson - Produced two tracks; co-wrote "Go" and "Running Man."
- Free Life by Dan Wilson - Guitars and vocals on several tracks.
- The Blizzard Of '05 - EP by The Blizzard Of '05
- Aquavia by The Major Labels (with Mike Viola and Ducky Carlisle)
Bleu is also an in-demand songwriter, working with such artists as Demi Lovato, Joe Jonas, Hanson, the Jonas Brothers, Nakia, Selena Gomez, Kate Voegele and Drake Bell. He has collaborated and has unreleased material with Alpha Rev, Armor For Sleep, Madi Diaz, John Fields, Kevin Griffin, Alexz Johnson, Megan Joy, David Mead, Nik & Sam, Daniel Powter, Tristan Prettyman, Ed Roland, Scott Simons, Sherwood and many more major label and independent acts.
- Official site.
- Songwriter & Producer Discography
- National Public Radio on Redhead.
- Rolling Stone review of Redhead.
- EMI profile.
- "Aidin Vaziri, Editorial Reviews, "Redhead"".
- "11th Annual Independent Music Awards Winners Announced!" Independent Music Awards, 2 May 2012. Retrieved on 4 Sept. 2013.