Bleu (musician)

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Bleu in Los Angeles
Bleu in Los Angeles
Background information
Birth nameWilliam James McAuley III
Also known asBleu
Born (1975-07-18) July 18, 1975 (age 47)
OriginUnited States
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • piano
  • bass
Years active1999–present

William James McAuley III (born July 18, 1975), best known by his performing name, Bleu, is an American musician, singer, songwriter and record producer.[1] He has written and produced songs for Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, John Oates, Michelle Branch, Hey Violet, Big Freedia, and the Jonas Brothers, and has won multiple Independent Music Awards for his work with Air Traffic Controller.[2][3]

In addition to his solo act, for which he was signed to Columbia Records, McAuley has been in a number of bands over the years, including a duo with Alexz Johnson called Johnson & McAuley, Electric Light Orchestra-style power pop band LEO, and a Mutt Lange homage super-group called LoudLion with Taylor Locke of Rooney and Allison Robertson of The Donnas.[4][5]

McAuley's songs have been featured on soundtracks like Spider-Man and The Hills Have Eyes 2. In 2014, he wrote and produced all the soundtrack songs for Tinker Bell and the Legend of the Neverbeast, one of which is a duet featuring himself and KT Tunstall on vocals.[6][7][8]


Early career[edit]

Bleu graduated from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. 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.


Bleu's next album, Redhead (called "an all around power pop treat" by music critic Aidin Vaziri),[9] 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.

Departure from label, Alpacas Orgling, and other projects[edit]

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."[10]

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.

Bleu is also an in-demand songwriter and producer, working with such artists as Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Big Freedia, the Jonas Brothers, Boys Like Girls, and Michelle Branch among many more major label and independent acts.


In August 2010, Bleu made the decision to use Kickstarter[11] 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. Kickstarter named the campaign Best Music Project in the 2010 Kickstarter Awards.[12]

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[edit]

In November 2012, a crowdfunding for Bleu's fifth record started at The campaign ended October 24, 2013, and was even more successful than Four. One of the many offers from the campaign was the Redhead Record Club. It consisted of re-recorded songs from Redhead for its 10th anniversary. The songs were released individually in digital form. In 2014, the re-recorded collection on CD was made available exclusively for pledgers.

The official release of To Hell With You was January 28, 2014.

Tinker Bell and the Legend of the Neverbeast[edit]

In 2014, McAuley wrote and produced all of the soundtrack songs for Disney's Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast.[6] KT Tunstall performed vocals on each song, with McAuley lending his vocals for a duet with Tunstall on "1000 Years."[13] The director of the film, Steve Loter, had been listening to McAuley's music on his commute to the studio, and ended up approaching McAuley after one of his shows to ask him to work on the film.[14]

SiX TAPE[edit]

With the arrival of his sixth studio album SiX TAPE in August 2021, Bleu again proves his talent for weaving lyrical cunning into exuberant cross-genre pop songs. Featuring his popular single “Love You So,” SiX TAPE finds the “Boston in LA” artist opening up about fatherhood, religion, and “growing up,” while building a passionately curated collage of mostly upbeat pop sounds. With songs inspired by ELO, Prince, Dire Straits, and Carl Carlton, SiX TAPE unabashedly plays like a well-worn 90's cassette mixtape.

“I’m over ‘figuring out who I am’” says Bleu. “I like a mish-mosh of music, just like most people do, and when I’m writing songs for myself, I’m only focused on what will put a shit eating grin on my face and not really worrying about the rest.” [15]

Another self-produced album, SiX TAPE features collaborations with Lindsey Ray – Nashville based indie ingénue and sync queen, on the album's must-listen duet “Chasin’,” plus co-writers Taylor Locke (Rooney/Sparks/Train) on “Never Believe It” and Isaac Bolivar aka Izzy Fontaine (Seal/Banks) on “My Emo GF.” Mr. McGinty (Jesse McGinty), one of LA's most sought-after session players (Pharrell, Lizzo), makes multiple appearances as a co-writer and instrumentalist on some of the album's most upbeat tracks “Baby By Your Side,” “Love You So,” & “A Crazy Life!”

“If my memory serves, ‘Never Believe It’ was written on a day when the intention was to get a song that I would sing/produce/release,” says Taylor Locke. “But I'm really glad it turned into a Bleu song instead! We spent most of the session developing the Dire Straits-esque track. We knew we were going to have a long, dramatic intro, lots of big tom fills, and then drop down to a riff that would be evocative of Mark Knopfler. For the chorus, we went more ELO. I don't think Bleu and I have ever worked on something together in which we DIDN'T talk about Jeff Lynne a whole lot! Having said that, I'd like to point out that the "science vs religion" content is something Jeff Lynne would never touch. I think it's a satisfying thing that Bleu often does, where you're seemingly inside a well-worn genre, but the subject matter and lyrical tone are totally contemporary and individualistic.”

As for the art of “not chasing” in life, or one's musical career, Lindsey Ray has this to say about the album's only duet, “For me, “Chasin’” is about recognizing what a waste of time it is chasing ANYTHING in life, because truthfully the chase itself is an attempt at controlling something that can’t actually be controlled, and when we try to control things that are out of our control, it will always result in some sort of suffering. I was at a place in my life where this was finally becoming very clear to me and I was making a choice to be done with that way of living.”

SiX TAPE, mostly written well before 2020 and originally meant to be an album of collaborations, has taken its time to come together, and morphed into something new and more personal than it was originally meant to be. Fatherhood put the kai-bosh on the constant collabs, and from this new stage of life comes the intimate immediacy of “Kid Someday,” which encapsulates all the excitement of someone who just found out they're about to have their first child. No less personal though is the record's energetic highlight track “A Crazy Life!” written and recorded with Mr. McGinty entirely remotely during the pandemic. Bleu describes in detail the high and low-lights of living “a crazy life” and following your fam on that journey even if it's “psycho.”

The kaleidoscopic soundscapes presented on this collection perfectly reflect Bleu's musical journey, which includes past albums of power-pop (Redhead, on Columbia Records), pure homage (the Jeff Lynne obsessed collective L.E.O.), and electro indie-pop on his last self-release “To Hell With You.” Bleu is infamous for delivering multi-genre collections, but on this album, it's worn as a badge of honor. Whether it's daring or not, he'd rather entertain you with variety than stay in one lane that would inevitably feel forced by song SiX.


Songwriting and production discography[edit]

Year Artist Title Label Role
2022 NCT Dream "Fire Alarm" SM Entertainment Producer
2018 Jesse Saint John "Fake It" We Are the Guard Records Writer, producer, mixer
Big Freedia "Rent" Asylum Records Writer
Addie Hamilton "Hell or Highwater" Self-released Producer, writer, mixer[16]
2017 Air Traffic Controller Echo Papa EP Self-released Producer, writer, mixer[2]
Michelle Branch "Heartbreak Now" {(Hopeless Romantic) Verve Label Group Writer[17]
Addie Hamilton "Judge and Jury" Self-released Producer, writer
"La La La" Position Music Producer, writer
2016 Josh Kaufman Josh Kaufman EP Self-released Producer, mixer; writer (all songs except "Avalanche")
Johnson & McAuley Johnson & McAuley EP Self-released Artist, producer, mixer; writer (all songs except "The Promise")[18]
Air Traffic Controller Black Box Self-released Producer, mixer (all songs), writer ("People Watching," "Phantom," "The House," "Warrior," "Water Falls")
2015 Bleu (ft. guest vocalists Justin Tranter, Alexz Johnson, and more) To Hell With You Self-released Artist, producer, writer, mixer
Hey Violet "Smash into You" (I Can Feel It EP) Capitol Records Writer[19]
Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast soundtrack "Float," "1000 Years," "Strange Sight," "Strange Sight Reprise," (all featuring KT Tunstall) additional score Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast soundtrack Walt Disney Records Producer, writer, instrumentalist; featured artist ("1000 Years")[13]
John Oates "Dirty Business" (Another Good Road) Elektra Nashville Producer, writer[20]
2014 LoudLion Die Tough Self-released Producer, writer, mixer
Alexz Johnson "Thank You For Breaking My Heart" (Heart EP) Laydee Spencer Music Writer[21]
2013 Mike Taylor "DWNTWN KDS" Self-released Producer, writer, mixer
Marc Martel "Our Love Remains," "Perfect World," "8th Wonder" (The Prelude EP) Be Music & Entertainment Co-producer, writer
Happy Endings soundtrack "Ordinary Extraordinary Love" Madison Gate Records Producer, writer, mixer[3]
2012 Daniel Powter "Crazy All My Life" (Turn on the Lights) EMI UK Writer[17]
Ryan Beatty "Simple Song" (Because of You EP) OcSkee Entertainment Writer
Air Traffic Controller NORDO Sugarpop Records Producer, mixer; writer ("You Know Me")
After School "Rip Off" (Playgirlz) Avex Trax Producer, writer[22]
Meat Loaf "Fall From Grace" (Hell in a Handbasket) Sony Music Writer[22]
Chris Mann "Unless You Mean It" (Roads) Universal Republic Producer, writer, engineer[21]
Chris Mann "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" (Home For Christmas EP) Universal Republic Producer, engineer[21]
Tristan Prettyman "Unconditionally," "Come Clean" (Cedar + Gold) Capitol Records Writer[17]
2011 Demi Lovato "In Real Life" (Unbroken) Hollywood Records Producer, writer, mixer[21]
Drake Bell "Terrific," "Big Shot," "Speak My Mind" (A Reminder EP) Drake Bell Entertainment Co-producer
2009 Selena Gomez & the Scene "I Won't Apologize" (Kiss and Tell) Hollywood Records Writer[22]
Selena Gomez "Disappear" (Wizards of Waverly Place (soundtrack)) Walt Disney Records Writer, co-producer[19]
Kate Voegele "Say Anything" (A Fine Mess) Interscope Records Writer
Ace Enders & a Million Different People "When I Hit The Ground" (title track) Vagrant Records Writer[19]
2007 Jonas Brothers "That's Just the Way We Roll" (Jonas Brothers) Hollywood Records Writer[5][23]
LoudLion Theme song, The Hills Have Eyes 2 soundtrack Bulletproof Records Producer, writer, mixer[8]
Hanson "Go," "Running Man" (The Walk) 3CG, Cooking Vinyl Writer; producer ("Running Man")

Artist discography[edit]


  • Workaday Day (2000)


  • 2002 Boston Music Awards: Best Rock Band (indie label)[26]
  • 2010 Boston Music Awards: Best Boston Artist That Doesn't Live in Boston[27]
  • 11th Independent Music Awards: Four – Best Pop Album[28]
  • 15th Independent Music Awards: Best Music Producer[29]
  • 15th Independent Music Awards: Black Box – Best Indie Album[29]
  • 16th Independent Music Awards: Echo Papa – Best Rock EP[2]


  1. ^ "Gold & Platinum search: the Jonas Brothers". Retrieved August 9, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "The 16th Independent Music Awards Winners". Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Dreilinger, Danielle (September 8, 2011). "Bleu: Serious about Songwriting". Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  4. ^ "Premiere: Johnson & McAuley, 'Heartbeat (Beatin' You Up)'". March 30, 2016. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Q&A with Bleu". Magnet Magazine. November 1, 2010. Retrieved August 9, 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast soundtracks". IMDb. Retrieved August 9, 2018.
  7. ^ "Spider-Man: Music From And Inspired By". Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  8. ^ a b "The Hills Have Eyes II soundtrack". IMDb. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  9. ^ "Aidin Vaziri, Editorial Reviews, "Redhead"".
  10. ^ Sullivan, Kate (November 1, 2006). "E.L.O. Is For Lovers!". LA Weekly. Retrieved January 1, 2021.
  11. ^ "The best BLEU CD release (of all time?) because of YOU!".
  12. ^ McGregor, Michael (January 11, 2011). "Best Music Project". Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  13. ^ a b "Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast". Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  14. ^ V., Ruth (March 2, 2015). "Exploring the Music of Tinker Bell and the Legend of the Neverbeast – An Interview with Music Supervisor Brett Swain and Musician Bleu". Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  15. ^ Retrieved September 2, 2022. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. ^ "Hell or Highwater (LYRIC VIDEO) Addie Hamilton". March 21, 2018. Archived from the original on December 19, 2021. Retrieved August 1, 2018 – via YouTube.
  17. ^ a b c "Bleu McAuley credits". AllMusic. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  18. ^ Marotta, Michael (February 18, 2016). "Song Premiere: Johnson & McAuley arrive with a blissful cover of '80s classic 'The Promise'". Vanyaland. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  19. ^ a b c "Bleu credits". AllMusic. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  20. ^ "John Oates: A Good Road To Follow". June 4, 2013. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  21. ^ a b c d "Bleu McAuley discography". discogs. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  22. ^ a b c "William James McAuey III discography". discogs. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  23. ^ "The Jonas Brothers". Retrieved August 9, 2018.
  24. ^ Staff, PopMatters. "Bleu: Redhead, PopMatters". PopMatters. Retrieved April 14, 2021.
  25. ^ Staff, PopMatters. "Bleu: Redhead, PopMatters". PowerPopSquare. Retrieved September 2, 2021.
  26. ^ "Boston Music Awards 2002". Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  27. ^ "Boston Music Awards 2010". Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  28. ^ "11th Annual Independent Music Awards Winners Announced!" Independent Music Awards, May 2, 2012. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
  29. ^ a b "15th Independent Music Awards Winners". Retrieved August 18, 2018.

External links[edit]