2010-12-02 / Front Page

New Royalty one of five finalists in radio contest

BY JENNIFER KOHLHEPP Staff Writer

A local band seeks community support in fulfilling a dream to play at Madison Square Garden.

The New Royalty, a band of young musicians from Millstone, Monroe, East Brunswick and Milltown, made it to the final round of the Z100 Jingle Ball Hometown Hero Contest. The New Royalty, a band of young musicians from Millstone, Monroe, East Brunswick and Milltown, made it to the final round of the Z100 Jingle Ball Hometown Hero Contest. The New Royalty, an indie pop band of five young musicians from Millstone, Monroe, East Brunswick and Milltown, has made it to the final round of the Z100 Jingle Ball Hometown Hero Contest. The band was recently chosen by music industry professionals, including the president of Island/DefJam Records, as one of five finalists out of 450 bands in the Z100 Jingle Ball 2010 Hometown Hero Contest. The band that gets the most votes in the final round of the competition will play at the Jingle Ball in New York City this December.

“When we joined the Z100 Hometown Hero Contest, there were so many competitors way ahead of us,” lead guitarist Trevor Smith, 18, said. “Our family, friends, and community pulled in to help us get into the top 25.”

When the last round came, the band was blown away at the honor of being in the top five, according to Smith.

“It was a great achievement for us to have been in the final round, and be chosen by the panel of judges,” Smith said. “The judges featured several directors and CEOs of major record labels. It felt like a win for us to have that kind of recognition.”

The radio station Z100 sent a camera crew to film a documentarystyle interview of The New Royalty and the band performing an acoustic version of one of their songs. This video is posted at Z100.com, where the public can see and hear who these young musicians are and help them get more votes. The winner will be chosen based on votes alone. The contest ends at midnight on Dec. 2.

The New Royalty band members are Smith, of Monroe, vocalist Bree Iafelice, 16, and rhythm guitarist Nick Iafelice, 16, both of East Brunswick, bassist Kyle Davis, 17, of Millstone, and drummer Ricky Joyce, 23, of Milltown. They have been distributing fliers, calling friends and family, and using social networking websites to get the word out about the contest. The band’s street team has also been working around the clock to help out. The Monroe School District superintendent of schools, Kenneth Hamilton, endorsed the band with a video at http://monroetv.pegcentral.com/player.php?video=f34cc73719822f00ce915fcb.... East Brunswick High School has also endorsed the band.

“This competition gives the winner a spot to play in front of thousands at the pre-show for Jingle Ball,” Smith said. “We honestly feel that music should not at all be about reaching the top. Our music has a message in each song about so many different hardships that we faced as we grew older.”

“Alive” is a song about perseverance. “Tell Me” is a song about being yourself and resisting peer pressure.

“We were never in this for ourselves,” Smith said. “We have truly been trying to make other people smile and spread the message since the start. We are always appreciative to absolutely everyone who has supported us through the years. Reaching this goal would mean the world to us; it is what we love doing.”

Formed as a cover band in 2008 in the studios of a music school, The New Royalty has evolved from a group that imitated the music of the past into a band that combines powerful, catchy melodies with meaningful lyrics to address the joys and difficulties of their generation. The band members have used their musical talents to play charity events for the Graeme Preston Foundation, Freehold YMCA and the Millstone Township Foundation for Educational Excellence.

“We do as much as we can to support our communities,” Smith said. “All the profits from ticket sales at our CD release party were donated to a local charity for education. Today we all drove up to Bronx, New York, to play songs at sick children’s bedsides. Their smiles made our day. We were lucky enough to even have one of the patients sing another song to us after. I strongly believe in the power of communities.”

The band recently released its first CD, “When Poets Dream,” which is available on iTunes. The New Royalty performs at Starland Ballroom in Sayreville and the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, and earned fourth place out of 200 bands in the Jersey Showdown and first place in a battle of the bands to play at Warped Tour. The band is also currently a finalist in the Stone Pony Original Band Competition, as well as the 2010 Jersey Shows Battle of the Bands.

To vote for The New Royalty in the Z100 competition, visit http://eventful.com/z100. For more information on the band or to listen to The New Royalty’s music, visit http://www.thenewroyaltymusic.com; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1 mmyF3qTYc.

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