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Interview: Travis Clark of Bradenton's We the Kings

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Travis Clark with Jenny Robinson

We the Kings' Travis Clark relaxing with his girlfriend, actress Jenny Robinson. Clark, who grew up and has a home in Bradenton, has much to be happy about this holiday season, including a bestselling album. We The Kings perform Sunday in Palmetto. PHOTO COURTESY OF TRAVIS CLARK

Beyoncé shocked the music world when she surprise-released her new, self-titled major label album to the iTunes Store earlier this month. A few days later, Bradenton rock band We the Kings also released a new album exclusively through iTunes. Titled “Somewhere Somehow,” the group’s fourth full-length, and first to be issued independently, soon shot to No. 2 on the iTunes charts. Just before Christmas, “Somewhere Somehow” held the No. 11 spot on the iTunes album chart, beating out releases by the likes of Mary J. Blige, Kings of Leon, Luke Bryan and Katy Perry.

“We really didn’t know or expect any of those kind of massive numbers,” says We the Kings’ Travis Clark by phone from his second home in Los Angeles. “What’s awesome is Beyoncé has taken over iTunes and broke records and we were right next to her for two days straight. It’s unbelievable. We still haven’t had one promotion but are expecting support soon from iTunes, which has always been good to us. It’s awesome to think this could still keep going.”

WTK_SomewhereSomehow

The members of Bradenton-based globetrotting rock band We The Kings are (left to right) Hunter Thomsen (guitar), Coley O'Toole (auxiliary/background vocals), Travis Clark (guitar/vocals), Danny Duncan (drums) and Charles Trippy (bass). They appear on the cover of their upcoming album "Somewhere Somehow." PHOTO COURTESY OF TRAVIS CLARK

We the Kings, which performs its annual hometown Christmas show Sunday, began its unlikely trek to the upper region of the pop chart in September. Following a successful 40-city U.S. headlining tour, We the Kings announced they were working on their fourth, as-yet-untitled, studio album. But rather than release it through a record label, as they’ve done on their past three albums, the band members would engage directly with their fans via the Indiegogo crowd-funding platform.

“We just laid it on the line and let people know we don’t have a label and want to do the album by ourselves with no attachments and need the fans to help us go on this journey,” says Clark, who’s the band’s singer, guitarist, chief songwriter and producer of the new album. “We set out to make $35,000 and reached that goal the first day. We ended up getting to $150,000.”

We the Kings offered a variety of incentives for fans to contribute. The perks ranged from a limited edition T-shirt ($30) to recording with the band in Los Angeles ($4,999). Jose Carreon, a guitarist in TheKingsMen, from San Antonio, Texas, made the $5K donation.

“This awesome guy Jose can be heard on the song ‘Die Young Live Forever,’” Clark says. “He added all these cool guitar parts.”

Travis Clark solo courtesy

Travis Clark / COURTESY PHOTO

When We the Kings performs Sunday at The Hall in Palmetto it will be the platinum-selling band’s first show since the release of “Somewhere Somehow.” It will also be bass player and Lakewood Ranch resident Charles Trippy’s first concert back from his brain cancer chemo treatment.

“He’s playing the whole show after being in and out of the hospital," Clark says. “He has just the best outlook on it with so much support from family, and friends, it’s really cool."

In addition to the upcoming hometown show with his healthy band mate and a hit new album, Clark has something else to be excited about these days. On December 11, his personal Facebook page read: “In a Relationship.” Clark has been dating Jenny Robinson.A former dancer for the Orlando Magic who relocated to Los Angeles after graduating from the University of Central Florida, her acting credits include “Iron Man 2,” “Burlesque” and “Bring It On: In It to Win.”

“I’m in love, she’s amazing,” Clark says. “She’s the most beautiful girl, and also the most beautiful on the inside. And she’s from Florida. I found me a Florida girl!”

WE THE KINGS 7TH ANNUAL HOMETOWN CHRISTMAS SHOW
8 p.m. Sunday, December 29, The Hall 1330 US 301, Palmetto; $10 (general admission), $45 (early entry with We the Kings meet and greet. Buy tickets at showclix.com/event/3788579.

WE THE KINGS 7TH ANNUAL HOMETOWN CHRISTMAS SHOW
8 p.m. Sunday, December 29, The Hall 1330 US 301, Palmetto; $10 (general admission), $45 (early entry with We the Kings meet and greet. Buy tickets at showclix.com/event/3788579.

Wade_Tatangelo_by_Mike_Lang_HT_06212013 Wade Tatangelo has been an entertainment reporter, columnist and reviewer for more than a decade at publications nationwide. He is a Hershey, Pa., native who grew up in Tampa and graduated from the University of South Florida. Wade joined the Herald-Tribune in 2013. He can be reached by email or call (941) 361-4955.
Last modified: December 31, 2013
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