The annals of pop music are filled with a myriad of bands that got their start on the Jersey Shore. From Bruce Springsteen to Bon Jovi, many storied acts honed their craft in the same exact way - building their legacies one gig and one chorus at a time.
Now from those celebrated stomping grounds comes Far in the Maples, the infectious pairing of singer Regina Conroy and keyboardist/songwriter Reshy P. On their upcoming album Skywork, the newly formed group takes flight with 10 instant classics that brim with soul and sonic surprise. Songs like "Hookline," "Exposed" and "Somewhere You Belong" showcase the band's effortless pairing of poetic songwriting and unexpected soundscapes. Make no mistake - this is a band you won’t soon forget.
"As a child, I was heavily influenced by my Dad, who would sing Indian songs around our house every day," says 24-year-old Reshy P, who abandoned plans for a career in medicine to follow his musical dreams. "Growing up in Toms River, New Jersey, I took piano lessons for a year, but after that I was self-taught on bass, guitar, drums and keyboards and vocals. I’ve listened to everything from pop and rock to punk and metal – from bands like Billy Talent, Sum 41 and Millencolin, to Anberlin and more recently, Paramore and Owl City. Later when I went to McGill University in Montreal, I became fully immersed in the local music scene. I went to concerts and ‘open mics,’ and I played in clubs as both a solo artist and as part of several bands. After I graduated from college, I started making my own YouTube covers, experimenting with different instruments and styles. And within days of putting some of those songs up online, they started generating a following. So I knew I was on to something."
Regina Conroy, the 23-year-old songstress and co-founder of Far in the Maples found her musical footing early in the Garden State as well. "I grew up in Monmouth Beach, New Jersey and started singing at the age of six," she says. "My aunt had a Celine Dion album and I would sing along with it. When I was nine I started writing poetry, and at the age of twelve I began turning those poems into songs. My parents listened to everything from classic 1970’s rock to more organic things like 10,000 Maniacs. So there was always a wide variety of music on in my house. Later on, I got into female singer/songwriters like Avril Lavigne, Michelle Branch and Vanessa Carlton. Their music influenced me to get a guitar and start learning the craft of songwriting around the age of 15. From that point on, I started performing with my brother’s band at different clubs around Asbury Park and the Jersey Shore. That led to me playing a ton of 'open mic' nights and my own acoustic shows at college coffeehouses and other venues."
Reshy and Regina’s musical worlds would collide at the urging of veteran music manager and impresario Brian Nelson, who has worked with artists like Joss Stone and other major label acts.
"I met Brian at the Lakehouse Music building in Asbury Park, New Jersey and realized he could help me more than I could help myself," Reshy says. "Almost overnight, he got me an internship with the acclaimed producer Steve Greenwell, who gave me a ‘hands-on’ education in recording, engineering and music production. Later, Brian mentioned to me he had found an amazing female singer named Regina who was looking for a songwriting partner and a band to sing with. I freaked, because ever since I was a kid, it was my dream to have a band with a great female vocalist out front. And from the moment Regina and I met, we instantly hit it off. Everything just aligned."
Conroy also recalls having the same instant musical chemistry with Reshy after their first phone conversation. "From the minute we first spoke, we both knew it was a great fit. We were actually finishing each other's sentences. We were so excited that we started writing songs the first day we met. And we haven’t looked back since."
The band enlisted studio ace Greenwell to flesh out their first full-length release. "For me, this project was all about finding common ground between Reshy's synth work and Regina's rootsy songwriting," Greenwell says. "It's pretty incredible to have two kids in their early 20's making song-oriented music that's both honest and contemporary at the same time. There's a classic timelessness to their music that is totally refreshing. That's why I got involved in the first place."
Perhaps the journey that Far in the Maples has made from teenage dream to album release can best be described in the lyrics to their new song "Somewhere You Belong" which read:
"If your heart feels right, set it free. Let it be. Don’t be scared. You’ll find somewhere, somewhere you belong."
One listen to this affecting band’s debut album and you’re sure to feel the same way too.
Their debut album Skywork is scheduled for release in Spring 2015.