VerseCity had a lot of momentum for a long time throughout (and beyond) Houston. The band sold out the House of Blues, performed alongside Slim Thug and hit the radio charts in Indonesia. It was largely thanks to frontman Micaiah Walker’s unrelenting, aggressive promotional skills, which took VerseCity much further than the average pop-rock outfit.
But now, they’re starting all over.
Walker revealed a new name — the Anthem — a month ago, and a focus on “what’s current in today’s mainstream market.” Single and video “Out of Our Heads” debuted around the same time, showcasing a poppier sound. (The band has also rebranded all its social media.)
“We worked hard for everything we got, but there’s only so much you can do on your own, and I think we just peaked out,” Walker says. “We felt like we needed a new beginning.”
The current lineup, which has been together four years, includes Walker, bassist Nelson Baradat (formerly guitar), guitarist Soulocq and drummer Daniel Rascoe. Bassist Jef Birmingham is no longer with the group. And tThe goal now is to be noticed on a much larger scale.
“We are writing songs that can compete on the charts,” Walker says. “But we don’t feel like we have to ‘sell out’ to do so. Our writing process has actually improved, and the songs are coming out much better. I think people who knew us before will be surprised when the album comes out.”
There were meetings with major labels as VerseCity, including rumblings of a deal with Hollywood Records and Disney, but nothing materialized. The band eventually signed with Austin-based Foundation Recordings, owned by Alex Chavez. (Alex’s father, Charles, owns Latium Entertainment, which helped launched Pitbull, Frankie J, Baby Bash and Chamillionaire.)
Walker was a teenager when he first met the father-son team, who encouraged him to start a band and solidify his image and sound.
“Six years later, they came across a write-up on VerseCity on chron.com — true story — and decided it was time to contact us,” Walker says. But the Anthem still has bigger plans.
“We are happy with our current deal but not satisfied. The shared goal between our label and us is still to sign with a major. But right now, we have a lot of work to do.”
The band plans to formally reintroduce itself with a July 27 show at Jet Lounge (1515 Pease) and hopes to release a few more singles before the end of the year. A full album, “something like a mix between Maroon 5 and Fall Out Boy,” should drop by summer 2013.
A fresh start, a new sound, a new look — and, hopefully, the same fervent fan base that carried VerseCity.
“For four years we asked people to believe in VerseCity,” Walker says. Some have (since) voiced their frustration and concern. But this is a decision we feel good about and is a great opportunity for us to continue chasing our dreams.”