Despite playing piano and guitar, self-taught, since the age of 12, Denver-born Stephen Melton's first taste of musical success wouldn't happen until the later half of attending college in Northern Colorado. Drawing from key influences in Pop music at the time, Melton began a constant stream of song and lyric writing. Blending the Jazz instrument fundamentals he'd played for years, whimsical and widely relatable lyrics typical of classic genres, and soulful vocals reminiscent of the Motown era, Melton quickly found a natural and passionate niche.
In a matter of months, this new-found style of songwriting and performance would find him in the final round of a local talent competition hosted at his college. Upon winning the contest, Melton was approached by a group of local Top 40 radio personalities and urged to form a band to pursue potential opportunities. Eagerly taking the advice, Melton quickly enlisted local musicians and the first of many successful projects was born under the name "Set Forth." The young and hungry group's first public appearance would occur less than two weeks later at the Budweiser Events Center along side local heroes, The Fray.
This initial public appearance would rapidly ignite the band's popularity both locally and regionally, yielding several key performance opportunities, including a sold-out crowd of nearly 7,000 at Colorado State University's Moby Arena supporting The Fray, a sold-out Thunder Mountain Amphitheater supporting Teddy Geiger and countless other dates with the likes of The Jonas Brothers, Gavin DeGraw, The Veronicas, Lifehouse, and more. The sudden, seemingly over-night, popularity garnered Top 40 radio attention, leading to a string of successful singles on 96.1 KISS FM, including, So It Goes and Never be the Same. With singles receiving wild popularity and unexpectedly competing with national artists, the band began to gain the attention of regional and nation record labels.
Now well-established and picking up even more speed, Set Forth began to expand out of their native Northern Colorado roots into Denver and other markets. Now under representation of powerhouse management and legal council, the band entered a series of significant motions, beginning with re-branding themselves as, The Northern Way. Under the new alias, and with a mostly new line up of musicians, The Northern Way entered The Blasting Room Studios to record The Northern Way EP under the guidance of producing mastermind, Christopher Jak. Recruiting an all-star production team including Grammy winner, Jeff Juliano and New York's Sterling Sound, the album was completed and released in the spring of 2008. Out of the gates the album received rave reviews and a barrage of media attention launching the band into an elite and coveted class of artist on the rise in the now booming Denver music scene.
Nearing the end of 2008, The Northern Way would enter into KTCL 93.3 FM's Hometown for the Holidays competition with their single, Crazy. Much to the chagrin of the band, the single would not make it past the top 10 of the contest. Redolent of Melton's premier performance in Northern Colorado, and despite the less-than-desired placement in the Hometown for the Holidays, the band was approached, again with great interest, by radio staff. This interest would quickly prove to be the key stepping stone in The Northern Way's already successful journey. The band's first national single, "Crazy," would go on to see thousands of spins in Top 40 radio and would unlock critical opportunities. Among the opportunities, their first showcasing experiences in New York City with a major recording label, lucrative licensing placement in commercials, retail and television.
A cycle of radio popularity, national attention and college tours would continue to fuel The Northern Way's success throughout 2009 and 2010, culminating with the band's second release, Starting Line EP. Playing to a sold-out crowd at Denver's Marquis Theater for its release, the record would go on to produce the band's second major single, Starting Line, which would, again, be met by radio popularity and would later be placed in the opening game of the 2014 NFL season. The band would also continue winning large-scale performance opportunities including Mile High Music Festival, SXSW, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, and a laundry list of other key appearances. They would also experience a slew of television performance for CBS, KWGN, WB and Dish Network.
Approaching 2011, The Northern Way would disband in a good-natured parting of ways. During this time, Melton began his involvement in several facets of the music business, including producing, hired-gun session performances and keyboards in various live and studio acts. It was also during this time that Melton reverted to his original roots of songwriting. Submersing himself in the music he'd grown up with and played along with to teach himself the piano, Melton revisited the musician that existed before his career had even begun. After nearly a year of intense songwriting and reinventing, Melton, once again, entered The Blasting Room Studios. Working with close friend, engineer and producer, Andrew Berlin, and supported by world-class recording artists, Dave Preston and Tohbias Juniel, the five-song extended play that came to life served as the artistic expression that reestablished Melton as an independent artist. Above all, the album reincarnated the hopeful songwriter playing along with classic rock records in his family's home; now in a much more mature iteration. Released in February of 2015, Stephen Melton spent its first two weeks as the #1 Pop/Rock album on Amazon's Best Seller List. Meeting and exceeding the long-awaited expectations of listeners, Melton continues garnering the adoration of the Pop music scene and once again, found a dead-locked and passionate niche in songwriting with seemingly no end in sight.
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