Nothing restores my faith in the future of rock and roll quite like a refreshing set of vocal chords and an innovative use of keys. North of Nine, a newly formed band from Los Angeles, flaunts both of these qualities. Fronted by piano prodigy Jackson Guthy, North of Nine blends the talent of five young men from across the country into a cohesive, soulful sound.

A few years ago, Jackson Guthy’s undeniable potential caught the eye of Randy Jackson, who has been mentoring the young man ever since. Through his guidance, Guthy decided to ditch pop and apply his vocal styling and magnetic stage presence to a rock band. With the idea of North of Nine brewing, Guthy and Jackson began the search for the remaining members. The culmination of their search resulted in Jackson on the microphone and occasionally the piano, Rob on drums, Nolan on keys, Mike on guitar, and Edison on bass. The five young men have only released one single, but their EP is in the works and will surely bring something delightfully fresh to today’s music scene.

Each of the five members has a different musical background and upbringing, and thus brings a unique element to North of Nine’s overall sound. Rob explains, “Jack and Edison are from LA, Mike is from Ohio, Nolan is from Kansas, and I’m from Michigan. We all come from different backgrounds. Jack’s more pop and has his own sound from where he comes from. I met Jack on the road when he was opening up for a pop artist I was playing drums with. A year later, I found out he was trying to start a band, and I got interested. We found these guys and started jamming. We like to put little bits of every influence in there. It just works.”

North of Nine

Rob and guitarist Mike, who happen to be roommates, both have heavy rock influences that bring an edginess to the group. Mike reminisces fondly, “The first show I ever saw was AC/DC in Cleveland. That changed everything. I begged my parents for weeks afterwards, ‘Get me a guitar. Get me a guitar. I wanna play. Get me a guitar. Get me a guitar.’ I was 12, and it just went downhill from there (laughs).”

A good band needs variety. Without it, it can become stunted and no longer blossom. With variety, the members can grow through one another and evolve. During the writing process for their EP, North of Nine utilizes their differences in order to cultivate art. When describing this process, Nolan remarked, “We all have our opinions on how the different parts should go together. Rob will come kick me off the keys and show me his idea, and I’ll give Edison suggestions about bass.”

While recording, North of Nine first lays down a live track, all playing in unison. Afterwards, the band as a whole focuses on each individual instrument. During this time, Nolan mentions the presence of their very hands-on manager, Randy Jackson: “When we’re recording, he’s there almost every time. He helps us out a lot. He always gives us advice. It’s nice to have a manager who’s also a musician.”

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One of the most charming aspects of North of Nine comes from having two exceptionally talented pianists in the group. Jackson and Nolan have each been playing piano since the young age of four years old, and their ability to play off of and grow from one another shows exquisitely in their music. “It’s fun in regards to the keyboards because Jackson started playing piano at four when I started. It’s cool for him and me to be able to sit and write. There are parts in there that I wouldn’t have written myself, but because Jackson is a piano player he suggests parts and melodies. It’s really collaborative,” according to Nolan.

Jackson, a solo artist for a long time, has enjoyed the transition into working as a team in a band. When recounting the change in pace, Jackson says, “When you’re in the pop lane, people look at you and think that you’re just going to put out a pop song that’s gonna make teen kids wanna have fun — that radio song. I’ve played piano my whole life, and I like to create music that comes from a different place, music that tells more of my story rather than a story told for other people. It was an easy transition, and it’s been really cool working with these guys.”

North of Nine’s current single, “We Ride,” shows off the group’s more intimate side. Check out the song along with its tastefully sexy video below:

Nolan explains, “‘We Ride’ hits people a little differently. It definitely has a ballad feel to it, but by the end, the drums are kicking in and the strings are hitting really hard. It’s a sensitive song that actually stands out amidst all of the other upbeat tempo stuff on the radio. That being said, we’re looking forward to bringing this other music to people, too, because it’s almost like you aren’t getting the whole story if you just listen to ‘We Ride.'”

The rest of the EP combines elements of jazz, rock, soul, and pop in a wonderfully alluring manner. Be on the lookout for this group — they will be around for a while.

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North of Nine