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Secondhand Serenade Biography

Secondhand Serenade is an acoustic rock band, led by vocalist and guitarist John Vesely. Vesely has released three studio albums to date under the name Secondhand Serenade: Awake in 2007 and A Twist in My Story in 2008. The debut album used multitrack recording to create the sound of a band using technology, while the second album took a different path, using a proper band and an orchestra to establish a more accomplished sound. Vesely's third album, Hear Me Now was released August 3rd, 2010.

John Vesely formed Secondhand Serenade in his home town of Menlo Park in California, USA, in 2004. Vesely was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area in a musical family and as the son of a professional jazz musician father, commenting that "getting into music was a natural thing" for him. He spent 8 years playing bass in local bands, featuring in a number of acts ranging in style from ska and hardcore to rock and pop. One of the bands he played in, Sounds Like Life, included fellow Bay Area artist Ronnie Day. After years of playing bass, he opted for an acoustic guitar. Vesely follows in the tradition of John Ondrasik's Five for Fighting. Vesely was also the son of a Czech immigrant.

Vesely began writing his own songs when he met his wife Candice Vesely. She had wanted him to play a song and "serenading her with a bass guitar was out of the question." He has admitted he found his "true calling" when he picked up the guitar. The pseudonym Secondhand Serenade is a reference to the way in which his songs were 'serenades' sung to his wife Candice, with whom he has two young sons. People around the world are merely getting to hear the songs 'second-hand.' While Vesely continues to market the affectionate biography, the couple broke up in 2008. Vesely was heart broken as can be seen in many of his songs. He released "A Twist In My Story" as a reference to the divorce.

In 2005, Vesely released his debut album titled Awake. It was recorded as a demo, after booking a few days at an Ontario studio earlier in 2005, "using just an acoustic guitar and his multi-tracked vocals." The album was promoted through the Secondhand Serenade Myspace page and by playing local shows. The CD's were originally sold through mail order with a PayPal account by Vesely, eventually he signed up with distributor TuneCore, making Secondhand Serenade's songs available on music portals including iTunes. The album experienced tremendous online support, and by the end of 2006 Secondhand Serenade had received millions of plays on Myspace and had been the social-networking site's No. 1 Independent Artist for months. Financially, he was said to be bringing in up to $20,000 a month from downloads and merchandise sales out of his home. He sold over 15,000 copies of the album on his own, and on the strength of these sales and the support, naturally, the labels came knocking. Secondhand Serenade was signed by longtime label executive Daniel Glass, on his new label Glassnote Records, which is distributed through Warner's Independent Label Group. In 2006, Rolling Stone announced Secondhand Serenade as #3 in the magazine's reader's poll for Best Myspace Artist.

In early 2007, Awake was reissued by Glassnote Records with an additional two songs. It was released on January 31 and gave Vesely his first chartings, debuting at #16 on Billboard's Top Heatseekers chart. Added success lead to it peaking at #164 on the Billboard 200, #3 on the Top Heatseekers and #19 on the Independent Albums chart.

In support of his first label release, Vesely was featured on MTV's You Hear It First, AOL Music's Breakers Yahoo! Music's Who's Next? and appeared on talk show Late Night with Conan O'Brien. He also played numerous shows, including tours with the likes of Hawthorne Heights and The All-American Rejects and at music festivals South By Southwest and along side My Chemical Romance and Linkin Park at Bamboozle.

Secondhand Serenade released only one song as a single from the debut album, "Vulnerable". The song spawned a music video, which was created by Frank Borin who was responsible for the Red Hot Chili Peppers' video for hit single "Dani California". "Vulnerable" peaked at #83 on the Billboard Hot 100, #64 on the Pop 100 and #56 on the Hot Digital Songs charts.


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