By Nicole Hanratty
Posted April 27, 2013
“A Cider Sky is that breathtaking moment when the Sun takes a bow and wishes goodnight to the day. Flashing a bright orange smile, he welcomes his old friend the Moon. Bathed in a glow of rusty light, the stars begin to get themselves comfortable for their nightly watch. It’s a time when magical things can happen.” –Cider Sky
We Are In Love – Cider Sky on YouTube Music Videos
March 20, 2012–Brentwood, CA–Interviewing Simon Wilcox and Shridhar Solanki who together are Cider Sky was a thrill. We met on a warm afternoon at a casual yet very gourmet deli type restaurant called Farmshop in the Brentwood Country Mart which is nestled between both the Riviera and Brentwood Country Clubs. This very exclusive area in Southern California is exactly where you would want to enjoy lunch outdoors under the common picnic style umbrella covered tables with plastic cutlery, which is precisely what we did.
Simon and Shridhar emanate such a creative and positive energy that sitting near them gives you a high. They laugh at themselves, have a great sense of humor and could not be more humble. They are protective of one another, the music they’re creating–lunch with me was a break from the recording studio where they’re working on their first full length album–and while there was not a boastful moment in the interview, they weren’t shy to tell their story of success that found Cider Sky with single “Northern Lights” on the soundtrack of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.
We spent time discussing the irony of the Life of a Rockstar with Simon opening up by saying, “It’s not glamorous.” I caught the two with tired voices and famished from a long morning in the studio. Despite perceptions that having your first song in a blockbuster movie should launch you into diva like super stardom, the reality is that a song placement even of that magnitude is still just a starting point on the long road of hard work.
The two songwriters and musicians met originally in London England where they hung out for a bit of time but lost touch. A second chance meeting in Los Angeles through a mutual friend brought them back together where they wrote, sang and recorded “Northern Lights,” a song Simon describes as having “a life of its’ own.” That life included a coveted position on a soundtrack hitting #1 US Soundtrack, #1 US Alternative Chart, #1 US iTunes charts, playing in a #1 Movie Worldwide with over 1 million worldwide sales.
Shridhar expanded, “It was amazing getting the song in the movie.” “We didn’t pitch it,” Simon interjected. “We found out about it when they announced it to the public,” continued Shridhar. Twilight was always covered in a veil of secrecy. No one could know if their song was in it. They’d sent paperwork so they could clear everything…but there were like thirty songs. One of the guys we wrote it with, I think he sent the demo to his publisher who then left the publishing company and knew someone at the music supervisor’s office and just sent it in and forgot about it. It was only afterwards that we found out that the director’s [Bill Condon] boyfriend–Jack Morrissey–heard the song. They got sent 250 songs to listen to, to see what might be right for it. He heard the song and fell in love with it. It became a place holder in the movie. They used it when they were shooting the scenes so that the cast were aware of the music, got the right vibe. When it came to edit the movie there was a big big artist who is also on the soundtrack who was asked to write songs for the movie and they came back with a song which everyone was like ‘this is the spot holder’ and it was the spot where our song was. Jack went to battle and was like ‘no that song is my favorite song, you can’t take it out.’ We’re so thankful that he won.”
“So you did not know this man but he changed your lives?” I asked the pair. “He changed our lives,” answered Shridhar as they both nodded in affirmation. “We’ve since met him,” Simon added, “he’s a sweetheart. Obviously we are big fans.”
“It always amazes me the power of movies and TV to transform a career,” I said. “We’ve since had like seven or eight [synchs],” Simon said. Shridhar added with excitement, “We had a song which was a trailer of this season of Grey’s Anatomy so it ran for like six weeks on ABC which was amazing for us.” Cider Sky has also had a cover of “Bring Me Sunshine” placed in the show “Save Me” 2013 debut, a song in Switched at Birth, Bunheads, Breaking Pointe and Beauty and The Beast. Their career is being spearheaded by the power of big media to grab the attention of the masses which is a new direction in the music industry whereby music is no longer born on the radio but in movies, TV shows, and on late night programs such as Conan, Leno, and Fallon. Radio is now following music supervisors who take chances on Indie artists rather than the other way around.
Simon concurred, “It’s been significant in our career. Music licensing for film and TV has been really significant, it’s kept us going and brought us to new audiences.” “When you put something to screen it has so much more of an emotional impact,” Shridhar explained. “Because you’re watching something happen between people that you’ve grown to love and suddenly the song is the soundtrack of that moment and so it connects with people in a very different way. They get to know the emotion of the song.”
The two gave a sneak peak into their new album and song they were working on earlier in the day, “Flavor Like You.” “We’re really excited about [it], it was the first song that we wrote and the first song that has been mixed and done,” said Shridhar. “I love that title,” I said visualizing how a kiss can have a flavor like bubblegum or cherry chapstick. “Thank you,” Simon replied. “It’s really about seeking a color you’ve never seen before or a flavor you’ve never tasted before in the shape of a human being. Looking for someone who will…I don’t know…revolutionize your world I guess.”
Simon talked about their passion and mission to bring about hope and make beautiful optimistic music. But because these two never take themselves too seriously, Shridhar began to tease her, “You sound like a nun.” “It has a good ring to it, Sister Simon,” I said. Shridhar laughed and repeated it in his funny gospel voice, adding “Praise-the-Lord!” “You’re the second person who’s said that,” Simon laughed and reminisced about her friends in Italy who went out partying while she read the bible to understand more about the art history she was studying. They also called her Sister Simon.
Cider Sky – We Are In Love (DVBBS & Lovehaus Remix)
Simon is Canadian and her family resides in Toronto, while Shridhar is from London but now comfortably calls Los Angeles home. When I asked them where they think they will be a year from now, Shridhar further illustrated his intent to stay put in LA. He pointed to the square table next to us and said, “Maybe at THAT table.” We all laughed. “We’re doing the record and from nowhere ‘We Are In Love’ is starting to get a buzz online,” said Shridhar. “It has almost a million views on YouTube with no label, that song hasn’t been synched at all, nothing and the remix has been blowing up,” Simon added.
With no record label and working completely independent (other than with their publishers) the two have performed at the 2012 London Olympics, performed in the Twilight Concert at Nokia Live and have been interviewed highlighted by Billboard, MTV News, Vh1, Clevver TV, Purevolume Featured Artist, CBC Canada, Cambio, Wall Street Journal, E! News, Access Hollywood, People and Seventeen Magazine. They have been added to playlists at The Gap, Whole Foods, Victoria’s Secret, Kinkos, and Pinkberry. “Amazing things have happened to us by accident,” Shridhar said, “just when we didn’t expect them to happen.”
I commented to Simon and Shridhar that it seems like they have someone looking after them and guiding them. “Isn’t that weird?” Simon nodded in agreement. Shridhar exclaimed, “Sister Simon!” We all laughed. “It is odd,” Simon said, “it’s been so serendipitous. It’s strange.” Shridhar agreed, “This has led to that…has led to that…we’ve always talked through things but then go with our gut.”
“I’m curious to see where we go next, it’s just sort of unfolding,” said Simon. “The GRAMMYS next year?” I proposed. They smiled and Shridhar said, “Yeah the GRAMMYS. This time next year we’ll have seventeen GRAMMYS.” I laughed and added, “We’ll be at THAT table,” and pointed to the coveted square table, “talking about the GRAMMY awards.” We all giggled and though we were joking the thought lit up their eyes. “They’ll be on this table,” Shridhar teased, “we’ll move to the square.”
CIDER SKY ON THE WEB
WE ASKED CIDER SKY
What song title best describes your personality?
Shridhar: James Brown “I Feel Good”
Simon: Metric “Help I’m Alive”
“So now we’ll go with a band name to describe us…” Simon said. “It’s called Blind Faith.”
What’s the most recent album you’ve purchased or downloaded?
Shridhar: Youngblood Hawke “We Come Running”
Simon: Lykke Li “I Follow Rivers”