Minneapolis favorite to perform at The Cabin
That’s how long singer/songwriter Ari Herstand said he’s known that music is his calling.
And he’s not messing around. The cover of the 22 year old’s first album, “Baby Eyes,” features a photograph of one-year old Herstand standing on a piano bench playing the piano.
“I’ve been playing the piano since before I could walk,” he said, adding that he began playing the trumpet in the fifth grade and participated in theater and choir throughout high school.
Herstand, who will put on a solo performance in The Cabin on Friday and Saturday night at 8 p.m. both nights, has been a solo act since his freshman year in college. He has put out two albums and is currently working on a third.
Amy Draheim, Herstand’s tour manager, described his sound as a “percussive, acoustic-guitar style.”
Sophomore Katie Uhlrich said she is very excited to see him. Uhlrich was first introduced to Herstand when a friend loaned her a copy of Herstand’s album “Baby Eyes” about a year and a half ago.
“I’m a lyrics person so I really appreciate his lyrics,” she said. “I think he’s got a broad range of different styles of music, which is cool. It can appeal to many different people with different tastes.”
As a college freshman, Herstand attended the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, pursuing a degree in music education. A year later, he transferred to the McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, to complete a two-year music business program. His newly-acquired knowledge of the music business led him to found his own production company, Proud Honeybee Productions.
“I like the idea of being self-sustained and not having to rely on record companies and management companies,” Herstand said. “In the stage I’m in right now, I’m really concentrating on building my career with a grassroots base.”
This strategy has been working as Herstand has already become a local favorite in Minneapolis, Draheim said, adding that he has played in a whole slew of venues across the country, in states such as Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota and Texas.
Herstand said he enjoyed playing at the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas, which he described as “just one giant party.” He has also played twice at Summerfest in Milwaukee.
Herstand has opened for bands such as Cake, Sister Hazel and Phil Vassar. He described the members of Cake as “down to earth, but just old…and tired,” adding that at the hotel, they were more interested in working out, swimming and sleeping than the beer and pizza downed by Herstand’s crew.
Dave Matthews Band and Ben Folds are early musical influences of Herstand’s, he said. Currently, he said he listens to a lot of local bands from Minneapolis.
“The Minneapolis music scene is absolutely phenomenal,” Herstand said. “It’s so unique from every other city in the country.”
Draheim echoed his sentiments.
“He’s always trying to get shows together with other local Minneapolis musicians,” she said. “He’s always on the go, up for fun.”
Although Herstand will perform solo at The Cabin, he said he plays with his band about once or twice a month, usually at bigger shows. His band members include an assortment of friends he has met over the years. His cellist was his freshman roommate in college. His guitarist, a personal friend for years. His trumpet player, a friend he met while attending McNally Smith.
Herstand, who said he enjoys listening to Coldplay and Death Cab for Cutie, said he’s really excited to come to Eau Claire.
Uhlrich said she grew up in Madison with Herstand’s younger brother. She mentioned a song on “Baby Eyes” called “Most of All My Brother,” which Herstand wrote for his younger brother.
“It’s about how there’s lots of things you love, and most of all, he loves his brother,” Uhlrich said. “It adds a whole new dimension to the song because I know his younger brother. I know the kid he’s talking about. That’s just amazing.”
Draheim said Herstand is extremely talented, motivated and ambitious.
“I think he’s going to go really far with his music,” she said. “It’s something I’m proud to represent.”
Who: Ari Herstand
Time: 8 p.m.
Date: Friday and Saturday
Place: The Cabin, Davies Center