Ernie Halter
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Ernie Halter

Band Pop Adult Contemporary


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The best kept secret in music


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Lo Fidelity (Independent) 2005

Congress Hotel (RockRidge/WMG) 2007

Tracks from both CD's have been played:

WRHU - Hempstead NY
WZIP - Akron OH
STAR 94.1 - San Diego CA
95Q FM - Abilene TX
KPSU - Portland OR



Ernie Halter

Ernie Halter is a soul-infused pop singer/songwriter, a guy who’s been influenced as much by the Lennon/McCartney as he has by Otis Redding…but don’t wrack your brain trying to categorize him. Just listen to his music.

Born in Inglewood, CA, raised in Orange County, Ernie Halter grew up during a short but important technological era – “The Cassette Generation” – with a collection that included the Beatle’s Abbey Road, Billy Joel’s Glass Houses, and Elton John’s Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy. However the very first tape Halter ever bought, was Go-Go’s Beauty and the Beat. Halter recalls, “Belinda Carlisle was a little hottie, and even at 6 years old, I knew this to be true.” Halter also tuned into the FM dial on a regular basis during his childhood, staying glued to the radio as he soaked up all the pop goodness. During his college years, a friend made him a mix tape of Stevie Wonder’s greatest hits, which he played over and over until he knew every note…but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Halter began taking piano lessons at age 8, but had already started to pick out tunes by ear. This love of music soon led to his first live performance: a 2nd grade school recital. “I choked, bad. I just totally froze.” The incident proved so horrific and traumatic that Halter can’t remember if he actually finished playing the song or just ran off the stage. He considers his first real gig to have occurred in 1992, at a coffee shop in Newport Beach. “A friend of mine had coaxed me into doing it,” says Halter, “and I think there were maybe ten people there…which I was ecstatic about. That was a pretty good draw when I was 17. We played 99% covers, and possibly half an original, but it was still pretty awesome.”

It wasn’t that Halter was in need of original material – he’d been writing songs since he was 15 – but he was lacking the confidence to perform his own stuff. “I was a musician for hire for a while,” he explains, “playing wherever and whenever I could to pay the bills. About two years ago, however, I just decided that if I was going to be a songwriter, I was going to have to set that goal and just do it. I couldn’t wait for the opportunity; I had to create it for myself.” Halter made a few self-distributed demo tapes and kept up a steady stream of gigs, but it wasn’t until he released Lo-Fidelity that things really began to take off.

The invaluable assistance of MySpace in strengthening Halter’s profile can’t be overstated. (At this writing, he’s at 71,112 friends and counting.) “Everything that was ever cool with helping promote independent music, like Napster, or, came and went, and I always seemed to really key into it after the fact” says Halter. “But I started hearing about MySpace and friends were encouraging me to sign up and post my music, so I did, and I started seeing people coming to my gigs that I’d never seen before; people who’d had found me on MySpace…and, then this huge light went off in my head, and I realized, ‘For once, I finally recognized a great opportunity before it crashed!’” Halter began is the ultimate example of someone who utilized the power of grass-roots promotion via Myspace to its fullest potential, incorporating such unique features as a live “tour van cam” and nightly webcasts of his concerts across the US. “I think it’s really paying off,” he says. “Once something hits a certain momentum, it becomes a viral thing and takes on a life of its own. It’s been really good to me.”

In addition to his constant touring – he’s hit 35 states this year and has no intention of slowing down – Halter’s new album, Congress Hotel, will be released in January 2007…and this one is in no way lo-fi. Produced by Barrie Maguire and David Kalish, who manned the boards for kindred spirit Amos Lee, the album was a dream collaboration for Halter. “About six months before,” he reveals, “I’d written down all the artists and producers that I’d want to work with, and I wrote down Amos Lee’s name. I didn’t particularly write down Barrie and David’s names because I didn’t know them at that point, but I wrote Amos’s name down because he was someone I wanted to connect with. He had production, but he didn’t sound produced.” Indeed, Maguire and Kalish have successfully brought their magic touch to Halter’s material, with the help of guest performances from Lee Thornburg of Tower of Power, Pete Thomas (from Elvis Costello’s Attractions), Reggie McBride (Stevie Wonder, Keb Mo), David Leach (Donavon Frankenreiter), Greg Leisz (Ben Harper), and Chris Joyner (Sheryl Crow, the Wallflowers).

Even with the album release on the horizon and the prospect of increased media attention as a result, you may be surprised to find that Halter isn’t really looking for the brass ring that’s inscribed “Major Label Record Deal.” “Every artist I know who’s signed to a label tells me to stay independent,” he says, “because unless you’re a disgusting success, you don’t