Ian Axel
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Ian Axel

Fair Lawn, New Jersey, United States | SELF

Fair Lawn, New Jersey, United States | SELF
Band Pop Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Im on to you by Ian Axel"

[Ian] Axel's sweet, supple vocals and piano-based pop evoke a timeless tradition. This tender EP is wonderfully reassuring--beautiful, optimistic melodies exquisitely delivered.

-- Performing Songwriter, March/April 2008
- Performing Songwriter Magazine

"The Ian Axel Story"

...I'm On To You may seem like a short record, but don't let the number of tracks fool you...Each track is thrown out with a poised enthusiasm, yet manages to be raw at the same time. "Heartbreak Girl" is wild and fun, while "We Are" is simply beautiful. My favorite track, however, is "Stand Tall". Perhaps opening the album with it was the most brilliant move of all. It is inspirational, and immediately involves the listener. A connection between the musician and audience is automatically set in place for the rest of the record, with exposure to highly relatable emotions, and a call that can be directed not only at himself, but to everyone. After this we are sold. Ian is now our friend, and we love him. It's a magical moment when you can dance and cry simultaneously. It is one of life's sweetest releases, and it is carried directly to our ears by Ian Axel- our servant of delicious pop sounds.

http://redbananamedia.blogspot.com/2008/07/featured-artist-72008-ian-axel.html - BLOG: The Red Banana

"CD Review: Ian Axel"

There is no such thing as a perfect album. But Ian Axel’s debut, This is the New Year, comes pretty doggone close. I haven’t loved an entire album this much since I discovered Harry Nilsson’s 1971 life-changer, Nilsson Schmilsson. Along the same notes as that legendary whiz, Axel tinkers and pounds on his piano keys, and sings about waltzing ghosts and life’s simple pleasures.

Axel’s astonishing talent has been too long hidden in the underground of NYC’s Lower East Side, too long hoarded by those lucky enough to frequent his intimate, Ben Folds-esque performances around the city. This man needs some national love, pronto!

Like the power poppers who paved the way before him, most of Axel’s New Year is predominately piano-driven. What sets Axel apart is his constant experimentation with pop-rooted melodies. Track by track, he fluctuates from sassiness to sincerity with foot-stomping porch-party jigs, touching instrumental waltzes that will shred your heart into confetti, and sweeping sing-a-longs akin to the Dresden Doll’s self-described “Brechtian punk cabaret” (minus the masochistic lyrics and screaming).

When the album’s titular single was released as a free download on iTunes, I replayed it over and over again until I knew it by heart and was belting out the lyrics louder than my car stereo. Axel’s call to “say everything you’ve always wanted, be not afraid of who you really are…live for now” is so full of earnest optimism that you can’t help but get pumped up by the clean-slate possibilities of New Year’s Resolutions.

If it makes you gag to think of the sunny side of life, or of one man’s love of PB&J that’s so strong the sandwich makes it onto two tracks, steer clear of Axel’s music. But if you are a fan of witty and memorable power pop, your life will have been meaningless until you experience This Is the New Year. (Self-released January 5, 2010).

http://blogs.creativeloafing.com/dailyloaf/2010/03/01/cd-review-ian-axel-this-is-the-new-year-with-video/ - The Daily Loaf / Creative Loafing

"Battle of the Bands"

Ian Axel concocts harmonic symphonies filled with hope, budding dreams and other fleeting fantasies. Laying the foundation with piano and intertwining violin to thicken the song with dramatic suspense, Axel enraptures his audience with rich harmonies. His voice cuts through the fantasy he creates, gently directing the audience, giving them a sharp clean sound to latch onto throughout his engrossing compositions. Sounding like Coldplay's Chris Martin, Axel's voice is so clean and unaffected that it adds to his authentic feel, striking straight at the heart. - Washington Square News

"Steinhardt holds talent show..."

The Steinhardt undergraduate student government held its fourth annual talent show last Friday night to raise money for the Lisa Goldberg scholarship fund.

Senior Ian Axel won first place.

Steinhardt senior class president Tom Hennessey, who also hosted the show, said that although the other performers were great, Axel deserved to win first place.

"He really seemed to strike the hearts in the audience," Hennessey said. "The lyrics were very emotional and touching. He really hit home with everyone." - Washington Square News


"...if you like catchy, quirky, talented singing and songwriting, you'll like Ian Axel."
- The Aquarian


"...a natural talent of making warm and embracing melodies with every piano chord made with unconditional love..."Stand tall", "Afterglow", "Beautiful somewhere" and "We are" will take you for a paradisian walk in Ben Folds garden...Highly recommendable!"

Reviewed by Kaj Roth

http://www.melodic.net/reviewsOne.asp?revnr=6219 - Melodic.net

"Ian Axel's "im on to you.""

Ian Axel's "im on to you" takes a page out of the Ben Folds songbook...This is not to say that Axel is a straight-up copycat; his sweeter, less cynical voice glides over his beautiful yet somewhat quirky compositions... - Performing Songwriter Magazine

"Ian Axel"

Ian Axel's imaginative lyrics and pure piano chords are as endearing as your favorite friend boy. His music is fresh and fun - just what you need after a long day of study stresses and after-school anxieties. (Plus his song "We Are" was featured on The Hills!)

Download: "Heartbreak Girl"

Sounds like: Coldplay gets peppy - JUSTINE Magazine

"Ian Axel: A Contemporary Classic"

There is a moment in every artist’s life when they are no longer learning their art, but their art is learning them. This is the only way to describe the energy that drips from every definitive and delicate stroke of the instrument Ian Axel has mastered so well that he describes it as an extension of himself. “I feel like I play the piano better than I talk, or do anything really,” Axel reveals, “I don’t know the world without it.” Music came naturally to Ian, who first began playing at the age of three on his grandmother’s piano, recreating Pee Wee Herman’s Tequila! by ear before even taking a lesson. In high school, the singer-songwriter started taking it more seriously, participating in classical competitions, and got into writing song lyrics in college. Singing came last for this young prodigy, who first explored his voice during his junior year at NYU, writing with friend, co-manager, and co-collaborator Chad Vaccarino, performing at songwriters series and open mics, and finally taking on his first full NYC performance at The Knitting Factory during his senior year.

On January 5, 2010, Ian released his first full length album This Is the New Year, which was quickly promoted as the Free Discovery Download on iTunes, and hit #57 on the top sold pop albums the first day it was released (notably beating out Beyonce and Fleetwood Mac). His debut video for the title track took YouTube by storm with over 40,000 hits, creating it’s own little cult following as the brilliant anthem of the indie music scene. Quiet intensity, simple messages laced with sharp wit, and a transcendental approach to playing generates instant followers, but above all it’s the humble, gracious, and mesmerizing talent of this young and promising artist that packs the intimate setting of Rockwood Music Hall, forming lines out the door on the evening of his performance… moments that still have Axel scratching his famously wild and curly-haired mane, thinking, “Are you serious?”

In what ways would you say New York City has had the greatest influence on you as a singer-songwriter?

Definitely the people here… everyone supports each other and that’s amazing. Particularly the people that I play with- it’s so challenging, and I’m so honored and almost scared to play even a note because I don’t want to ruin their music. When my album came out everyone tweeted about it and promoted it on a larger scale. That’s what its all about, leaning on each other. It’s the best thing about being here, the calibur of people in this city.

What was the concept behind your “This Is the New Year” video?

Well it was collaborative between me, Chad, and Leiv Parton (who shot the video)- he’s kind of a genius when it comes down to it. We didn’t have a budget and we only had one day to shoot, and that day was my friend’s holiday party we were supposed to play at. It wasn’t “What are we going to do?” it was “The video has to be shot at the party.” One of us came up with the idea of having lots of different people in it either holding up signs or mouthing the words. We set up a camera in her bedroom, while everyone else was drinking and partying in the other room, and between the hours of 6pm and 4am people just kept coming in and doing their thing. We had the music playing on the laptop, one camera, and one light.

Did you expect it to be the hit it became?

Maybe. I knew when we were doing it that it felt absolutely right. It felt like “I am in the right place, right now.” Everything led up to this day, and it was one of the best times of my life. There were sparks and magic in the room. Also, it’s so genuine- totally walls down. I know almost all of those people [in the video], and that’s what works… Honesty. We try to put that behind everything we do- music, videos, photos, etc.

Your new album, also titled “This Is the New Year” is your first full-length record. How long did that take to record and produce?

We did the bass, drums, and piano in two days, and everything else we did over a six week period at Dan Romer’s. After that was just mixing and mastering. It was a few months process from beginning to end, and then we started the artwork… so overall it took about a year to get everything done.

Actually, all my life I’ve been working on this. It took me 21 years to start singing, and then what came out of me at age 21 wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t have those years behind me, and then the songs I had been writing for the past three years.

Favorite songs?

I really like Waltz, Cannonball, and Gone.

What was your favorite memory of last year? What is the one thing you hope for in the new year?

My favorite memory of last year was when I went to Germany randomly. I was playing a show at Rockwood and this guy and girl came up to me afterwards and asked if I wanted to come play in Germany. So I said yes and gave them my information, not knowing what to expect. Then I did a West Coast tour with Allie Moss, and when I was in Vancouver I got an e-mail from those people saying they wanted to fly me over to Hamburg for this event, creating a Rockwood-vibe at this venue over there, and they mentioned me coming with Greg Holden, who I hadn’t heard of at the time. That night after I played in Vancouver this girl (completely separate from the German connection) came up to me and said, “I don’t know who you are but you need to play with my friend Greg Holden.” I was freaking out because it was the second time someone mentioned him to me that day, and so I wrote him an e-mail. It turns out he also worked at Apple and had heard of me and my music… just a lot of weird coincidences. So that was my favorite memory, going to Hamburg and meeting Greg Holden.

As far as this year, I want to tour. I want to be on the road and just see more, traveling outside of the country. Maybe get on a bigger act tour and open for somebody.

For an exceptional album start to finish, buy “This Is the New Year” on iTunes, and for a video that will put an instant smile on your face, do yourself a favor and click HERE. Ian’s next New York performance will be on March 2 at Joe’s Pub, with Greg Holden opening. - NYCArtScene.com


- "Pacific Sun" instrumental placed on MTV's The Real World DC (ep. 13) March 24th, 2010

- "Gone" placed on MTV's The Real World DC (ep. 12) March 17th, 2010

- "Hangman" placed on MTV's The Real World DC (ep. 9) Feb. 24, 2010.

- "Pacific Sun" and "Waltz" placed on Keeping Up With the Kardashians (ep. 408) on Feb. 7th, 2010.

- "Girl I Got A Thing" placed on MTV's The Real World DC on Jan. 20th, 2010.

- "This is the New Year" album debuts on the Billboard New Artist Charts at # 73 (week of Jan. 20th, 2010)

- iTunes features "This is the New Year" title track throughout the iTunes Store as their free Discovery Download of the Week (week of Jan. 12th, 2010)

- "This is the New Year" music video featured as the YouTube Spotlight on the main YouTube music page (Jan. 4th, 2010). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zqb29B06fV8

- Ian plays in Hamburg, Germany for their 'Feels Like Home' Festival (8/20/2009)

- "Home" featured on the front page of iTunes, week of (7/15/2009).

- Apple, Inc. featured both "Afterglow" and "We Are" in their store playlists worldwide (+250 stores) -2009

- "Home" featured on season finale of MTV's The Real World, Brooklyn (April, 2009).

- "Afterglow" featured on ABC's Private Practice, Season 1 DVD, TV ad.

- "Afterglow" featured in episode 13 of MTV's The Real World Hollywood (aired Wed. July 9th)

- "Stand Tall" featured in episode 11 of MTV's The Real World (aired June 25th, 2008).

- "Heartbreak Girl" featured in episode 10 of MTV's The Real World Hollywood (aired June 18th, 2008)

- "We Are" featured on MTV's "The Real World Award Bash" (aired April 4th, 2008).

- "We Are" featured on MTV's The Hills (Season 3, Episode 12)

- "We Are" places Top 5 (out of 4000) in NY Songwriters Circle 2007 Songwriting Competition.

- Front page feature & interview w/ Ian Axel on College Media News (www.collegemedianews.com) 12/10/07.

- Ian Axel on front page of music section on KOL.com (Nov. 25, 2007) "...Ian Axel is one piano key away from becoming a household name." www.kol.com/music

- Afterglow is "Track of the Week" on Garageband.com (10/20/07)

- Afterglow in rotation on AOL's Piano/Rock station.

- Afterglow featured on KOL Radio

- Afterglow places in the top 12 (out of 4000) in the 2006 NY Songwriter's Circle songwriting competition

- Afterglow featured on XM Radio's "The Radar Report"

- Winner of New York University's 2007 "Battle of the Bands"



New York based singer/songwriter Ian Axel rings in 2010 with his first full length album, This Is The New Year. Released January 5, the 13-track collection is a follow up to Axel’s critically-acclaimed debut EP I’m On To You.

Music supervisors have fallen in love with Ian's songs, placing his music in episodes of MTV’s “The Real World” (Brooklyn, Hollywood, and DC), “The Hills,” and ABC's “Private Practice.” In 2009, Apple included his songs "Afterglow" and "We Are" on the playlists of over 250 Apple Stores worldwide and invited him to perform at over 20 retail stores around the country! iTunes most recently selected the title track from This is the New Year, as their Free Discovery Download for the week of Jan. 12th. And YouTube featured the music video for that track on their homepage on Jan. 4th, 2010.

This is the New Year was recorded in Spring of 2009 by Dan Romer, who has also helmed sessions with indie-poppers Ingrid Michaelson and Jenny Owen Youngs. Through tight and melodic songcraft, Ian captures the wonder of our earlier years. He says, "I always feel like I'm trying to reconnect with something I had when I was a kid. Children have a glow and an energy we seem to lose later."

An album of beginnings, This is the New Year taps into that innocence. With Ian Axel in your headphones, it is almost impossible not to feel some part of you beaming, embracing the open future that stretches ahead. Your fresh decade starts now, and this is its soundtrack.

Early on the morning of January 1st, in a rambling Pennsylvania farmhouse rented by a group of old friends, phrases burst in Ian Axel's head like midnight fireworks.

"another year. another chance. do not wait. live for now. say everything. speak louder. give meaning. we are the voices."

Perhaps inspired by the whispers of emus in the adjacent field, or more likely by a little book of paintings and poetry given to him in the year's waning minutes, these thoughts formed the genesis of the title track from This is the New Year. The debut LP of New York songwriter, pianist, and stage stomper Ian Axel, This is the New Year is an album of beginnings.

While This is the New Year is the product of a fresh voice, full of promise of a new calendar, Ian's history with the piano goes back a long way. As a toddler in Fair Lawn, NJ, he would pick out his favorite songs by ear on his grandmother’s upright piano ("Tequila" being the first). Inspired by childhood hero Yanni, Ian manifested his own canorous compositions starting at the age of 3 (though not in the style of the aforementioned Greek PBS fundraising juggernaut).

Through his tight and melodic songcraft, Ian captures the wonder of our earlier years. He says, "I always feel like I'm trying to reconnect to something that I had when I was a kid. Children have a glow and an energy we lose later – because they are closer to where we came from, I think." This is the New Year taps into this innocence on tracks like "We Are," written as a heartfelt birthday present to a hometown friend.

While writing perpetually from his very first time in front of the piano, it was not until college that Ian started to sing. The encouragement came from Chad Vaccarino, whom he met in a class at New York University. Chad happened to hear a song in-progress that Ian was humming and was so inspired, he forced Ian to take voice lessons and even paid for them. “Everything in my life changed,” Ian says. “Even my hair turned curly.” Chad co-penned most of Ian's early songs, and his vocals make up an integral part in the title track, "This is the New Year."

Ian began performing frequently at venues in lower Manhattan. In 2007, he put out his first EP, I’m On To You, mostly recorded in studios at NYU. With the help of his mom, Ian self-catered his shows with bountiful trays of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (a gastronomic favorite of his which was mentioned in both "Girl I Got A Thing" and "Amazed"). Discovered and promoted by Tower Records in Japan, I'm On To You earned Ian Axel cadres of fans across the Pacific. Stateside, the six-song collection was well-mined by MTV, who featured four of its tracks on episodes of "The Real World" and "The Hills." I'm On To You also made its way into the hands of executives at Apple, where he found enthusiastic support. Ian was featured in the "What We're Listening To" section on the front page of iTunes, and his songs were heard hourly on the playlists of every Apple store location in the world. Apple also invited Ian to tour over 20 stores in cities nationwide including NYC, LA, and Honolulu (where he surely picked up inspiration for the ukulele-based "Pacific Sun").

Ian took up a residency at Rockwood Music Hall on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Shows became so crowded that the barmaid was unable to make her normal order-taking rounds – every possible bit of floor cove