Keaton Simons
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Keaton Simons

Los Angeles, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2001 | SELF

Los Angeles, California, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2001
Band Blues Singer/Songwriter




"Keaton Simons continues to hone his craft as an indie artist"

What defines a successful artist? If you say they need to be signed to a major label, tour across the country and be heard on radio, television and movies, then Keaton Simons is truly a successful artist.

Simons was born into the entertainment world. His father, Jimmy Simons, was the force behind the Fox TV classic, Malcolm in the Middle, as well as Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and the recent Matthew Perry series Go On. His mother, Eliza Roberts, is an actress who was filming Animal House while she was pregnant with Simons. She is currently married to Eric Roberts (brother of Julia Roberts), and continues to act as well as run her own production company.

Simons got his acting start in 9 1/2 Ninjas, followed by Best of the Best II, Family Prayers and Bye Bye Love before starting to play music in high school bands. He started his first band, Nobody Knows, in 1997 when he 17. This jam band consisted of friends Micah Gell-Redman (keys, vocals), Jesse Gell-Redman (drums, vocals), Scott Bruzenak (sax, flute) and Loren Toder (bass). That led to meeting Tre Hardson of The Pharcyde, which resulted in Simons celebrating his 19th birthday at the House of Blues Foundation Room with a live performance with the band and Hardson. This celebration turned into a weekly summer residency, which prompted the House of Blues to encourage music in its Foundation Rooms at their other clubs across the country. Because of their age, they had to leave the bar as soon as their show ended.

Unfortunately, shortly after that residency ended, Toder, their bass player, unexpectedly died, resulting in the break-up of the band. Simons began working with Hardson on a solo project, through which he met quite a few people in the hip hop world, including the Black Eyed Peas (with whom Simons did his first major show on the main stage of the House of Blues Sunset Strip) and Lonnie Marshall from legendary funk band Weapon of Choice.

After college Simons ended up playing guitar in Weapon of Choice for about two years, which led to meeting and performing with Snoop Dogg for his gig on The Tonight Show. This was the first time Snoop was interviewed on television after a performance. Snoop wanted a big old-school style funk band, and chose Simons to play guitar.

Simons wrote Currently when he was 19 and a student at Evergreen studying Ethnomusicology. After Simons signed with Maverick Records in 2002, the song was recorded and released as Simons' first single and released on the Currently EP in 2004.

Simons began working with The Matrix, who hooked Simons up with Maverick Records. At the time, the Matrix was one of the premier production teams. The music video for Currently was in the top rotation on MTVU alongside more established artists like Green Day and Eminem. In addition, Currently became a number one hit on many stations across the country in 2004. Unfortunately, although Simons had completed his full length record, he was dropped from the label before it was released.

In 2005, Simons got a call from his friend Holly Palmer about a new band forming which would be comprised of people who were already artists in their own right. That band was Cee-Lo and Dangermouse’s project, Gnarls Barkley. Simons became a vocalist in the band and performed in their first ever US show, a secret show via MySpace, as well as at the Coachella Music Festival. Simons was dressed as a scarecrow in the 115 degree heat since the theme for the show was the Wizard of Oz. Gnarls Barkley thereafter went back to Europe with a smaller band, and Simons was once again on his own.

Simons was signed to the reborn CBS Records in 2007, and celebrated with a party in the very same room at the House of Blues where he had first played exactly 10 years before. As a result, Simons worked with David Bianco on his first full length record, Can You Hear Me? Some of the artists he worked with on that album were Joe Carnes, Michael Jerome, Deantoni Parks and Robin DiMaggio (who Simons met through producer Mark Needham, well known for his work with Lindsey Buckingham, The Killers and Imagine Dragons). Needham had also worked with Simons when he was with Maverick Records, bringing DiMaggio into the studio to re-cut the drums. Simons also hooked up with indie artists Tony Lucca (NBC's The Voice) and Josh Kelley (brother of Charles Kelley, lead singer of Lady Antebellum) during this time and began writing and performing with them. In addition, being on CBS Records led to numerous music placements in television and movies, including prominent placements in Men in Trees, Numb3rs, Harper's Island, The Good Wife and NCIS, as well as the movies Sky High and Feast. Simons left CBS Records just before they closed down the label.

Unsigned once again, Simons hooked up with producer Mikal Blue (Colbie Caillat, Jason Reeves, Jason Mraz) on a new full length project. Unfortunately, the project was never completed, although Simons took the mixes with him and used them to create his most recent release, Beautiful Pain. One of the songs, We Could be Anything, was chosen for the Disney movie Prom. Simons produced the track which was re-recorded by one of the cast members in the movie.

Undaunted, Simons decided to create his own label, Best Revenge, using who he thought at the time were the best in the business. Despite the lessons he learned from this project, and the experiences he enjoyed, Simons discovered that he alone would be responsible for his own success.

According to Simons, "Ultimately nobody can create success for you but yourself, and that’s where I’m at now. I’ve taken a lot of advice over the years and maybe compromised a bit too much. I'm grateful for every opportunity and proud of what I’ve done thus far, but now I'm ready to take a minute to just listen to my instincts and truly lay it all out there, totally expose myself in a way I've never really allowed myself to before."

Simons' current focus is on locking himself away to write and record new music, with an occasional break to perform and try out the new material. In addition, he is currently working with his friend, actor David Ducovny (X-Files, Californication) on Ducovny's debut musical release.

"I'm spending most of time in the studio right now, experimenting a ton and playing whatever feels good. Trying to ignore the rules I’ve taught myself over the years and the boxes I’ve put myself in. As a result, I’ve been coming up with some really cool stuff that I’m excited about. Playing more guitars than ever before, and in a way getting back to my jam/blues/rock roots. I've always loved looking out at my shows and seeing people moving and feeling good, and that's what I'm hoping to do with this next record."

For more information about Simons, check out his website, follow him on Facebook or Twitter, or catch one of his shows on You can also hear his music on Sons of Anarchy and The Young and the Restless, as well as the recent movies Twenty Feet Below and It's Not a Date. -

"If the dictionary had a listing under perfect pop, it’s very likely that Keaton Simons would have his photo displayed there prominently"

If the dictionary had a listing under perfect pop, it’s very likely that Keaton Simons would have his photo displayed there prominently. An impressive talent with a steadily developing resume, Simons sounds like he’s ready-made for radio, at least the kind of radio that once played intelligent songs with easily accessible melodies. From the self described initial entry “Thrill Of It All” through practically every song that follows, Keaton purveys intellect, intuition and a brilliant twist of the phrase that turns everyday expressions into lyrics that are thoughtful and worthy of consideration. “Black and White,” for example, speaks to the fact that there aren’t always opposites, but sometimes rather colours in-between. “Hearts Don’t Break Themselves” makes it clear that people do have control over their destiny, especially in matters of love and romance. The eternal optimism that pervades “Gonna Shine Brighter,” “You’re the Spark” and “Inspiration” ensures that the upbeat intent remains intact throughout. It’s hard to listen to this Beautiful Pain without feeling good simply by soaking up its songs. Consequently, Simons makes celebration come naturally. - No Depression

"Keaton Simons’ “Beautiful Pain” Named July “Best Song Of The Month”"

Keaton Simons, a talented pop/rock/blues singer/songwriter based in Los Angeles, has won the SongwriterUniverse ‘Best Song Of The Month’ Contest for July, for his song “Beautiful Pain.’ This song is included on his new album, Beautiful Pain, which he released in April (2013) on his label Best Revenge Records, and is distributed by ADA (Alternative Distribution Alliance).

‘Beautiful Pain’ is a well-crafted, midtempo, acoustic-rock song which provides a solid showcase for Simons’ songwriting ability, and his expressive lead & harmony vocals. The song starts off in a softer, understated manner, and then gradually builds in emotion and intensity. On this recording, Simons played all the instruments except for the drums, which were played by Robin DiMaggio (who has worked with Paul Simon, David Bowie and others). “Beautiful Pain” was produced by Simons and Mikal Blue (who is known for producing Colbie Caillat, Jason Mraz and Five For Fighting).

Simons was born and raised in Los Angeles, where members of his family have worked in the film & TV industry. He learned to play guitar at age 12, and he also learned to play piano. During high school, Simons formed a band, and when he was 17 (after graduating early from high school), he co-wrote songs with Tre Hardson of the hip-hop group, The Pharcyde, for Hardson’s solo project. He also played live gigs with the Black Eyed Peas and Snoop Dogg.

For college, Simons attended Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, where he subsequently graduated with a Degree in Ethnomusicology (studying world music). “Near the end of college,” recalled Simons, “I was asked to write some songs for a movie. I wrote & recorded five songs for the movie, and these recordings helped launch me as a solo artist. These songs led to me signing a label deal with Madonna’s label, Maverick Records (in 2003). Unfortunately, my album wasn’t released after Maverick was absorbed by Warner Bros. Records.”

In 2007, Simons signed a deal with CBS Records, and he released his debut album,Can You Hear Me, the following year. Then in 2011, Simons began work on his latest album Beautiful Pain, with producer Mikal Blue. “It was great working with Mikal, and I also co-wrote songs for the album with Jason Mraz (“Is There Any Other Way”), Jason Reeves (“If I Hadn’t Forgotten”), and Glen Phillips (“Gonna Shine Brighter”) of Toad The Wet Sprocket.

Currently, Simons is promoting his album, and he’s filmed a video of “Beautiful Pain” which was directed by Nick Spanos. Notably, the video was executive-produced by actor David Duchovny (The X-Files), who is an investor in Simons’ label. Simons has also partnered with Fred Croshal of CEG (Croshal Entertainment Group) who handles management & marketing. In addition, Simons recently performed live on theEllen DeGeneres Show. - Songwriter Universe

"Keaton Simons: White Boy With Soul"

100% Singer/Songwriter. Well, almost. Throw in a little funk, some soulful blues undertones, wrap it in powerful lyrics and dip it in a raw sensuality: That’s Keaton Simons. His sound is one of a classic singer/songwriter (think Van Morrison or John Hiatt), but embraces his musical influences. “Hendrix, Dylan, The Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Muddy Waters, B.B. King and Robert Johnson, to name a few, he says.” Simons is a Renaissance man when it comes to his career. He’s garnered a presence on radio, including MTV’s specially formatted college outlet, sharing top spins with Green Day and Eminem. No stranger to television (having appeared on The Tonight Show, Late Night with Craig Ferguson and Ellen), he’s shared the stage with Coldplay, Chris Isaak, Gnarls Barkley and Josh Kelley, and he’s worked with folks like Jason Mraz, Pink, Dixie Chicks, Cyndi Lauper, Black Eyed Peas and Snoop Dogg. Not too bad for a 32 year old white boy with soul. - Heather Jacks for American Noise

""LA's favorite son""

"LA's favorite son" - KCRW

"Keaton Simons To Tour With REO Speedwagon and Pat Benatar"

With a depth and richness similar to some of the best singer/songwriters like John Lennon and Bob Dylan, masterful, fluid and bluesy guitar playing comparable to Jimi Hendrix and early Eric Clapton, and a voice as authentic and soul-bearing in the vein of Ray Charles, Keaton Simons stands as a dynamic musician with a sound all his own. Those were the phrasings used to describe Simons by his record label, so of course they were over the top, but I'll give him a pass, because he is really talented. And who cares what any of us critical types think! He's scored a super plum summer tour gig with REO [Speedwagon] and [Pat] Benatar. He wins. - Amy Sciarretto for ARTISTdirect

"Bob Dylan"

If Bob Dylan didn't already have a singer for a son this soulful stunner would be a perfect adoptee. - Elle Magazine

""One of the fifty hottest guys ever""

On the list next to Johnny Depp, Ashton Kutcher, Chad Michael Murray and others - Elle girl magazine

""One of the fifty hottest guys ever""

On the list next to Johnny Depp, Ashton Kutcher, Chad Michael Murray and others - Elle girl magazine

""LA's favorite son""

"LA's favorite son" - KCRW

"Bob Dylan"

If Bob Dylan didn't already have a singer for a son this soulful stunner would be a perfect adoptee. - Elle Magazine


Still working on that hot first release.



The Los Angeles Times described the voice of their native song as having a "lived-in quality that will echo in our minds and hearts for years to come." Keaton Simons has enjoyed international recognition for his role in the singer/songwriter/pop world while on major labels Maverick and CBS Records. The blues/rock guitaristsinger and songwriter released his debut full-length album, Can You Hear Me, in 2008 and his follow up, Beautiful Pain, in 2013. He's performed his original music on The Tonight Show with Jay LenoThe Late Late Show with Craig FergusonLast Call with Carson Daly, and The Ellen DeGenereres Show. Keaton's music is also regularly placed in feature films and TV shows including Sons of AnarchyPrivate Practice, and NCIS. Most recently, his latest single, "When I Go," was featured in the 2015 Summer Finale of SUITS.

In 2015, Keaton supported Chris Cornell on his new album promo tour, playing guitar and singing background vocals on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy FallonJimmy Kimmel Live, Good Morning America and more. A video accompanying Cornell on "Nothing Compares 2 U" at SiriusXM Lithium XM surpassed 2 million views and Keaton's solo was named 1 of 5 Top Guitar Solos of 2015 by Baeble Music. 

Not surprisingly, Premier Guitar magazine has welcomed Keaton as a guest guitar teacher on their website and says, "Simons can play." In addition to being the face of Advanced Guitar for Ubisoft's Rocksmith video game, Keaton shines on guitar and vocals at pop-up jam sessions with legendary musicians like drummer Robin DiMaggio (Paul Simon, David Bowie), bassist Alex Al (Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder), and percussionist Lenny Castro (Boz Scaggs, Fleetwood Mac). Proving that genres are just a state of mind, Keaton has even had success in the hop hop world as a writer, musical director, singer, guitarist and bassist with notable acts like Snoop DoggGnarls BarkleyTre Hardson of The Pharcyde, and underground hip hop legend Medusa.

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