Midas Whale
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Midas Whale

Los Angeles, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

Los Angeles, California, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Duo Folk Americana




"NO FLUKE Midas Whale seeking SCERA splash with two shows Saturday"

November 05, 2015 2:00 pm • Casey Adams Daily HeralD

A local music project got rolling on national television but was first cultivated rolling around in the back of a food truck.

Western folk music duo Midas Whale will perform two shows at the SCERA Center for the Arts on Saturday. But before appearing on NBC's "The Voice" in 2013 and later touring the country, Jon Peter Lewis and Ryan Hayes were working to help Hayes' sister get her local food truck off the ground.

Hayes began singing a tune called "Howling at the Moon" driving home after a workday and Lewis chimed in riding passenger with an impromptu harmony. The chemistry of the two friends then led Lewis to cajole Hayes to join him to audition for NBC's televised talent program to which Hayes replied, "Might as well," and Midas Whale was born.

"A lot of people think we're a comedy act just because a lot of interesting and funny scenarios end up happening, inevitably -- that's just a result of our chemistry," Hayes said. "Jon and I love music so much and we take the opportunity to jab at each other any chance we can get."

Standing in front of large audiences seems to draw the natural spontaneity out even more.

"There was one time when I challenged Jon to a leg wrestle on stage," Hayes said, and then paused. "because I knew that I would win. I knew it was the one thing I could beat him at."

In another stage show, Hayes challenged an audience member to come up on stage for a leg wrestling match.

"We have very few boundaries, but there's also this very real element of 'the show must go on,' " Hayes said.

The SCERA show will certainly be laced with the folk duo's charming banter, but also features guest musicians Dylan Schorer on pedal steel and electric guitars with Fictionist's Aaron Anderson on percussion and drums.

Fictionist frontman Stuart Maxfield produced Midas Whale's debut album, "Sugar House" (2014), that includes the "Howling at the Moon" record, but sources an eclectic sound dialed in to preserve the tradition of a fading true genre.

"We're enamored with old country music, you know, when country used to be country and Western. Where, nowadays it seems like there's all country and no Western," Lewis said. "A lot of our music reflects that sort of energy that we have, that love to Western music. But our tastes go beyond that."

Lewis appeared on Season 3 of "American Idol" back in 2004 and cut a couple solo albums before engaging with his latest music project with Hayes.

The "American Idol" alum knew what to expect doing the cattle-call auditions for "The Voice" and the duo, who originally formed just for the audition, received an unexpected response after making it to the blind auditions with the celebrity coaches.

Silence. Not one chair turned around.

By some mistake, Lewis' mic was not turned on so the audience and judges only heard Hayes' backup harmony and their two instruments. They left the stage, but moments later the show producer brought them back out for another shot, this time with everything functioning properly.

Lewis and Hayes performed Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues" and soon won the attention of all four coaches.

"We are probably the only people in the entire 'Voice' history to have ever turned both, four chairs and no chairs," Hayes said with a laugh. "The only people to get a second chance at least."

The national exposure helped Midas Whale fund its "Sugar House" album on Kickstarter, a popular online crowdfunding platform. Using the tune they first sang together in the back of a food truck as a sample, fans and supporters kicked in $35,000 to record the album.

The title nods to what Lewis described "an enchanting time" he and Hayes experienced in the Salt Lake City-area where the album was recorded.

The first Saturday show at 7 p.m. is already soldout and a second show at 9 p.m. was added to meet the demand. A live performance by Midas Whale will invariably be different every time. At times the folk musicians will adapt their own performances based on audience reaction.

"We learn more about ourselves and about our songs every time we play for an audience that is very interactive," Hayes said.

Casey Adams is the Fine Arts and Entertainment reporter for the Daily Herald. Contact him at cadams@heraldextra.com or (801) 344-2544 or on Twitter @casey907. - Daily Herald

"Rock Opera 'Deep Love' Takes the Long Road to NYC"

NEW YORK — There's not much to do in eastern Idaho in the winter. It's freezing, windy and depressing. Why not create a musical?

Stay-inside weather — plus a healthy dose of heartache — helped spark the creation in 2009 of "Deep Love: A Ghostly Rock Opera." Six years later it arrives in steamy on 42nd Street in New York City, a snowball's throw from Broadway.

The show is the creation of Garrett Sherwood, Ryan J. Hayes and Jon Peter Lewis, three artistic guys with little musical theater experience who shaped and grew it into one of the highlights of the New York Musical Theatre Festival.

The show's first real production was in Lewis' living room in 2010 for a handful of friends. He used Christmas lights to mark off the stage and filled bowls with dry ice to make fog.

"I remember the dry ice was hissing and popping during the performance," he said. "It's been a kind of learn-as-you-go type of thing."

The show will be among 52 live events at the festival, including 22 full musicals. It runs from Tuesday to July 27 at six venues in the city and all tickets are below $30.

Since launching in 2004, the festival has premiered more than 300 new musicals, some of which have gone on to a further life on or off Broadway, such as "Altar Boyz," ''title of show" and the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Next to Normal."

The festival — known by its initials NYMF — provides shows with theater space, lights, sound equipment, front-of-house staffing and marketing — all key to emerging artists trying to mount resource-heavy musicals in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

The offerings this year are typically eclectic. There's one about a pope, a second that deals with illegal immigration and one about the Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan ice skating fiasco.

Dan Markey, executive director of NYMF, said the number of submissions has gone up every year and this year attracted some 245 hopefuls from composers as far away as Utah and Atlanta.

"The net is wider the pipeline is expanding," he said. "More and more people want to do it either at the beginning of their career or at the end of their career."

The festival is the perfect place for the four-person cast of "Deep Love" to find some love, said Lewis, a finalist on "American Idol" who also got to the knockout round on "The Voice" with Hayes as the folk duo Midas Whale.

He hopes some of his TV fans will check out his new project: "I stayed long enough on both shows for people to kind of know me — to remain a Z-list celebrity," he said, laughing.

The show, featuring some crispy rock and soulful folk, is about love and loss set in a 1880s graveyard. The audience is encouraged to attend in funeral attire. It stars Amy Whitcomb who was on "The Voice," too.

Hayes and Sherwood, who both endured difficult breakups in the winter of 2009, wrote the songs. "Rather than going out and getting wasted, they wrote a rock opera about it," said Lewis.

Lewis helped write the story, co-directs and stars in the show. He even worked as a lighting technician for four months just to learn all the names of the theater lights.

The creative team has spent years working on the show, helping it grow from that first living room performance to one in a sold-out 1,100-seat abandoned church, to a multi-city tour.

Five dancers have been added to help tell the story, while the band has been reduced from 30 to seven. Getting it shown in New York took a lot of work but now it can shine.

"We wanted to get on the radar of people who are in the business," Lewis said. "We have something that's working elsewhere but no one really knows about us outside our little region."

___ - The New York Times

"Midas Whale Sweetens the deal with debut album 'Sugar House.'"

You might say Midas Whale, whether collectively or individually, has made the rounds of the singing competition circuit. Jon Peter Lewis, who is one half of Midas Whale, was a finalist on the third season of "American Idol." He was also humorously (and also scientifically) referred to by Ryan Seacrest as ‘JPL’ on that show. Not one to give up easily, though, Lewis tried again in the form of Midas Whale along with Ryan Haye on the fourth season of "The Voice."

However, don’t let these performers’ lack of TV show success lead you to believe they’re not yet ready for prime time. After all, the streets are littered with American Idol ‘winners’ that have not exactly succeeded outside the bright lights of TV land.

The first name that comes to mind – and it’s a huge name at that – is the Everly Brothers when listening to the Lewis/Haye duo of Midas Whale. And it goes far deeper than the obvious fact that it’s two guys harmonizing together. If you want proof that not all two-guy teams are Everly Brothers knock-offs, look no further than the country music superstar duo Brooks & Dunn. Those guys, during their successful run, gathered up more music business awards than the backroom of a trophy shop, yet you would never say they sang particularly well together. The star of that show was Ronnie Dunn’s beautiful singing voice. Kix Brooks was just there to help write the songs, sing a few himself and generally hang onto Dunn’s coattails for the prosperous ride.

In addition to creating lovely harmonies, Midas Whale also gives us meaty lyrical pieces to dig into. Just get a load of the whole familial drama detailed during “My Father’s Son” on their debut album Sugar House.

Then again, there is some pretty ear candy stocking the shelves of this sugar shack. “Bright and Early” is harmony singing at its very best. It has one of those lovely melodies that made the Everly Brothers a true American musical treasure. It’s built upon a sparse arrangement, which is mainly just rhythmic electric guitar that allows beatific singing to come front and center.

There are too many aural delights to count, though. “A Little More,” for instance, combines Americana styling with the sweet parlor music of vintage Kinks and Queen’s more tender side.

Just in case this point hasn’t been implied strongly enough, Midas Whale differs from ‘singing’ shows because these are songwriters, not just vocalists. Maybe some of their competition could have performed some of these songs better – at least by the evaluations of judges and audiences – but it’s arguable that not a single one of them could have written even one of them. Midas Whale both writes and sings wonderfully, which makes Sugar House one tasty home sweet home. - AXS

"'Voice' Duo - Midas Whale Bring Their Golden Touch to Yahoo!"

Midas Whale, aka former "American Idol" finalist Jon Peter Lewis and his songwriting partner, geologist Ryan Hayes, were one of the most interesting and unique contenders on "The Voice" Season 4. - Rolling Stone

"Midas Whale Perform 'Folsom Prison Blues' win over all coaches on 'The Voice' Blind Auditions"

During Tuesday’s (March 26) Blind Auditions for Season 4 of ‘The Voice,’ quirky and undeniably talented duo Midas Whale offered up their accordion and acoustic guitar-laden rendition of Johnny Cash‘s iconic track ‘Folsom Prison Blues.’ It was unforgettable and left an impression on all four of the show’s famous coaches.

The Idaho-based twosome were serious while playing the song (though their name is supposed to be funny — ‘might as well’ said in an accent), and it took a minute, but all four of the coaches warmed up to the Whale.

At first, it seemed like none of the coaches were willing to flip their chairs around, but eventually Usher, Blake Shelton, Adam Levine and Shakira all swiveled. They had no choice and were picked off one by one, as they could not deny the power of the Whale.

The pair’s performance was unique and organic, and it felt like more of a neo-folk show, as opposed to watching a competitive reality singing show. That likely has to do with the fact that the pair is from the heartland and serious about their craft.

Midas Whale had their pick of the litter, so to speak, when it came to the available coaches. They elected to join Team Adam Levine. On Monday, Shelton picked up his first country contestant in young Danielle Bradbery, who performed a Taylor Swift cover. Watch that here.

Read More: Midas Whale Perform ‘Folsom Prison Blues,’ Win Over All Coaches on ‘The Voice’ Blind Auditions | http://tasteofcountry.com/midas-whale-folsom-prison-blues-johnny-cash-the-voice/?trackback=tsmclip

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjwKH1RaUtE - Taste of Country

"Midas Whale Rise Again with "Howling At The Moon""


By Lindsay Parker

MAY 31, 2013

I've said it before and I'll say it again: The day that folk-rockers Midas Whale were knocked out of this season's "Voice" Knockout Rounds was The Day The Music Died.
But thankfully, that actually wasn't the death of Midas Whale. Jon Peter Lewis (an "American Idol" top 10 finalist from Season 3) and his musical partner Ryan Hayes have since launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund their post-"Voice" debut album, and now they've released their lovely first official music video, for the original song "Howling at the Moon."
Recorded live at Randall Lake's Guthrie Artist Coop in Salt Lake City, the homespun, folksy video is a taste of what might come if Midas Whale reach their $30,000 Kickstarter goal in the next six days. As of this writing, they're less than $5,000 away from hitting that goal, so if you're a fan of what you see and hear below, click HERE to donate. You might as well! - Rolling Stone Magazine

"How a 'Voice' Mic Failure Gave 'Idol' Alum Jon Peter Lewis a Second chance at Music"

When American Idol season three finalist Jon Peter Lewis asked his friend Ryan Hayes if he wanted to compete on NBC’s The Voice as a duo, Hayes replied, "Might as well." And that’s how the twosome, who released their debut album earlier this month, came up with their name: Midas Whale.

Lewis, known as JPL during his Idol run, was living in Rexburg Idaho in 2009 when he saw Hayes singing at an open mic night. "I thought he was talented. He showed me a rock opera he had written with a mutual friend, Garrett Sherwood. I was really impressed." Entitled Deep Love: A Ghostly Folk Opera, Hayes asked Lewis to sing a part in a live production -- an audience that grew from 25 people in a living room to 1,100 attendees at an abandoned church. "And last year, thousands of people saw it as we toured regional theaters," Lewis tells The Hollywood Reporter [6] of Deep Love, which also cast fellow Voice alumni Amy Whitcomb and Savannah Berry.

In 2013, Lewis became the first Idol finalist to also compete on The Voice (Idol season two singer Frenchie Davis appeared on both shows but didn’t make it to the Fox show's top 12). "I saw an audition notice for The Voice and hesitated because of my Idol experience," Lewis explains. "I didn’t want to do it by myself, and was excited to find out they allowed duos … When we auditioned [for the show with Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Cecilia’], that music represented where we were at that moment. I had moved away from Los Angeles and was living back in Idaho, and the landscape and area influenced my musical taste."

Midas Whale made it to the blind auditions with "an ideal spot on the second day -- the teams weren’t full at that point," recalls Lewis. Midas Whale performed Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues," but because of a mic failure, the judges only heard backup vocals and, therefore, didn't turn their chairs. "Everything was reset so we could sing all over again. We’re the only people who know what it’s like to go from zero chairs to all four chairs turning around."

Midas Whale chose Adam Levine as their coach and made it through the battles, but were eliminated during the knockout stage. "We had no aspirations for our future -- it was an open book that we were writing as we went along," says Lewis. They set up a Kickstarter campaign to test the waters about pursuing an album and were overwhelmed with 1,400 backers -- about fourteen times the average music project on the crowdfunding platform -- and exceeding their $30,000 goal.

The duo wrote 40 songs in three months, recorded demos for all of them and settled on a dozen for their debut, Sugar House. They traveled to Provo, Utah to record at June Audio, a studio home to many artists including Neon Trees.

Sugar House was released digitally earlier this month, with a physical CD and a vinyl LP edition to follow. Besides sharing their single, "Howling at the Moon," the duo is looking at record label options and publishing deals. "We’re not concerned with becoming the next big thing," says Lewis. "We're enjoying the music, and the future is wide open." - Hollywood Reporter

"Valentine’s Day POPsessions: Midas Whale Pour Some ‘Sugar’ on Yahoo"

Midas Whale, the totally robbed "Voice" Season 4 duo comprising Ryan Hayes and "American Idol" alum Jon Peter Lewis, are no strangers to love in all its epic forms. They did stage a Gothic rock opera called "Deep Love" once, after all. So it's no wonder that Ryan and Jon have released Midas Whale's excellent debut album "Sugar House" this week, just in time for Valentine's Day.

Who was your first musical crush?
RYAN: Karen Carpenter. She just really gets me, you know? "Don't you remember you told me you loved me, baby..."

What song was playing during your first kiss?
JON: My first kiss was in no way romantic. I snuck out of the house and met up with this girl I'd been crushing on for a few months. Of all the places we could have found for a quiet moment, we chose to walk around the track of a nearby high school. All I heard was the buzz of the street light on the field house.

What is the best makeout song of all time?
RYAN: Nothing gets me in the mood like a little pop organ (maybe Dick Delaney's "Twilight Time") or William Shatner (check out "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"), but I think Saint-Saens's "Mon Coeur S'ouvre a ta Voix" from "Sampson and Delilah" is probably the greatest love melody of all time. (I prefer the instrumental version that Reader's Digest did in their "100 Most Beautiful Melodies: compilation.)

What's the best breakup song ever?
JON: Ohhhh, there are a lot of good ones. Here are some of my favorites: "Somebody That I Used to Know," but by ELLIOTT SMITH. "These Days" by Jackson Browne. "Don't Think Twice" by Bob Dylan.

What song would you want playing during your first wedding dance?
RYAN: Nat King Cole's "Stardust"

What love song makes you cry?
JON: "Our House," Crosby, Stills & Nash

Who is your favorite romantic singer?
RYAN: Jim Reeves

What is your fave album to listen to on a lonely Valentine's Day?
JON: "Figure 8," Elliott Smith

Does the idea of a couple making out to your music flatter you, or just freak you out?
RYAN: As long as it makes the girl develop feelings for me, it's OK.

What's the sexiest music video of all time?
JON: Hmmmmm, I don't know. Maybe "Cruisin'" by D'Angelo...It's not really the video that makes it sexy, though. His version of this song is amazing, though. Also, James Brown's performance on "The Ed Sullivan Show" had so much swag. That's not technically a music video, either. But it is a video and it does have music in it.

Who's the coolest couple in music?
RYAN: The Smothers Brothers...or did you want like a married couple?

What's the most romantic moment in movie history?
JON: I'm really the wrong person to ask about romantic movie moments. That's not really my thing. I'd probably be expected to cite moments from "The Notebook" or "When Harry Met Sally," but those just aren't my thing. I do have a shortlist of romantic movies that I like, though. I really like "Pride and Prejudice." Don't judge me. I've read the book a couple times and seen most of the versions, including the giant miniseries the BBC put out in the '80s. I think the latest with Keira Knightley was pretty well-done, though. And how can you not like it when Darcy is finally found out to be the good guy in the end?

What romantic movie role do you wish you could play?
RYAN: Ricky from "Better Off Dead"

Who is your favorite fairytale princess?
JON: Belle. Smart and Good. But Jasmine is the sexiest.

What is the most romantic city to visit?
RYAN: Butte, Montana. Hands down.

Describe your ideal Valentine's Day date.
JON: Oh, boy. Anything that ends well.

Flowers or chocolates?
RYAN: Flowers to give, chocolates to receive.

Do you watch/hate-watch "The Bachelor"?
JON: "Bachelor" isn't my thing.

Overall, are you pro- or anti-Valentine's Day?
RYAN: I love Valentine's Day. I'm not sure if Valentine's Day likes me, though. I liked it better back in grade school when everyone was obligated to give you a Valentine. We should start doing that as adults.

If someone did that "Say Anything" boombox thing outside your window, would you be into it, or call the police?
JON: Most definitely. [Editor's note: Way to give a vague answer, Jon!] - Yahoo Music

"Midas Whale - Howling At The Moon"

Midas Whale performs their debut track of "Howling at the Moon" live at the Randall Lake's Guthrie Artist Coop. This is one of many songs that will be featured on Midas Whale's debut album this fall. - Vimeo

"American Idol Alum Jon Peter Lewis Advances on 'The Voice'"

While viewers of The Voice were busy clapping along to the folk duo Midas Whale during season four's blind auditions, astute fans of American Idol may have recognized a familiar face in the group: season-three alum Jon Peter Lewis.

The 33-year old eighth-place finisher is making history of sorts as the first former Idol contestant from the top 10 to compete on both shows. Former Idol semifinalists Frenchie Davis and Jamar Rogers also appeared on the The Voice.

Lewis said he is happy to be on the NBC show and noted there are specific differences in the program’s overall vibe and mission from the iconic FOX show.

"What I love about The Voice is it’s a great place for artists. I was very impressed with how much time they spent with us before the audition and keep getting us ready. I also love that you don’t have to worry about being in front of somebody and having somebody ridicule you in front of the entire country," he said. "There is nothing about The Voice that is insulting to the people on stage. It’s a nurturing environment for talent. And I think that’s nice. Nobody is going to be mean, and there is a nice repertoire among the coaches on stage. They are having a good time with each other."

The Lincoln, Nebraska native formed Midas Whale with friend and collaborator Ryan Hayes, who penned the folk-opera “Deep Love [5],” and another pal, Garrett Sherwood. Both men plan to showcase in Los Angeles later this year. He met Hayes in Rexburg, Idaho at a time in his life when he considered leaving the music business altogether. - Hollywood Reporter

"Midas Whale - Howling At The Moon Music Video"

YouTube Video Midas Whale - YouTube

"Q & A with Ryan Hayes"

Sugar House Q&A with Ryan Hayes
February 12, 2014 at 12:06pm

Hey everybody!

It's great to see the album taking off, and especially great to hear feedback from all our fans. Many of you may know this already, but we handed the album out to our backers a couple of weeks ago and gave them the opportunity to review it, give feedback and ask questions before it went public.

I'm not very good at interviewing myself, so I asked our fan and friend Emily McLean to compile questions and interview me over the phone. The following is a loose transcript of our conversation:

Everybody wants to know when and where they can get the album!

Yanely De Armas: I want the album what day does it come out and where can I get it?

Courtenay Midgley Bolander: I can't wait! Will it be available for purchase on the Google Play Store?

Kathy Miller: I'm ready to purchase this new album. Where can I go to make this happen?

Ryan: The album is now available at every major online music market.

Such as: iTunes, Spotify, Amazon Mp3, Google Play, Rdio, Deezer, XBox Music, Rhapsody, EMusic, Simfy, Muve Music, MySpace, iHeartRadio, Nokia, MediaNet, VerveLife, Wimp, Sony Music Unlimited, Gracenote, Shazam, 7Digital, Juke, JB Hi-Fi, Slacker, Bloom, Guvera

Jamie Lynn Ebey: What is something that you wish you would have known (positive or negative) about the album creation process?

Ryan: I wish I would have known what I was getting myself in to. It turns out there are a lot of bottlenecks in the recording and fulfillment process; the song writing, booking the studio and musicians, working around schedules, mixing, design and printing to name a few. Sometimes you can’t do anything else until you wait for something to get done, so it can be very frustrating. However, learning is part of the trade. Now that we’ve been through it I'm sure we will be able to plan better for the future.

Richard McLean: The songs on the album all have their own signature sounds, from Spaghetti Western to 20's Radio Stars to the Birth of Rock and Roll to Simon and Garfunkel-esque, etc.

How did you go about developing those soundscapes?

Ryan: A lot of those soundscapes are inherent in the melodies that were chosen for the album. I personally song write for what the melody is saying more than what anything else is saying. The melodies we invented directed the soundscapes naturally, and we seldom had to reinvent a song from its original character. The vibe has a lot to do with the Producer that we chose, Stuart Maxfield. He kept pushing for a unique vocal character on each song. He knew what to do and how to help us in the process of achieving the sound and bringing the melodies to life in their own unique way. He is kind of a genius. A very mad genius.

Andrea DeFrancesco (AD): What are your favorite songs on Sugar House?

Ryan: My favorites are currently “Thanks A Lot”, “Into the Unknown” and “Sweet Dreams”. At any given point in the past I would have had different favorites. They have all had their turn.

AD: Was there a song you would have liked to include but didn't/couldn't?

Ryan: Yes, there were several. Many songs were fought over in the great battle of Sugar House. Jon really fought for a demo called “Turn the Lights On” but Stuart felt it needed to bake a little more. Jon also had a really good song “Broken Pieces” that didn’t make the cut. I really wanted a waltz on the album named “What Strange a Thing” that featured the accordion, but couldn’t get the support and abandoned the campaign. We both liked “She’ll Never Know” it was very poetic, but too dark to put on the album. Jon and Stuart loved a song called "Bastard" but I refused to record it out of respect for my mother. There was also the twin of "Thanks a Lot" called “I Don’t Need Nothing” and a catchy basic recording of “Nothing to Lose” we completely abandoned because it didn’t quite feel right. I'm sure all of these songs will see the light of day eventually.

AD: Which new song are you most excited to play live in concert?

Ryan: “Sweet Dreams” - it’s such a sweet song with heart to it. I think it embodies the entirety of my song writing style, thought process and personality. The first draft of lyrics became the final draft, one take and keep it. The song is very similar to the ‘Sunshine Brady and the Moonlight Lady’ songs from back in the day (that's a duo I have with my sister). Short sweet and nice.

AD: Do you think you'll do another music video, like you did for Howling At the Moon?

Ryan: Yes certainly, of course! There has been talk of a music video from this album with the same film crew.

AD: Will the album also eventually be available in stores as a physical version? Or the Midas Whale website?

Ryan: First the Kickstarter Backers will get physical copies of the album. After that look for a very limited release via the website and live shows.

Eva Morris: Will the record be available on vinyl? Please!

Ryan: Yes! As with the CD Kickstarter Backers will get physical copies first. Then look for a very limited release via the website and live shows.

Sara Cummings: Boxers or briefs? (Just mixing it up from the musical enquires)?

Ryan: *laughter*

Nicole D. Hale (NH): What is the biggest lesson learned from your experience on "The Voice"?

Ryan: We learned that people could really relate to the music we play and that we have an audience out there.

NH: What is the next big project in the works?

Ryan: Look forward to many surprises!

NH: Are you changing up the way "Deep Love" is performed (as in a big Broadway production) or do you want to keep it as an intimate performance?

Ryan: For all Deep Love news please keep an eye on the Deep Love page and wait patiently :)

NH: Do you need any roadies?

Ryan: More than roadies we need slaves—people to spread the good word . . . with force if necessary

Moni Richardson: Who are your musical influences and inspirations?

Ryan: I have been inspired by many: Karen Carpenter, Bing Crosby also Jim Reeves, Everly Brothers, Cat Stevens and an old Mormon folk band The 3 D’s. Great tune smiths like George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Hoagie Carmichael. Classical composers, lots of 30’s, 40’s and 50’s music and traditional folk tunes. I mostly admire songwriters, but some vocalists as well.

Jon’s inspirations include Jackie Wilson, James Brown and Jackson Browne. Really anyone with a variation of Jack or Brown in their name.

Jon and I are both huge fans of the Beatles, the Beach Boys and Simon & Garfunkel. The list goes on and on, we love almost everything!

Mclean Entertainment (ME): You both have a fabulous way of painting pictures with your truly poetical lyrics, and then infusing them with emotion as you perform. How does this come to you?

Ryan: The truth is that a lot of the songs I wrote on the album are first drafts. I am physically incapable of going back and revising lyrics. The songs speak for themselves melodically with words that make the melody achieve it’s greatest sound.

The melody is the emotion, importantly having the right syllable in the right melodic place. The secret to lyrical bliss is to not have any stressed syllables in the wrong place.

ME: My children would like to know, why there is no howling in “Howling at the Moon” as so nicely done on the video?

Ryan: It’s a quirky and fun thing to do live, but could get annoying after many repeated listens on an album. However, there is a mystical wailing on the album done by my sister Katrina that represents the mystical Moonlight Lady (see ancient Idaho mythology).

ME: Another quirky fun thing is the mouth clicks on “A Good Wind”, I seriously love them! Who had that brilliant idea?

Ryan: Stuart did the mouth clicks while we weren’t even there. He loved the song so much and he was set on making it even cooler!

ME: Well he certainly did that! Also is that I whip I hear?

Ryan: The “whip” sound is a wooden paint mixing stick slapped against a tile floor. I can crack a whip, but it would have been hard to capture the sound we needed with the space and equipment we had (plus I don't own a whip).

ME: “A Little More” is a favorite of mine, how did you come up with the unique sound and feel? The instrument choices are sublime!

Ryan: The melody came along and it said “A little more, a little more” It was an innocent sounding melody that came to me with lyric built in. When it comes with lyrics, don’t mess with it. That melody definitely had something to say and it was very innocent and honest. Almost like a little quiet part of me that was trying to be heard.

“A Little More” was my #1 choice for the album (although Jon opposed me for a long time). Come hell or high water, it was the one I wouldn’t back down from. It was the last song we did in the studio after a long day and we decided to have fun. We all just kind of got together and had a good time with it.

It’s as perfect as “Sweet Dreams” in that it’s imperfect. Just friends having fun. The vocal component came later in Stuart’s basement. He had a cigarette amp that made a weird tinny sound. The vocal is completely natural; when the sound looped in to my ears it made me sing different. I didn’t know I was singing differently until after. To me it was brilliant! How many singers change the way they hear own voice in order to manipulate their singing? I don't know if that's something new, but to me it was ingenious!

ME: You totally mix it up with “Thanks A Lot” it makes me want to put on some wingtip shoes and boogie! What was the inspiration there?

Ryan: This was my attempt at writing a Buddy Holly style song. Stuart was pushing us every week to come up with more and more songs. I was enjoying the challenge. I had purchased a Telecaster and was excited to rediscover the old new sounds like the classic cowboy sound. It’s the result of an exercise to write things I wouldn’t normally write.

ME: There seems to be an undercurrent theme of death, is this something you ponder frequently?

Ryan: I hadn't thought of that, but I suppose there are subtle undertones of death. I think death is ever present in my writing because I feel like death is a beautiful thing and something that I've always look forward to (not in like a suicidal way, I just like the idea of slipping away beyond the sight of earthly cares).

ME: Well said! “Rise and Shine” has such a final feel that people have wondered if “Sweet Dreams” is meant as a bonus song?

Ryan: We didn’t develop the set list until right before we released it to the Kickstarter backers. I always felt like Rise and Shine was the closer. “Sweet Dreams” is not a bonus song, but more of an afterthought. It was unexpectedly brilliant and we HAD to have it on the album. To me it was a way of returning back to the beginning of the album. A whimsical, but heartfelt ending to the perfect day. It puts you in a place where you’re ready to move on, instead of staying in the bliss of Rise and Shine forever.

ME: Also Ryan you claim it is the only song you would consider a type of love song. With the lyrics “One day you appeared at my window, Helplessly looking for refuge, Funny you never did leave” to me it sounds as if you poetically took in a stray cat. Please explain yourself.

Ryan: No it’s not a cat, but I do enjoy that imagery. I was actually looking out the window at the birds in the bird feeder when I wrote “Sweet Dreams”. Thinking, “Yeah sure, stay as long as you like, but I know you’re going to leave me eventually”. It’s more like a song written to love or about love than it is to or about a person.

ME: Seriously how excited are you to have this major accomplishment going out to the world?

Ryan: Extremely excited!! I have always wanted to have an album since I started songwriting at 13 or 14 years old and this is the fulfillment of dreams. It’s nice because I was always scared to share my songs with people and it wasn’t until college that I started doing so. This album I feel is an adequate expression of who I am . . . in about 30 minutes.

ME: Along with being excited is there a bit of nervousness as well?

Ryan: I don’t have anything to be nervous about. I know that we put together a fine album and more than that we put together a collection of melodies that are timeless and will last through the ages. The thought of people listening to my music and getting the melodies stuck in their heads is completely satisfying. It will stand on it’s own and won’t need any kind of sales or figures for validation. I KNOW that it’s good, and I couldn’t be happier to share these songs with everybody!! -


Feb 03, 2014


Salt Lake City, Utah - The folk-rock duo, Midas Whale, will release their debut album one year after they were introduced on NBC’s hit show The Voice. Jon Peter Lewis and Ryan Hayes turned to their fans via Kickstarter to help fund their independent record titled Sugar House.

Sugar House is a folk album blending the rough and dirty sounds of early Western music with the pure bright harmonies of sixties folk music. All original songs were written and arranged by Ryan Hayes and Jon Peter Lewis.
“We have our fans to thank for making this album possible,” says Lewis. “They jumped on board to help us and went beyond our expectations.”

“It takes more than passion and hard work to produce an album,” adds Hayes. “But thanks to our dedicated fans we were able meet the challenge and release an album that we are very proud of.”
Sugar House will be available on iTunes, Amazon and all major music sites Feb 11th, 2014.

# # # #

About Midas Whale
Musicians Jon Peter Lewis and Ryan Hayes met in 2009 during a college open mic. They went on to collaborate and produce a folk-rock opera, Deep Love. The show’s beginnings were humble--jamming in Jon’s living room--but the stage show opened in Idaho to packed theaters and rave reviews. Looking for more opportunities to perform together, Lewis and Hayes formed the folk duo Midas Whale and auditioned for The Voice.
The energetic folk version of “Folsom Prison Blues” prompted the coveted 4-chair turn by all coaches: Adam Levine, Usher, Blake Shelton, and Shakira. Adam praised the “charismatic” duo saying, “You guys are perhaps one of the more charming, talented duos I’ve ever seen perform. That’s the truth.” Blake and Shakira admired their superb harmonies and Usher hailed them as “hilarious, but equally talented.”
Following their graceful exit on The Voice, the duo continued writing songs and toured throughout the country. Their energetic fans responded to the band’s quirky Kickstarter campaign and the project was successfully funded in just three weeks. Sugar House is Midas Whale’s first full-length album.

Press Kit: http://www.sonicbids.com/band/midaswhale

Website: http://www.midaswhale.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MidasWhale

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MidasWhale

Contact: Judy Lieber judylieber@gmail.com - Midas Whale

"Jon Peter Lewis Branches Out To Broadway - Video Clip Live Fox & Friends"

Video Clip: http://www.msn.com/en-us/video/watch/jon-peter-lewis-branches-out-to-broadway/vi-AAcXMFu - MSN

"MAR 28 2 YEARS 'American Idol' Alum Jon Peter Lewis Advances on 'The Voice'; Hails Show's 'Nurturing' Nature"

Competing as part of the duo Midas Whale, the season-three grad makes history as the first "Idol" top-10 finalist to advance on the NBC series.

While viewers of The Voice were busy clapping along to the folk duo Midas Whale during season four's blind auditions, astute fans of American Idol may have recognized a familiar face in the group: season-three alum Jon Peter Lewis.

The 33-year old eighth-place finisher is making history of sorts as the first former Idol contestant from the top 10 to compete on both shows. Former Idol semifinalists Frenchie Davis and Jamar Rogers also appeared on the The Voice.

Lewis said he is happy to be on the NBC show and noted there are specific differences in the program’s overall vibe and mission from the iconic FOX show.

"What I love about The Voice is it’s a great place for artists. I was very impressed with how much time they spent with us before the audition and keep getting us ready. I also love that you don’t have to worry about being in front of somebody and having somebody ridicule you in front of the entire country," he said. "There is nothing about The Voice that is insulting to the people on stage. It’s a nurturing environment for talent. And I think that’s nice. Nobody is going to be mean, and there is a nice repertoire among the coaches on stage. They are having a good time with each other."

The Lincoln, Nebraska native formed Midas Whale with friend and collaborator Ryan Hayes, who penned the folk-opera “Deep Love,” and another pal, Garrett Sherwood. Both men plan to showcase in Los Angeles later this year. He met Hayes in Rexburg, Idaho at a time in his life when he considered leaving the music business altogether.

The singer had previously released two independent albums, Stories from Hollywood and Break the Silence, through Cockaroo Entertainment in conjunction with Adrenaline Music Group. He also hosted an internet show, American Nobody, and guest-blogged several Idol-related columns. But Lewis returned to Idaho with the idea of finishing school -- until he got up at an open mic night and met Hayes, who had personal drama of his own after breaking up with a girlfriend. Hayes poured his misery into his folk opera, impressing the former Idol.

"We met in 2009, and later that year, he had the idea to write a folk-opera. My first impression was, ‘Good luck with that,' because writing a whole piece is a monumental undertaking," he said. Six months later, Hayes showed Lewis a full draft. "I was blown away," said JPL.

While working on the show, the two often wrote together as a duo and were convinced by friends to try out for The Voice. Lewis, who Simon Cowell once famously said “looks like a pen salesman,” said he was at first "skeptical" to return to the reality-show arena, but changed his mind after some reflection.

"Having been there before, I knew what was in store for me. It was a high-pressure environment, and sometimes it’s easy in this type of environment to distort a musical experience," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "Music is so subjective. So when you are in competition, it’s so easy to say that I can do this many runs, so therefore one plus one plus one equals three, so I’m better than you. It’s not really about that. I was hesitant to walk into another environment that might be that. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that what these types of competitions are phenomenal at doing is giving new acts exposure, and this duo that Ryan and I have done is absolutely new, and we are looking for some exposure, and there couldn’t be a better way for us to jumpstart a new project."

It has been 10 years since the Rexburg, Idaho, resident graced the Idol stage, entertaining fans with Elvis Presley’s "A Little Less Conversation" and "Jailhouse Rock" in a season that featured winner Fantasia Barrino and future Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson. Hudson even provided back-up vocals for Lewis on that summer’s Idol tour, as the singer rocked the house with a spirited version of Outkast’s "Hey, Ya."

So how nervous was Lewis when, nearly 30 seconds into the duo’s performance of Johnny Cash’s "Folsom Prison Blues," none of the coaches -- Usher, Shakira, Adam Levine or Blake Shelton -- had turned their chairs around?

"I was having minor panic attacks in the beginning of the song," he confessed. "We made it through the entire first verse without anybody turning around. I started to feel flush in the face and kind of panicky and starting to dread the moment."

But then, an unlikely chair turned: Usher's. "I was preparing for anything, but I knew we had our moment coming, and it came," Hayes said.

So why didn’t they go with Usher, or country guy Shelton, when it came time to choose? Hayes said that, in the end, Levine made more sense.

"Blake didn’t make a case for himself. His first question was, 'What genre are you guys?' and that didn’t make sense. Folk music has been around longer than country," Hayes said. "Adam showed an elevated sense of understanding and awareness, and by listening to him, it seemed he had a plan for what he wanted to do with us. He’s a band guy and he’s a person that loves to do arrangements, he likes to get creative and do things like that. He’s also a charming guy and understanding and I felt like he had a path that we could walk down and take us further into the show."

The choice to join Levine’s team is another historical moment for the show -- up until this season, the Maroon 5 frontman had never had a duo on his team before.

"We’re making history," cracked Hayes. "We’re the first duo Adam ever had, first American Idol finalist and also the first accordion worn on stage."

Another first for Hayes, who said he doesn’t watch reality television and in fact kind of "despises" it: he was pleasantly surprised by the show’s warm vibe. Said Hayes: "The production team made it clear from day one that they weren’t going to tolerate any backbiting or any of that competitive, but negative behavior. From the beginning, there were people who were sent home because they had this terrible nature to quarrel. What you have now is a group of people who are serious about music. They are not exploiting some teenager who doesn’t know who they are yet -- it’s about people engaged in what they know, what they are and already developed and jump into something bigger." - The Hollywood Reporter


Still working on that hot first release.



Musicians Jon Peter Lewis and Ryan Hayes met during an open mic in 2009 and immediately began to collaborate. Lewis and Hayes went on to form the popular folk duo, Midas Whale in 2012 and collaborated on a rock opera titled Deep Love

Influenced by Simon and Garfunkel, The Everly Brothers and Van Morrison, Lewis and Hayes auditioned for NBC's hit show The Voice in 2012. Auditioning with a folk version of "Folsom Prison Blues" the duo received the coveted 4-chair turn by Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Usher and Shakira. Levine was impressed with Lewis and Hayes saying, "You guys are one of the more charming, talented duos I have ever seen perform. That's the truth." Midas Whale was praised throughout the season for their superb harmonies, infectious energy and humor.

Following the duo's performances in 2013 on The Voice, Midas Whale began work on a debut album and released it's first original music video,"Howling at the Moon" with a live recording. 

On May 5, 2013, Midas Whale launched a successful Kickstarter Campaign to fund their independent record. Thanks to their enthusiastic fans, the campaign funded over 100% in just 3 weeks.

Midas Whale released the debut album. Sugar House, on February 11, 2014.  The record is a blend of rough and dirty sounds of early Western music with the pure bright harmonies of folk music.  Ryan Hayes describes the album as a "sonic adventure through the American West."  All original songs were written and arranged by Hayes and Lewis. 

Prior to their success as a folk duo, in 2010 Hayes and Lewis launched a rock opera titled Deep Love. The stage was show opened first in Idaho to rave reviews and has since become a highly anticipated event selling out theaters throughout the country.  On Feb 3, 2014 Lewis and Hayes released a live recording of the rock show's 23 original songs.

In 2015 Deep Love was selected from hundreds of candidates by a grand jury of Tony Award-winning directors and producers to be one of ten featured musicals produced for the News Link Project of the New York Musical Theatre Festival. (NMTF).

About Jon Peter Lewis

Born in Lincoln, Nebraska Jon Peter Lewis is a celebrated singer-songwriter who is also known for his successful run on American Idol as a finalist in season three. Before forming the folk duo Midas Whale, Lewis released three solo albums, including Break The Silence, which received the "Critic's Choice" review from Billboard Magazine. In 2010, Lewis joined the team of Deep Love as co-producer and director to help develop and launch the production nationwide. Lewis also stars in the stage show as lead character Old Bones.

About Ryan Hayes

Ryan Hayes, a Colville, Washington native, began writing music in his early teens. Following a career as a professional geologist, he went on to write the rock opera,  Deep Love, in 2010 with friend and musician, Garrett Sherwood. From its humble beginnings in Jon Peter Lewis' living room, Deep Love has grown into an multi-city, theatrical production garnering overwhelming support and praise. Hayes formed the duo Midas Whale with Jon Peter Lewis in 2013.

Contact: Judy Lieber judylieber@gmail.com