The Strange Familiar
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The Strange Familiar

Bayonne, New Jersey, United States | MAJOR

Bayonne, New Jersey, United States | MAJOR
Band Pop Adult Contemporary


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Welcome to our new feature EF’s Heard On TV where we tell you about the bands and artists we’ve discovered whilst watching our favourite TV shows. We all know that some of the best undiscovered artists can be found on the soundtrack of a hit TV show. Over the years Brothers and Sisters has given us Allie Moss whilst Dawson’s Creek was responsible for introducing us to Tara Maclean and Paula Cole.

To kick off our new feature we’re introducing you to The Strange Familiar. Consisting of vocalist and pianist Kira Leyden, guitarist Jeff Andrea, bassist Frank Freeman and drummer Nicholas Sainato, the four-piece band originally formed in 2006. Formerly of Ohio band Jaded Era, Kira and Jeff (who are also married) decided to form The Strange Familiar as they continued to search for musical success.

Where did we hear them you ask? On a recent episode of The Vampire Diaries where their song Redemption made us want to find out more about the band. Taken from their album Chasing Shadows, the track is an emotive exploration of finding hope during the darkest of times. A perfect fit for The Vampire Diaries linking into the personal demons Elena and her friends fight week-in, week-out. Take a listen to the track below:

In the US The Strange Familiar first came to the attention of the nation when they participated in the fifth season of America’s Got Talent in 2010 reaching the Top 48. Prior to that band members Kira Leyden and Jeff Andrea co-wrote Ashlee Simpson’s hit single Invisible in 2003. In 2008 they released their debut EP You Can’t Go Back followed by the independently released album This Is Gravity in 2009.

Following their stint on America’s Got Talent, the band signed to Krian Music Group to record and release their 2012 major label debut Chasing Shadows. Containing 11 tracks the album fuses pop and rock with singer-songwriter sensibilities. Feeling both intimate and epic, the album is one of the finest collections we’ve heard in some time. Kira’s vocals recall Sarah McLachlan with a weightier punch as displayed on album opener Runaway Heart.

Lead single Being Me may reference Janis Joplin and Lady Gaga but its message is altogether more serious reinforcing the idea that being yourself is the key to happiness in life. Chasing Shadows is full of inspirational moments that listeners will find comfort in as well as the strength to face their own demons. Shelter finds Kira yearning for someone to protect her from the harsh realities of life whilst It’s Easier To Walk Away pleads with a lover to walk away from a relationship rather than reveal that he has fallen out of love.

Album closer Alibi strips everything down allowing us to enjoy Kira’s gorgeous voice accompanied only by piano and strings. The end result is emotive and haunting but also life affirming as Kira sings ‘just hold your head up high, you have an alibi in me’.

With material this strong The Strange Familiar deserves worldwide success and getting their music heard through the likes of The Vampire Diaries is sure to help. Since discovering them we’ve had Chasing Shadows on repeat and we suggest you look the band up if you want a new music recommendation.

Keep up-to-date with The Strange Familiar on their official website or check them out on Facebook at - MUZU.TV

The Strange Familiar releases new album

n The Strange Familiar will celebrate the release of their debut full-length album, Chasing Shadows, with their hometown April 27 at Musica in Akron.

Highlights in the band's career include songs sung by pop star Ashlee Simpson and featured tracks on ABC Family's "The Secret Life of the American Teenager," "Switched at Birth" and the current season of the hit CW show, "The Vampire Diaries."

The concert will start at 9:30 p.m., with doors opening at 7:30 p.m.

Musica is at 51 E. Market St. in downtown Akron.

For details, visit or> - Fall News Press

Kira Leyden and guitarist Jeff Andrea, the husband and wife songwriting team behind Strange Familiar, make the kind of timeless music that long careers are built on. They have been writing and performing together since they met in grammar school in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. "I was in seventh grade when I saw Jeff's band playing (Pearl Jam's) 'Yellow Ledbetter' at our school dance," Leyden recalls. "The singer forgot the words and walked off the stage, and I remember thinking, 'I could do better than that!'". A life-long partnership sprang from that serendipitous beginning, forged by their mutual love of music and each other. By the time they were in high school, their band had morphed into Jaded Era, one of the top indie groups in the Akron, Ohio area.

When Jaded Era splintered, Kira and Jeff headed to the Leyden family basement, where they set up a studio and started writing songs that would become the foundation of The Strange Familiar. After months of performing around town and experimenting with new sounds, The Strange Familiar decided to make the move to Los Angeles.

Here to make you more "familiar" with the "strange" is Kira Leyden.

MS: Hey, Kira, you and The Strange Familiar went to SXSW recently, correct?

KL: Yeah, we actually got back last week. It was a really good time!

MS: Cool! Was that your first time there?

KL: It was out first time there and the first time we've ever played there as well.

MS: Bear with me, I have never been to SXSW; so, what nights did you play and what was it in conjunction with?

KL: We played Thursday for a label showcase and we also played Friday afternoon for a radio station. That was really cool as well. All the people there knew our music video for "Being Me" already, so it was really fun! People would come up to me and go, "I love your video," and I would be, like, "How do you know who I am?" (laughs)

MS: The video is fun. I was listening to the lyrics and you say in them, "Oh, I'll never belt it like Janis Joplin." I don't know, I think you belt it pretty well on your own terms.

KL: Well, I'm not smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. That gives you a certain amount of grit, you know. (laughs)

MS: Since you made the reference, are you a Joplin fan?

KL: Definitely, it's one of those things. You know you are not going to be that person. I'm not that much of a badass.

MS: Yeah, Janis was a pretty big badass. Another cool lyric you sing in "Being Me" is "And I've been turned down by every big wig in town." Why do you think they finally said "yes."

KL: I think that goes along with the song. We have been working together fourteen years creating music together. After all that time I had met a lot of the top people in the industry and had meetings with them. Because we became so OK with being what we are... I think that when you are yourself you are genuine and people take notice even more. Also, this video was just so off-the-cuff, by the seat of our pants. When you totally let go, it is just amazing freedom and people can feel that.

MS: That usually works best for me, too, when it just "flies out of your butt," so to speak.

KL: (laughs) Yeah.

MS: How much of a career boost do you think having a song, "Courage Is," on "The Secret Life of the American Teenager," gave you guys?

KL: We were shocked by the response. The song was shown every few minutes as a promo on ABC Family that summer. People wrote us letters saying the song had changed their lives and really made a difference, it helped them get through really tough places. One night I got a call really late at night, and it was from our bass player telling me, "We're top ten on iTunes!" I was like, "What?!" (laughs) We had no idea it had such a reach. We checked it five times and we were like, "There we are, next to John Mayer," which was awesome!

MS: You have an album coming out, "Chasing Shadows".

KL: I'm so excited! "Chasing Shadows" is coming out on April 10th.

MS: Cool, tell me wha - Chorus & Verse

The Recording Academy Texas Chapter played host for GRAMMYs On The Road At South by Southwest during the conference's 26th annual installment from March 9–18 in Austin, Texas. The Chapter conducted exclusive backstage interviews with artists participating during the music portion of the conference, including indie rock duo Crocodiles and indie pop/rock band the Strange Familiar.

The Strange Familiar discussed their forthcoming new album, Chasing Shadows, the inspiration behind their song "Echoes," musical influences, and social media, among other topics.

"Social media is so important for bands nowadays," said the Strange Familiar guitarist Jeff Andrea. "I probably spend as much time playing guitar as I do on Facebook … it really helps us connect to our fans. The instant feedback [is] really great."

Hailing from Akron, Ohio, the Strange Familiar originated as the songwriting project of husband/wife duo Andrea and Kira Leyden (piano/vocals). One of the duo's first musical breaks came in 2006 when their song "Invisible" was covered by Ashlee Simpson and reached No. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100. Andrea and Leyden subsequently moved to Los Angeles where they met fellow Ohio natives Frank Freeman (bass) and Nicholas Sainato (drums), and began performing locally as the Strange Familiar. In 2008 the group released their first EP, You Can't Go Back, featuring the song "Courage Is…," which landed placement in the TV show "The Secret Life Of The American Teenager." The group followed up with This Is Gravity in 2009. Set for release on April 10, Chasing Shadows is a "lyrical declaration of renewed hope," according to the band's website. The Strange Familiar are set to embark on their first national tour in support of Chasing Shadows later this year -

The folks in The Strange Familiar have already built up an audience by way of television appearances and having their songs recorded by other artists. So this, their debut full-length, will be warmly welcomed with open arms by legions of music listeners. The folks in this band are originally from Akron, Ohio but eventually made the decision to move to Los Angeles in order to pursue their dreams of success in the world of music. Produced by Brian Malouf (who has produced Dave Matthews, Madonna , and many other well-known celebrities), Chasing Shadows is a super slick album polished to absolute perfection. These folks aren't playing artsy stuff for a small audience...they're playing exceedingly commercial pop music for the masses. But the truth is that they do it really well. These eleven compositions are smart, well-written, and feature nice smooth melodies. You can bet this band will have lots of success with hummable pop tracks like "Run Away Heart," "Being Me," "Where I Belong," and "Alibi." -

An Akron pop group returns with a new name, a new album, and a new outlook

For years, Kira Leyden tried to fit her bands into Northeast Ohio's music scene, which can be somewhat stifling if you don't play metal, punk, hard rock, or some variation on them. First with Jaded Era and now with the Strange Familiar, Leyden, along with bandmate and husband Jeff Andrea, has made the type of polished, radio-ready pop that dominates the charts whenever R&B boys and girls are too busy to get one of their hip-hop pals on the line. It's the kind of music you really don't hear too often in local clubs, outside of a few cover bands or DJs spinning a couple tunes for the drunken bridesmaids party.

"We started out playing covers of No Doubt with these death-metal bands," says Leyden. "We felt pressure trying to fit in, like How do we rock hard enough to play with these other bands? But we finally found our own thing."

The Strange Familiar are set to release their full-length debut, Chasing Shadows, next month. It's been a long time coming: Six years ago, Leyden and Andrea formed the band from the ashes of Jaded Era — the same time Ashlee Simpson took a cover version of their song "Invisible" to No. 21.

They've stayed busy, placing the song "Courage Is ..." — from their 2008 EP You Can't Go Back — on The Secret Life of the American Teenager (the show starring the actress who played George Clooney's oldest daughter in The Descendants) and appearing on America's Got Talent two years ago.

They also relocated from Cuyahoga Falls to Los Angeles around the same time things started heating up. "We wanted to get a fresh start with the new band," says Leyden. "We stayed out there four years, trying to find our voice. But we got too comfortable there — we wanted to shake things up again."

Now back in Cuyahoga Falls, and with Chasing Shadows set to come out on April 10, the group is revving up with a new single, "Being Me," which is making the airplay rounds from MTV to radio. They just played South by Southwest and have a CD-release show at Musica on April 27. In other words: They're doing just fine being themselves these days. "When we were in Jaded Era, we thought we had to do it all," says Leyden. "But we peeled all that off. It's OK to be who we are." - Scene Magazine

The Strange Familiar is one of the stellar bands playing for West of the Fest at the Key Bar on W 6th street tomorrow. TSF is Kira Leyden Andrea (lead singer/keys), her man Jeff Andrea (guitar) , Frank Freeman (bass) and Nicholas Sainatos (drums). Kira has known Jeff since grade school, and they started making music/tunes with Jeff since they were teenagers. Their new album 'Chasing Shadows' is expected to drop March 27th featuring the single 'Being Me'. The video was shot on Hollywood Boulevard. Check it out..

I'm glad that Kira didn't listen to Pierce Morgan's advice when The Strange Familiar was on 'America's Got Talent' season 5. She and her man Jeff with Frank and Nicholas make a GREAT TEAM!! We get to see them in action at West of the Fest on Friday! THEY WILL ROCK!! - Mix 94.7

Kira Leyden and Jeff Andrea of The Strange Familiar took some time to answer a few prompts for the site, enjoy!

We are strange because...we honestly aren't all that strange. In our old band, Jaded Era, we pretty much tried it all - from making an entrance at our live shows coming out of coffins and space pods on stage - (way before Lady Gaga even thought of pulling a stunt like that!) to doing back flips and Jeff playing guitar solos with his teeth! It was fun for a while, but we began to see that it was all about putting on an act. When we started The Strange Familiar, we wanted to do something totally different, and it took me a while to realize that the only way to be truly unique was to just be myself. Our new single, "Being Me" is all about that realization. In the music video I walk down Hollywood Blvd and peel off layers of costumes I actually wore on stage in our old band. It felt liberating to shed the wigs, jackets, heels, makeup and jewelry to end up just as I am at the close of the video. It's a metaphor for our music; at first we tried to throw in the kitchen sink, but we slowly realized that our songs don't need any gimmicks.

We are familiar because...we're the kind of band that wants to connect with our fans. The best way we can do that is to write music that means something - songs that reach straight to people's hearts. When our song, "Courage Is" was featured in promos for "The Secret Life of The American Teenager", we received tons of emails from fans. They shared their struggles, tragedies, and their own, real-life stories of courage. This inspired us to keep writing, to keep making music - even when we were faced with challenges - even when we wanted to give up. Knowing that our music can make a difference in someone's life, that is what keeps us going. Growing up, music helped us through the tough times. We want to have a relationship with our fans - to be familiar - to be the soundtrack of their lives.

With our music, we are trying to...make it about something more than "money, sex, and controversy" - to quote "Being Me". Obviously, as songwriters, most of our inspiration comes from struggles or difficult experiences, but we always strive to turn things around, bringing a positive message of hope and love. We feel our music is very "cinematic" and helps to tell a story. We want to move people, and we've been really lucky to experience this first hand with some great placements in TV shows like Secret Life, The Biggest Loser, and Brothers and Sisters.

We will consider ourselves successes as musicians when we...are still performing and writing songs years from now - regardless of how "successful" we've been.

Next we' releasing our new album, "Chasing Shadows", (on Krian Music Group) nationwide on April 10th. We are also really excited to be driving to Austin Texas to perform at SXSW! After that, we're looking to tour more in the Midwest. If you can't make it out to one of our live shows, we will be performing songs and chatting with fans every Monday at 9:00 PM (EST) on - so come check it out and say hi!
- Alright, I'm Wrong

With a new CD soon to be released, The Strange Familiar performs during Fox 8 News In The Morning. - Fox8

The Strange Familiar’s second full-length studio album entitled Chasing Shadows perfectly illustrates the meaning behind the band’s name sake. Pulling from a variety of musical styles, the Strange Familiar pulled together a solid album. Strong female vocals from Kira Leyden along with creative song writing made Chasing Shadows an album to look out for.

The Strange Familiar benefits from a lead singer with excellent range and tone along with a polished sound, which is no doubt a result of her lifetime of music training. Her husband, Jeff Andrea, is the lead guitarist and he has solid abilities, which is evident. Certainly, the song writing benefits from the bond of their marriage.

The album is full of songs about love and emotions, but also has some tracks that are meant to be clever and perhaps even funny. The track “Being Me” is one such clever song, using popular song lyrics in sarcasm, which is always interesting when coupled with a strong female voice. Casting Shadows has some interesting drumbeats and bass playing, which makes the band have that “Strange” sound. Also, they use some interesting back-up vocals with heavy use of additional effects, however, the sound never gets obnoxious or bothersome.

Overall, this album is worth checking out when it dropos on March 27th. The follow-up to their first album, This Is Gravity, will draw this young band more attention. It also doesn’t hurt when you wrote the song for a popular ABC Family program. Look for The Strange Familiar to get more acclaim with their new album, Chasing Shadows. - Ultra Vulgar Super Fiend

New favorite band.

I can’t quite put my finger on who she sounds like, if anyone in the tumblrverse can figure out, please let me know. I really hope this band doesn’t turn in to a Paramore situation, they were actually good at one point in time.. did I just say that? yeah…. -

The Strange Familiar, led by Kira Leyden and Jeff Andrea, have gained recognition for their wondrous songwriting. One of their hits, “Courage Is,”exemplifies the group’s talent for writing.

“Being Me” is the band’s new release for their full-length album, Chasing Shadows. The entire album boasts 12 tracks filled with lyrics of finding hope and hooks that please even those who are unFamiliar to the genre. The album is defined as a story of struggle and searching to find happinnes in the midst of false dreams.

The lead single, “Being Me,” is a groovy track and definitely filled with joy of one’s own self.It’s almost like she’s speaking to those of us who have failed to fill the gaps between us and those that bring darkness into our lives. Kira has a little Meaghan Smith going on with her voice which helps put pair the mood with the lyrics.

She hasn’t kissed Katy Perry, she hasn’t sung a duet with Gaga, and she probably will never be as cool as The Black Keys, but she’s definitely a talented singer. - Dear Song In My Head

The Strange Familiar will release their debut album, Chasing Shadows, on March 27 via Krian Music Group.

Led by Kira Leyden and Jeff Andrea, the indie-pop outfit, has racked up quite the resume, despite having not released an LP. Thus far they have performed on network television (America’s Got Talent) and written hit records that have been recorded by major artists (Ashlee Simpson’s “Invisible”) and their single “Courage Is” was a Top 10 iTunes success after being featured as the promo theme for ABC Family’s The Secret Life of the American Teenager.

Chasing Shadows, which is produced by Brian Malouf (Dave Matthews, Madonna, Everclear, Lisa Loeb), tells a story of struggle and the pursuit of happiness.

“After moving to LA, living on my own for the first time and focusing on my quest to become a recording artist and performer, I started to feel all of this pressure and fear of failure. It took a toll on me and I ended up closing myself off from everybody, stopped writing songs and didn’t want to leave my home. It took a long time for me to find my way back to myself, but the result is this record and songs that express a sense of hope after debilitating fear,” says Leyden. - Everything But

New York, NY (Top40 Charts/ ABC Public Relations) The Strange Familiar, lead by Kira Leyden (vocalist, keyboard) and Jeff Andrea (lead guitarist), garnered early critical success with their Top 10 iTunes hit "Courage Is" (featured as the promo theme on ABC Family's The Secret Life of the American Teenager) and Ashlee Simpson's hit song Invisible

A special VIP Performance and Video Premiere for The Strange Familiar's first single "Being Me."

Thursday, January 26, 2012
Cocktails courtesy of Krian Music Group: 6:30pm-8:30pm
Showtime: 8:00 PM Sharp
* RSVP is required *

Hiro Ballroom @ The Maritime Hotel
88 9th Ave (between 16 & 17th St)
New York, NY -

in Debut Single & Video "Being Me"

Krian Music Group announces the debut single release, "Being Me," from indie pop outfit The Strange Familiar in advance of their upcoming album, Chasing Shadows. The single is now available digitally everywhere, including iTunes.

stream "Being Me"

The Strange Familiar, lead by Kira Leyden (vocalist, keyboard) and Jeff Andrea (lead guitarist) garnered early critical success with their Top 10 iTunes hit "Courage Is" (featured as the promo theme on ABC Family's The Secret Life of the American Teenager) and Ashlee Simpson's hit song Invisible. The duo, having met in grade school in Akron, OH, started writing together when they were both 14 years old and have been collaborating ever since, crafting The Strange Familiar's captivating sound.

The band's new single shows off their affinity for penning poptastic tunes, but also has a more serious message about being true to oneself. "Being Me" was written to lyrically interpret the idea of peeling away the layers of who you are not. "I was inspired to write the song after I watched the movie, The Runaways." Leyden explains, "I wanted to express the fact that I cannot be Joan Jett, Janis Joplin or anyone else. That had already been done. The only way to be truly unique is to be who I really am."

"Being Me" is a declaration of independence, more confident than self-effacing, with a smoky acoustic groove leading up to a jubilant chorus that shows off Leyden's soulful upper register.

The accompanying video follows Leyden as she saunters down Hollywood Boulevard and physically peels away layers of jackets, dresses, wigs, ties and make-up to reveal the low-key, Midwest persona she truly embodies.

The wardrobe used in the single's music video was collected from Leyden's old stage costumes that her mom kept over the years.

"The song evolved and became a double meaning for us," Leyden says, "After years of trying to get a reaction out of the audience with outrageous clothes, I finally realized I'm much more interesting just being myself."

About Krian Music Group

Krian Music Group is a full service independent record label group based in New York City. The label mission is to fully support, develop, protect and collect on behalf of our artists. Across a diverse genre of music, we work to further our artists' long term careers by finding new and exciting opportunities for their commercial success across multiple platforms with the ability to provide a solid foundation for that growth. -

Like a certain LA Music Blogger (me!), Kira and the Strange Familiar got their start in Ohio before their love of music led them to make the trek out to LA, and I gotta say, their new song “Being Me” makes me more than a little homesick.
The lyrics pay homage to the band’s home state (“I don’t like to be mean / Guess that’s a Midwestern theme”), and the lack of pretenses the group brought west with them is refreshing. While the song itself was enough to hook me, there was no way was I going to click away from the video without discovering what the singer looked like under those layers of sequined clothes, fake eyelashes, and multicolored wigs. Definitely check this one out, and if you want more from The Strange Familiar, their new EP, Chasing Shadows, will be out this March. - LA Music Blog


Chasing Shadows (Krian Music Group, April 2012)



The Strange Familiar, led by Kira Leyden (vocalist, keyboard) and Jeff Andrea (lead guitarist) garnered early critical success with their Top 10 iTunes hit "Courage Is" (featured as the promo theme on ABC Family's The Secret Life of the American Teenager) and Ashlee Simpson's hit song Invisible. Kira & Jeff, having met in grade school in Akron, OH, started writing together when they were both only 14 years old and have been collaborating ever since, crafting the band's captivating sound and creating the kind of timeless music that long careers are built on. Completing the lineup are friends and fellow Ohio-bred musicians Nicholas Sainato (drums) and Frank Freeman (bass).

Their songs have also been featured on The CW's mega hit series The Vampire Diaries, ABC Family's Pretty Little Liars, Switched at Birth, ABC's Brothers and Sisters, NBC's The Biggest Loser, Teen Nick's Degrassi, and the Lifetime Movie Network's The 19th Wife, to name a few.

TSF's new album, Chasing Shadows, shows off the band's ability to write inspiring, heartfelt songs that connect with their audience on a deep emotional level. Entertainment-Focus Magazine raves: "The album fuses pop and rock with singer-songwriter sensibilities. Feeling both intimate and epic, the album is one of the finest collections weve heard in some time."

Chasing Shadows was produced / mixed by Brian Malouf (Michael Jackson, Dave Matthews, Madonna, Everclear). Their first single, "Being Me" is a declaration of independence, more confident than self-effacing, with a smoky acoustic groove leading up to a jubilant chorus that shows off Leyden's soulful upper register. The accompanying video, which is heavily featured on MTVu and Music choice, follows Leyden as she saunters down Hollywood Boulevard and physically peels away layers of jackets, dresses, wigs, ties and make-up to reveal the low-key, Midwest persona she truly embodies.Their song "Redemption", one of the most powerful songs on the album, carries a message that no matter how difficult or dark life becomes, there is always hope.

Having recently performed at SXSW Music Festival in Austin, TX the band is gearing up for their first national tour in support of Chasing Shadows.