'We're unapologetically pop,' says Cheri D of Atlanta-based band 13 Stories. 'Our name is about a place people don't go to often enough, but maybe shouldn't be afraid of. A lot of people don't know what to make of us, like they don't know what to make of the idea of the 13th floor, but it's okay to just go see a band that makes you dance your ass off before you leave.' Fronted by sassy Cheri D on keyboards/lead vocals -- backed by feisty guitarist Cat and the firm but funky rhythm section of bassist J3 and drummer Max -- 13 Stories is a quartet whose perky 'FunkyPopSexyHouseRap' shows get a share of catcalls, but mostly calls for encores from audiences who find that 13 is a lucky number for those who like melodic, vivacious rave-ups. 13 Stories performances have garnered the group favorable comparisons to everyone from No Doubt and Blondie to the B-52s, Cibo Matto and Tom Tom Club. The members of 13 Stories have been playing together in different capacities for nearly eight years, but landed on their united approach by almost disbanding. Originally featuring a 'flashy' lead guitarist and more jamming sound, 13 Stories serendipitously stumbled on the group's infectiously energetic, edgy take on pop when making up for the initial guitarist's departure. Determined to move forward and make up for the guitar's absence, the group brought in keyboards and each took on microphones. The lack of lead guitar didn't last long, with Cat picking up the slack in her own unique way, and soon everyone was comfortable in his or her roles. Aching to perform since the age of four, Cheri D has 'so much energy she can't pause it.' She sang in multilingual choirs for years and haunted open mic nights to hone her voice, influenced by '80's pop and folk music. Cat is a rock 'n' roll naïf, ripping natural leads with coltish energy and few influences outside of a little Billy Joel and obscure salsa bands, feeding off her band mates enthusiasm. J3 is the perfectionist, most widely versed in winding genres and setting the steady pace while always mixing things up. And inspired by country and heavy metal Max, is both the anchor and versatile hype man. 'I am so proud to be a part of 13 Stories,' said Cat. 'We have a solid, killer live show with straight up catchy, power pop songs that you will hum all the way home.' Few of the members' influences directly translate in to 13 Stories' snappy sound, which comes across as a soundtrack for a perpetual spring break patio party. One constant to 13 Stories is the band's key: songs are written in the major scale, intended to keep tempos and spirits high. All of this developed as 13 Stories was brought back by popular demand for a monthly residency at Atlanta's Otherside Lounge, soon weaving hip-hop through new wave and funk through synth-pop. Since then, the group has played throughout the Southeast and beyond including dates at Atlanta's Music Midtown, Charlotte's 600 Festival, West Palm Beach's Clematis by Night street festival, Centennial Olympic Park where they opened for Collective Soul, and even the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, developing as consummate performers with the backbone of a three-piece and unafraid to embrace bubblegum. To go with the uptempo instrumentals, Cheri D writes flirty, but firm lyrics dealing with everything from letting someone take you on a good ride without putting you through a bad trip to a song inspired by social work and appreciating what you have to be joyful about at the end of a week. Each member of 13 Stories delivers parts of the vocals, whether it's echoing, rapping or just sultry whispering. Much of what inspires the band is it's egoless interaction -- crisply captured by Producers Jeff Hodges and Don McCollister (Sister Hazel, Indigo Girls, Shawn Mullins) on 13 Stories' polished debut, FunkyPopSexyHouseRap. Despite having known each other a long time, the members of 13 Stories remain amazed how each can take one another's suggestions that will constantly lead to a bubbly lick or groove that's new, but feels natural. And one thing the entire group can agree on, is that whether on record or on stage, 13 Stories gives it all no matter what all entails. 'We worked, and still work, super hard to deliver an unforgettable, in your face, confident show that's a blast. . . a 1-3 party that we are proud of and the fans love,' said Cheri D. Check 13 Stories out and you'll end up with your own story to tell.
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