Five Cent Stand's debut full-length record, Bitter Kiss, enticingly surprises listeners with a thrilling new sound while simultaneously drawing them to anticipate each consecutive track. After one listener heard the album from start to finish for the first time, he commented exuberantly, "I feel like I've been on a great adventure and haven't quite landed back home yet." Fresh, original, and delightful, the style of music has an acoustic pop flavor mixed with folkatronic embellishments. Filled with intensely singable hooks and intriguing lyrics, the listener wonders if Five Cent Stand's main goal is to just have a good time. The producer of the record, Joshua Moore of Caedmon's Call, describes one track from Bitter Kiss as "the happiest music EVER." Yet pitted against this carefree and unashamed fun, Five Cent Stand demands intimacy and realness. Reality in faith and in feeling: Truth that cuts to the core of humanity, artistry, and Christianity. The band, composed of two founding members, Seth and Amber, originated in 2003 when Seth and Amber began playing and writing Christian music together. The two met in Waco, TX, while attending Baylor University. At this time, both musicians had dealt a hand at trying other careers in music, from film scoring to musical theater. Seth grew up in Springfield, Missouri, as a "preacher's kid," stowed away in his room with the door locked, living out a childhood rock star fantasy with a tennis racket turned air guitar. Once he grew tall and the bed that was his stage became too small, he decided to put down the tennis racket and sit down to a piano. At the age of 16, he found that playing the piano was instinctive and went on to obtain a bachelor and master's degree in Piano Performance. From hours in the practice room rehearsing Liszt and Chopin, he realized that what he really wanted was to write music. He obtained a second master's degree in Music Composition from Baylor University and studied under Pulitzer Prize winning teachers such as John Corigliano, Samuel Adler, and William Bolcam. Seth found himself being commissioned for various compositions internationally performed by artists from the San Francisco Grand Opera, Houston Grand Opera and Vienna Academy of Music. In addition, he wrote, scored, and directed an independent film entitled "A Day in a Life." Consequently, one often finds film integrated and fused with the music at Five Cent Stand shows. Born in Oklahoma City, Amber was nurtured in a Church of Christ upbringing where instruments were not allowed in the church, and naturally, she was immediately drawn to the art of singing. Her favorite musical group as a young girl was Acapella, because, well, that's the only group that the church would allow in for concerts. However, Amy Grant's record Age to Age somehow made it's way into her family's cassette player, which eventually was traded out for Amy's record Lead Me On. Amber found her inspiration in the mother of Contemporary Christian music, and thus began the journey to becoming a Christian artist. High school and college led Amber to her love for musical theater. She became the performer on stage she had always dreamt of being. Lead roles in musicals such as How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and "Maria" in West Side Story shaped Amber's musical career throughout her early twenties. She rigidly trained and became schooled in multiple dance forms, from ballet to jazz to tap. She toured with the musical theater group, Baylor Showtime for three years, traveling with the group to cities such as New Orleans and Chicago, and even to countries abroad such as Austria. But for both Seth and Amber, something was missing in their musical endeavors. The yearning to create music toward their Maker called them to a different life. Five Cent Stand desires that through their music, people will see God. This is their ultimate goal in writing and performing. Seth comments, "God is the ultimate Creator, and He has made men in His own image, equipped with the gift of creativity. That's why I write music, because it is in my soul to do so. And my hope is for those that hear it to be drawn closer to their Creator." Amber's love for Christ and the life he gives is apparent when she is deeply immersed in doing what she loves to do most: sing. It is there that she feels God's pleasure. After watching Amber perform, one fan said, "I love it when Amber sings. For a moment I see part of her soul, and I see her passion for God." After producing the EP entitled "Whadoyou Say" in 2004, Five Cent Stand collaborated with producer Joshua Moore to complete their debut record, Bitter Kiss. Five Cent Stand is often joined by a fantastically talented group of guys: Joey McFarland on violin, Eric Evans on guitar, piano, and hammer dulcimer, Tim Wigley on bass, and Randy Holsapple on Hammond organ. These musicians add a thrilling dimension to Five Cent Stand shows, and Seth and Amber enjoy rocking out with these incredible musicians. Currently Five Cent Stand lives in Houston, Texas where they lead worship at Williams Trace Baptist Church in Sugar Land.
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