California dreamin’

Mahtomedi H.S. graduates to record with Grammy-nominated producer

Jamison Murphy, top, and bandmates Brian Johnson, left, Craig Rosell, Matt Peterson, Leng Moua, and Aaron Rosell are about to get the opportunity to record with grammy-nomiminated producer Warren Huart in Los Angeles. They are currently doing a fundraiser to offset some of their recording costs. (Submitted photos)
Bandmates Brian Johnson, left, Craig Rosell, Matt Peterson, Jamison Murphy, Leng Moua, and Aaron Rosell are about to get the opportunity to record with grammy-nomiminated producer Warren Huart in Los Angeles. They are currently doing a fundraiser to offset some of their recording costs. (Submitted photo)

They say dreams are born in Los Angeles and a band with a local connection is about to take a first step to fulfilling their dream with help from their fans.

Mahtomedi High School graduates Craig (2006) and Aaron Rosell(2008), along with Matt Peterson (2007) are spread out over the state of Minnesota but will travel with other band members and Lakeville’s Jamison Murphy to Los Angeles in mid-September to record a debut CD with Warren Huart. Huart, who works with bands including Aerosmith, Augustana, The Fray and other well-known artists, has offered to work with  Murphy and his six-member band to record a CD for $5,000. The group recently started an site, which specializes in crowd-funding, to raise money for their dream.

Murphy is a singer/songwriter who has been pursuing his dream of singing professionally for 10 years. The band was put together more than a year ago with connections made at college. Peterson introduced the Rosells to Murphy. Craig Rosell plays drums, Aaron Rosell plays piano and Peterson plays bass, The two other band members are Brian Johnson and Leng Moua.

The group hopes to raise at least $3,000 to help with some of the production costs, mainly paying for the recording time. As of Tuesday morning, they were more than halfway to their goal.

“To be honest, we’re shooting for the moon here. We chose the $3,000 number because I didn’t want to ask for too much from my fans and the donations have been rolling in from family and friends right now. It could be a $10,000 project when it comes to publication and promotion,” Murphy said.

If the money isn’t raised, Murphy said he will be flat broke and have to put his dreams on hold after the recording, but the band is overwhelmed with the support they’ve received.

“We’ve known all along that we have this great support system, but to see it in this physical way it’s quite an experience. It’s just like, ‘Holy Cow. You do support and love me,’ That’s nothing new for us of course but it’s a re-realization I guess,” Peterson said.

Murphy was coincidentally discovered by someone online with his YouTube cover video of “You Found Me” by The Fray. The man invited Murphy to meet The Fray when they performed in Minneapolis in 2009. They kept in touch and when Murphy went out to California shortly after college in the summer of 2011 to network with music industry professionals, the man sent his information along to Huart who called.

“Unfortunately, he (Huart) called as I was leaving but I’d be coming back to do some modeling thing the next weekend and I asked if we could meet then,” Murphy said.

The two met and Huart asked Murphy to do an impromptu performance, then offered to work with him.

“He said, you’re a college grad and you’re probably broke but I can record you for x amount of money, and it was a lot of money, at least in my world. In his world, I’m sure it was chump change, but I figured I could save up some of that money modeling.” Murphy said.

After spending time in New York City, Murphy didn’t make as much as he expected and seriously considered passing up the opportunity until Huart offered the $5,000 recording price, a significant decrease from what he had originally offered.

Reactions to the upcoming trip are mixed within the band. Some are nervous, others excited, and others are waiting to believe it when they see it, according to Murphy. But overall, they’re very grateful.

“As indie musicians, we’re built on a lot of people having faith in you when sometimes you don’t have the faith in yourself. And with Warren, it’s a huge act of faith that he’s putting so much in to us.” said Aaron Rosell.

Over the last year the band, due to living in different places across Minnesota, has only performed two live shows together. And this summer is the first time all of them have been in the same state. Most of their work is done via the Internet as is the pre-production work that’s currently going on with Huart.

“It’s kind of different than the other groups I’ve played with.” said Craig Rosell. “This is more about having fun and more about the music. We do everything well and it doesn’t feel like we’re picking out the parts, though we do that too. When we play it’s like we’re doing something bigger than ourselves you know.”

Even when the CD is made, the next objective for the band would be to be picked up by a record label, so their work isn’t completely finished yet. To help the band achieve their first step in their dream and to hear some of their songs, visit their Indiegogo website at The online fundraiser runs through Aug. 11.

Contact Avery Cropp at [email protected]