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This is what happens to your brain and body when you check your phone before bed

Queens is finally becoming the hottest borough in New York City — and tourists are taking note

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Queens view 7 TrainThe fact that tourists have been increasingly flocking to Brooklyn over Manhattan is well known.

But Queens, one of the most diverse spots in the world, has silently ascended, even going so far as to be named the top travel destination in the US by Lonely Planet for 2015.

The number of people visiting Queens has, in fact, increased by 12% in the last few years. And of the 54 million people who visited New York City, over 12% of them made a stop in Queens. 

With an exploding food scene, unrivaled diversity, and even beautiful beaches, Queens is poised to be the next hotspot in New York City. 

SEE ALSO: Take a tour of the hottest new neighborhood in Berlin

FOLLOW US: BI Travel is on Twitter!

The borough is booming with stylish new hotels like the Z NYC Hotel, The Boro, and Ravel. Five new hotels opened in Queens last year alone, and 47 are in the works.

 

 

 

 



The Z NYC Hotel is in the heart of Long Island City, which is quickly developing into a Miami-like waterfront full of shiny high rises and swanky bars and restaurants. The boutique hotel features requisite hipster touches like mason jars and old timey, vintage décor, as well as unrivaled, jaw-dropping views of Manhattan through floor-to-ceiling windows. Views are best appreciated from the rooftop bar, which has 360-degree views of the skyline.

Check out the Z NYC Hotel here »



In the shadow of the Queensboro Bridge, Ravel is a sleek hotel with an 8,000-square-foot rooftop bar and restaurant; Penthouse808, which has a 40 foot bar as well as epic Manhattan views; and a clubby vibe underscored by live DJs.

Check out Ravel here »



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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The CEO of this $30 billion company gives half of his gross income to charity (VMW)

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VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger

While billionaires like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Salesforce's Marc Benioff, are known for their philanthropy, by one measure VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger could be considered even more generous.

Long ago, he publicly vowed to give an increasing percentage of his gross income to charity and he's now up to 50%, he tells Business Insider.

"I make a lot of money so I can give a lot of money away. We have a small foundation, but most of it we just give directly from our revenue and overall holdings that we have," he says.

"My wife and I set an objective early on to increase the percentage of our gross income every year to charities. We’re almost at 50%. For every dollar I get, I’m giving away 50% of gross income."

He gives away so much of his income that he's "running into tax limitations," he says. "They don’t even let you write it off at that level. Appreciated assets is 30% and cash is 50% of income. So, I’m just accruing this deductible bucket for the future," he laughs.

Most of his donations involve the Christian faith

As a dedicated Christian, his giving tends to involve the church.

For instance, helped establish a Christian university in Sacramento area, William Jessup, "producing next-generation of Christian leaders in business and church leaders."

Another charity is "a church planting organization, where we will plant about 70 churches this year across the Americas, US, and South America." The churches in South America will also help sponsor and support children. 

Pat Gelsinger and Linda GelsingerIn the Bay Area, he's chairman of an organization called Transforming the Bay with Christ, an outreach program that does community service, starts churches, and helps existing churches network and work together.

He also supports Christian-oriented medical teams that participate in disaster relief efforts.

But his favorite charity is one that has sent thousands of kids to school in Africa.

"I have good friends who are leading this work in Africa, literally working in the slums of Nairobi. So we have over 10,000 kids now in schools and most of those kids are born of AIDS parents and now have have one or no parents. Most of them would not have gotten anywhere in life," he says.

"We now have the first seniors going into college this year. Over half of the seniors are now going on to universities in Kenya, four of them are studying abroad on national scholarships. Those are pleasures that bring Linda and I more joy than any human should have," he says.

Guilty pleasures

BMW i8That's not to say that he never indulges himself. For instance, he just bought a new BMW i8, which he characterizes is one of the "most enviable cars out there."

But his true guilty pleasure is his multiple homes.

"I have a home in California. We kept our home in Oregon. We have a vacation home in Oregon. Sometimes I wonder, how many bedrooms does one man need?"

His wife, Linda, splits her time 50/50 between Oregon and the Bay Area, shuttling between grown children and grandchildren in both locations.

Gelsinger was born to very humble circumstances. The son of a farmer and still refers to himself as "a farm boy from Pennsylvania." 

He is grateful to have worked his way into the 1%.

"I live an extremely comfortable lifestyle, compared to where I came from. Some days I feel like just pinching myself. Could it be better? Literally a day that I’m not getting bit by horses or kicked by cows, or sweating in a hey mound, does it get better than that?" 

SEE ALSO: 17 tech CEOs who earn more than 100 times as much as their employees

Join the conversation about this story »

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The rich and powerful are going crazy over these luxury SUVs with bathrooms and cable TV

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'I've never felt more isolated': The man who sold Minecraft to Microsoft for $2.5 billion reveals the empty side of success

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markus persson

It's the dream of many a startup founder: Make something people love and wind up wildly rich, selling the company for billions.

But after you do that, what comes next? It could be a sense of hopeless isolation. 

So says Minecraft founder Markus Persson (aka "Notch") in a strangely revealing series of tweets.

Microsoft bought Minecraft for $2.5 billion almost a year ago, and the founder did not join Microsoft after the sale.

Persson certainly looked like he was having a blast, living the big life. He bought a $70 million mansion, complete with a massive wall of candy, and has been hosting wild parties ever since.

But he's really bored and deeply lonely, he revealed in a series of tweets.

"The problem with getting everything is you run out of reasons to keep trying, and human interaction becomes impossible due to imbalance," he tweeted.

"Hanging out in ibiza with a bunch of friends and partying with famous people, able to do whatever I want, and I've never felt more isolated."

Here's the whole tweet string:

 

 

 

 

 

 

SEE ALSO: This guy was trying to build a jewelry business and wound up with a hugely successful tech company

Join the conversation about this story »

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These 18 photos taken by Ringo Starr show how The Beatles liked to chill and cut up behind the scenes

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ringo starr photography book the beatles

The Beatles were constantly photographed by professionals and obsessive fans alike, but they liked to take their own snapshots, too.

Drummer Ringo Starr especially loved taking photos.

During the group's glory days, Starr was active behind the lens, capturing candid moments on tour, backstage, and in the studio.

His work has been catalogued in a new book, "Photograph," which contains over 250 extremely rare and never-before-seen photographs taken by the world-famous drummer.

Published by Genesis Publications, the book will go on sale September 21.“There’s a lot of pictures in this book, shots of ‘the boys’ that only I could have taken," says Starr in the introduction.

Take a peek at the highlights below, as well as some of Starr's musings from the book.

SEE ALSO: Why 'Mad Men' paid $250,000 to use one Beatles song

This image was taken before Starr joined The Beatles, when he was still playing drums for a band called Rory Storm and the Hurricanes.

Source: "Photograph" Book



Soon after that photo was taken, Starr joined The Beatles. As the band's popularity grew, their days became busy with making music, going to photo shoots, and touring. Here, the band is pictured on a train car between New York City and Washington, DC.

Source: "Photograph" Book



Starr says he feels bad for famous young musicians of this generation who can't escape the media and society completely. "We'd go on holiday and it was great; we could go away, have a good time, and be left alone," he says.

Source: "Photograph" Book



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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11 celebrities falling flat on their faces in front of huge crowds of people

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Singer Madonna falls

Luckily for us "normal" people, when something embarrassing happens — like falling, slipping, or worse — there's no paparazzi around to capture the incident.

But celebrities and famous politicians are not so fortunate.

Here, a collection of some of the most embarrassing falls caught right on camera for everyone to see. If these make you cringe, at least you can rest assured that even Heidi Klum isn't perfect.

(Captions by Sarah Jacobs and Reuters)

SEE ALSO: Here are the 30 most timeless songs of all time according to Spotify users

Actor Jim Carrey falls backward as he and Jeff Daniels present the award for best pop video during the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards.



Singer Kylie Minogue almost falls during her performance at the 25th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at the Waldorf Astoria in New York.



Michelle Obama and singer Stevie Wonder fall as they go up steps to the stage during a rally for then-presidential candidate and US Senator Barack Obama at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, California.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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30 iconic American hotel bars everyone should have a drink at

The 26 most luxurious spas around the world

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Mii Amo Spa Pool

Everyone deserves a little pampering now and then.

We rounded up some of the best spas around the world, from Switzerland to Barbados.

Many of the treatments at these spas incorporate ancient methods and aim to improve guests' mental and physical well being.

So if you're in need of a little TLC, consider planning your next trip to one of these luxurious locales.

 

SEE ALSO: 28 gorgeous rooftop pools to swim in during your lifetime

FOLLOW US: BI Travel is on Twitter!

Hidden among the beauty of Rancho Sante Fe, California, Rancho Valencia is a luxurious resort with Southern California charm. The spa aims to "soothe the spirit, rejuvenate the body and enrich the mind" through yoga, pilates, organic juices, and treatments that use fruits straight from the garden.

Click here to learn more about the spa at Rancho Valencia >



Although part of a hotel, the spa at the Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle in Chiang Rai, Thailand, allows guests to be surrounded by nature. The body, face, and hand and foot treatments take place right in the middle of the region's beautiful bamboo forests.

Click here to learn more about the spa at the Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle >



Voted the No. 1 destination spa by Travel + Leisure, the Rancho La Puerta sits in a valley at the base of Mount Kuchumaa, in the small town of Tecate, Mexico. The ranch has spa treatments that range from massages to facials to wraps, as well as plenty of other activities to keep guests busy such as hiking, cooking, and fitness classes.

Click here to learn more about Rancho La Puerta >



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Try this renowned steakhouse marinade recipe for the ultimate steak

10 awesome architectural wonders dedicated to sports

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London Aquaatics Centre by Zaha Hadid Architects02

The World Architecture Festival is an annual celebration of the most beautifully designed buildings around the globe. 

At this year's festival, held in Singapore in November, the winner of "building of the year" will be selected from a list of 338 designs, 10 of which are dedicated to sports

Included in the mix is a massive arena that recently held the Sochi Olympics, and the intense ski jumps built for the 2015 Nordic World Ski Championships in Falun, Sweden. 

Spanning from Spain down to Australia, these architectural wonders give design buffs and sport fanatics alike a reason to visit. 

SEE ALSO: 27 of the coolest new buildings on the planet

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Adelaide Oval Redevelopment by COX Architecture (Adelaide, Australia)



Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium by Pattern Design (Al Ain, United Arab Emirates)



Fisht Olympic Stadium by Populous (Sochi, Russia)



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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We tried the newest menu item at Arby's — here's the verdict

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arby's sliders pop 1

Snack-sized food is a hot menu trend lately, especially within the fast food industry as Burger King's lauded Chicken Fries made a triumphant return last year.

And finally, Arby's is entering the game with its new sandwich sliders.

There are five varieties: Roast Beef 'n Cheese, Crispy Chicken 'n Cheese, Corned Beef 'n Cheese, Ham 'n Cheese, and Jalapeño Roast Beef 'n Cheese.

These new snack sandwiches are being released on a wave of unprecedented growth for the company.

This month makes 19 consecutive quarters of same-store sales growth for Arby's, according to a company release. 

Business Insider tested the sliders — here's the verdict.

SEE WHY: 3 reasons Arby's business is on fire

SEE ALSO: Arby's mocks itself in a good-humored goodbye ad to 'The Daily Show's' Jon Stewart

It's immediately clear that these sliders are pretty much exactly like regular Arby's sandwiches, just scaled down. So if you're a fan of the big guys, odds are you'll like these.



They come in little holding containers, making them even easier to eat on the go.



The new flavor addition is the Jalapeño Roast Beef 'n Cheese slider, seen here. One of our in-house taste testers told us they were "not wild spicy, but just enough kick."



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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The richest people in the world under 35

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elizabeth holmes theranosSome of the most successful people in the world didn't become millionaires, let alone billionaires, until after age 40. Some, however, experienced the opposite trajectory.

Our friends at Wealth-X, a firm that does research and net-worth valuations on ultra-high net worth individuals, compiled a list of the richest people in the world under 35.

From Norwegian and Chinese heirs to the self-made billionaire founders of Snapchat and Facebook, here are the 20 wealthiest people under 35. 

SEE ALSO: The 25 richest self-made billionaires

SEE ALSO: The 15 most billionaire-dense countries

20. Adrian Cheng

Net worth: $1.4 billion

Cheng, 34, is the executive vice chairman of New World Development, a property-development company based in Hong Kong that was founded by his grandfather in 1970. Cheng joined New World Development in 2006 after earning his bachelor's from Harvard. He also sits on the board of his family's Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group as well as Modern Media Holdings and Giordano International. 

Cheng is founder of K11 Art Foundation, a non-profit that aides young contemporary artists and promotes art education. 

Source: Wealth-X



19. Camilla Hagen Sørli

Net worth: $1.5 billion

Norwegian-born Sørli is the daughter of Stein Erik Hagen, cofounder of supermarket chain RIMI. Hagen went on to found Canica to oversee the family's expanding business portfolio. In 2006, Canica became the largest shareholder of Orkla, a Norway-based industrial conglomerate. 

Thirty-four-year-old Sørli and her two siblings are co-owners and directors of Canica, now one of the largest privately-owned investment companies in Norway. Sørli also serves as chairwoman of Centurie, a marketing and distribution company and entity of Canica.

Source: Wealth-X



18. Caroline Hagen Kjos

Net worth: $1.5 billion

Sørli's younger sister, Caroline, is the chairwoman of Canica, her family's private holding company that recently relocated from Norway to Switzerland. Virtually all of Kjos' fortune is family inheritance.

Kjos, 31, also serves as a board member of Komplett, the largest e-commerce firm in Scandinavia with a total of 13 webshops in the region.

Source: Wealth-X



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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This guy spent 1,000 hours riding Greyhound buses to photograph his 'heroes'

Here's how much time people in US cities waste sitting in traffic

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If you live in the Washington D.C. area, you already know that rush-hour traffic is a disaster.

Now the folks at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute and INRIX confirm that with their 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard. They found that D.C. drivers spend an extra 82 hours (basically two workweeks!) a year sitting behind the wheel, going nowhere, which is almost double the national average of 42 hours of annual delays.

The Washington metropolitan area tops the "worst traffic" list of very large urban areas:

worst cities skitched traffic reportBut that doesn't mean commuting in the rest of these areas is much better. You probably don't feel bad for Beltway drivers if you live in LA, which has the dubious distinction of having six of the top 10 worst gridlocked roads in the country (two others are in New York, two more in Chicago).

Bad traffic isn't limited to the largest of cities either. Despite its smaller population, San Jose beats out all but the top four "very large" areas.

traffic large urban areasIt is still pretty rough in medium sized cities.

traffic report medium citiesThe smallest of urban areas don't have it as bad, but still, an average of 30 extra hours not going anywhere a year isn't fun.

Traffic report small cities

So if you can, take the subway — you still hit delays, but at least you can read. Or ride a bike.

Join the conversation about this story »

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The world's 16 best cities for design

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Beijing China design

Eleven years ago UNESCO launched the Creative Cities Network to recognize cities around the world whose creativity has an impact on their social, economic, and political development.

Of the seven creative fields that name over 69 cities in the network, we've decided to take a look at the cities where design takes center stage. 

From incredible architecture in Bilbao, Spain, to international art and culture festivals in Kobe, Japan, these 16 cities are dedicated to the advancement of creativity through design.

SEE ALSO: Take a tour of the hottest new neighborhood in Berlin

Follow us! Business Insider Travel is on Twitter

Beijing, China is recognized as China's cultural capital. With 119 design colleges and more than 30 Creative Cluster Areas throughout the city, Beijing has a sharp focus on creative economy. As home to the newly built Nairobi Innovation & Design Research Center, the city has set out to enhance women's employment in the design sector through more than 270 creativity workshops.



Berlin, Germany, is home to more than 5,000 design students that belong to five arts universities. Projekt Zukunft has had a key role in promoting the creative economy of Berlin through developing networks, implementing innovative projects, and building platforms for cultural exchanges. Design Mai, The Berlin Photography Festival, and Walk of Fashion are cornerstones of Berlin's burgeoning design scene.



Bilbao, Spain's architecture, industrial and interior design, new technologies, fashion, audio-visual, video games, and crafts industries all belong to the Bilbao Bizkaia Design and Creativity Council (BiDC), a 150-member body that fosters design and creativity through projects, initiatives, and exhibitions. Creativity has led this city in northern Spain to new heights as it continues a decades-long economic and community transformation.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Alamo Drafthouse's founders share how they created the coolest movie theater in America

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Changing career paths is fairly common today — something Tim and Karrie League know all too well. In 1997, the then engineer and research biologist left their careers behind and opened the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin, Texas.

What started as a second-run movie theater, screening films for low prices long after their initial release, now offers everything from live score readings to specialty cocktails. And of course there's the beer — the theater offers an extensive selection of ales and lagers to satisfy even the toughest beer aficionado.

With little to no business experience, the couple has transformed the warehouse-turned-movie theatre into something much bigger than they ever expected: Today, there are more than 11 locations across the US.

As part of our Fast Track Q&A series, we interviewed the couple at the one of the first locations of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin. Tim and Karrie speak candidly about the hardest part of starting a business, managing finances, advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, and the strangest request they've ever gotten.

This post is sponsored by Capital One Spark

Find out more about Sponsored Content.

SEE ALSO:  Why one lawyer gave up a 6-figure salary to serve tacos from a truck

SEE ALSO:  This couple ditched their tech jobs to pursue their passion for beer

Join the conversation about this story »










This band of college dropouts has a monster hit single — but people still don't know who they are

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Deep in the heart of the Meatpacking District, the sun pounded the posh rooftop at STK.

The black ballistic rubber floors radiated heat from below as the sun beat down upon the brows of the 150 or so invited guests awaiting an acoustic set from American Authors, a band very much on the come up who boasts a triple-platinum single, "Best Day of My Life."

Despite the heat, the sweeping views of the High Line and Hudson River provided a picturesque backdrop for the upcoming show.

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The guests were ostensibly eager for the band to play, but many appeared not to be fans per se, but rather pretty people who reveled in the thought of attending an invite-only party with a relatively-famous band and an army of professional photographers in tow.

That's not to say no fans were in attendance, but the room had a distinctly divided feel.

Throughout the crowd, you could see the Brooklyn-ites contrast starkly with the Manhattan-ers. The former adorned almost exclusively in fierce, black rocker attire; the latter bedecked in tight, oft-revealing dresses for women alongside men who looked like they walked straight off the pages of a J. Crew catalog.

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While it would be unfair to say the Brooklyn-ites were there for the music and the Manhattan-ers were there to be seen, there was a definite distinction between factions within the crowd. It's entirely possible some of the fierce, black outfitted individuals hailed from Manhattan and some of the J. Crew wannabes were from Brooklyn (or any other borough for that matter). 

Regardless, about half the people there seemed to have come for the music, and the rest simply to be seen.

Sharply dressed servers buzzed around the party toting burger sliders, deviled eggs, miniature kale salads, and other appetizing hors d'oeuvres. 

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Those same servers were slinging highly alcoholic mixed drinks concocted for those wanting to board the Blackout Express. With a full bar available to the guests, the booze flowed freely. There was both a literal and figurative buzz in the air as some of the tipsy guests mingled with the band or the other attractive people in attendance.

Members of the band (and their entourage) visited with friends and fans alike.

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Another installment in the Island Records Summer Series, the event was intended for industry personnel and friends of the band.

Having just released a catchy new single, and on the eve of performing at the Arthur Ashe Kids Day at the US Open, the band was making good use of its admittedly limited time back home (they hail from Brooklyn).

The stage was set for American Authors to deliver a fun, informal acoustic set. At 5:15, the band took the stage as many in attendance turned their back to the band for the perfunctory selfie.

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Lead singer Zac Barnett thanked the crowd for showing up, promised a one-and-a-half hour Led Zeppelin jam session at the end of the concert (about which I'm still pissed he didn't deliver on), and then jumped into the concert with "Go Big or Go Home."

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The show was lighthearted and imminently enjoyable. The instruments were tight, the group locked in. Barnett showcased a singular vocal talent, at once powerful and strong while equally caressing concertgoers' eardrums with his pure, silky-smooth falsetto. 

For the most part, the crowd was engaged and invested — save for the obnoxious few who took selfie after selfie, or filmed whole songs with their hands held high in the sky.

It's always interesting to hear a highly produced studio band perform live, without the bells and whistles from their album. It's even more interesting to hear them unplugged.

American Authors delivered the rare show where a non-jam-band was better live than they were on an admittedly good album. But, like their first album, the short show left me wanting a little bit more.

College Dropouts

Conceptually, those who are famous have done something earning them such status — he or she is an incredible actor, elite athlete, talented musician, etc. Certainly, some people stumble into fame based not on merit but sheer happenstance, but by and large, the people who become famous have a reason for being so. But fame comes not simply because you're good; luck plays a huge part in who breaks through and who wallows in obscurity until abandoning the dream for a desk job.

Like most well-known bands, American Authors is good. The foursome met while studying music at one of the most prestigious music schools in the country, the Berklee College of Music. While this doesn't guarantee innate musical ability, it's a pretty good indicator.

While at Berklee, the band decided to "turn pro," so to speak: they dropped out and moved to Brooklyn, New York to chase the dream full time.

"We met each other. We got what we needed there. So we decided to take it to the next level," Matt Sanchez, the band's drummer, said.

The foursome met while studying music at one of the most prestigious music schools in the country.

"We didn't really have all that much keeping us in Boston," Zac Barnett, lead singer, added.

While parents might cringe at Barnett's attitude, he said their dream was more immediately important than school.

“We were all very logical in the sense that school would be there, and this moment might pass us up,” Barnett said. "We were writing and recording and performing and going to parties and whatnot in New York, so it just made sense to make the move and be there full-time and really just kick it into high gear."
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No Sleep Till Brooklyn

Originally called The Blue Pages, the band initially struggled to find its sound and identity.

“We spent a lot of time in our early days trying to figure out our scene and where people could categorize us and where we really fell,” Barnett said. “And that never worked. Once we discovered what American Authors truly were, and our sound, was really when we let it all go.”

After struggling as a relative unknown for years, letting it all go netted the band three things. First, fans in the New York area responded enough for American Authors to catch a record label’s eye. Second, Island Records signed them to a record deal, and the band received the runway and support needed to record its first album. And third, the band got incredibly lucky.

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Infectious Optimism

Harnessing a seemingly unshakable optimism and fusing it with upbeat, anthemic instrumentals, American Authors embodies an ethos that has resonated strongly with music fans in the last few years. In the same vein as fun., Neon Trees, Imagine Dragons, or Walk the Moon, American Authors’ songs sound almost universally happy, for lack of a better descriptor.

Featuring a driving drum beat, playful lead banjo, uplifting lyrics, polyphonic harmonized backup vocals, and Barnett’s silky smooth voice, the band fills the “happy pop anthem” niche to a tee.

That optimism seems to come from an honest place.

“It was kinda like finding optimism in low places,” Barnett said. “That was a big thing with that first album because … when life throws these obstacles at you, and you have these challenges with whatever you want to do in life — for us, music — there's kinda like, ‘do you just give up and quit, or do you see the light at the end of the tunnel and keep working and pushing harder to get through that.'”

In a lot of ways it was self serving optimism," Sanchez added. "I know that sounds funny, but it really was for us."

It's almost as if the band was willing itself to success and happiness by writing songs that reflected that mindset.

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Best Day of Their Lives

Smash hits are a tenuous breed. While both financially lucrative and audience enlarging, an up-and-coming band can be swallowed by a single song’s success.

One of the most dreaded designations in music is that of “one hit wonder."

Every person surveyed in the days leading up to the show either didn’t know the band off the top of their head or made a snarky comment, “Is it going to be the best day of your life?”

Often, this happens not because the band got blindly lucky and made only one good song, but rather because fans become so enamored with one song that no other songs could ever live up to it.

It’s often better to acquire acclaim and fame in small but steady increments to ensure a longer shelf life. American Authors has no such luxury.

“Best Day of My Life” has racked up over 140 million Spotify plays. It has over 62 million Vevo views. Every person surveyed in the days leading up to the show either didn’t know the band off the top of their head or made a snarky comment like, “Is it going to be the best day of your life?”

And for those that didn’t recognize the band initially, when prompted with American Authors’ hit song, everyone knew at least that one tune.

While American Authors have had rather successful singles in addition to their smash hit, the band currently occupies a delicate position on what I call the “one hit hump.” The question for them now is whether or not they can keep plodding forward, crest that hill, and become more than just their one hit song; or, if they can't, and figuratively roll back down the hill from whence they came.

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The Next Step

If there’s one knock on the group, it’s that their songs are almost too consistent. Even on melancholy tracks like "Luck," the song sounds joyful.

Almost every song is either fun, optimistic, or both. If you love happy pre-game songs that get you amped up for a great night out, then American Authors should be your new favorite band. If you like a little more emotional range, the band has yet to fully deliver on their heretofore nascent musical talent.

"Luck," one of the deeper cuts from "Oh What a Life," is actually the best song American Authors has produced to date, and provides listeners a glimpse of all the band could become.

In the song, the protagonist apologizes to his mother, his brother and father:

I’m sorry father, I up and left this town.

Please just listen 'cause I don't ask for much

I am my own man

I make my own luck

…and some birds aren’t meant to be caged

“I haven't talked to my mother in probably like eight years,” Sanchez admits. “I don't want to go too deep into it, but the song was more about the sacrifices you make to do what you love. And while it is a literal story, I know it's something we all relate to. I didn't just write the song by myself; we all inserted our own stories into it.”

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The group’s infectious pop anthems belie deeper musical and lyrical talent. Barnett showcased honest-to-God, capital "r" Rock vocals during their show. Their eclectic instrumentation and obvious skill therein hint at a greater ability than many of their tunes showcase. The level of emotional awareness demonstrated in "Luck" is seen in many of the truly great rock songs throughout history. The specific lyrics granting the listener a peek into the band members’ real lives humanize the track beyond a pump-up jam. The depth of emotion and universal theme wreathe the song in the trappings of greatness.

"Luck" is a glimpse into what American Authors could become. But, with industry pressure to keep churning out hits, it’s tough to know whether the band will take that next step.

“We're really feeling the pressure of, 'ok, how do we take what people know and love about us from the first album, but really give it where we're at today and kind of take it to the next level for who we are as people and who we are as musicians right now,” Barnett said.

“There's always people breathing down your neck, looking for that next big single … But, when you do the best you can, you can only just write from your heart, write the best songs, write the songs that you love, and hope that you get something amazing.”

Sanchez and Barnett are genuine, nice guys who you can't help but pull for.

Here’s to hoping they can make more of their own luck.

 

 

 

SEE ALSO: The craziest outfits at the MTV Video Music Awards

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