Wrabel calls it his favorite feeling in the world: that moment just before a song comes into being. "When the Rubik's Cube of the song hasn't quite clicked, and it's about to," he says. "You can feel it -- everything turning to lock this thing in."
It's a feeling he's chased for years, since he began writing songs as a teenager. "In high school I wrote the worst songs," he says. "But it still boggled my mind that you could just sit down and hours, or days later, something is created that didn't exist."
He has, of course, come a long way since then. Songs of his -- like "Ten Feet Tall," recorded by Afrojack-have been heard by millions of people around the world. But that feeling of fresh discovery remains. "I wrote a song with my friend the other day, and he said to me, 'That song will never not exist.' I was like, 'That's a little meta for me. It's a Wednesday. You can't go there with me right now.' But that idea -- I love it."
Wrabel specializes in music that telescopes small moments into songs with big impact. On tracks like "11 Blocks" and "Gimme Your Love," the drums may get huge, but the feelings are deeply personal. This is pop music rooted in the singer-songwriter tradition, and it all starts with Wrabel sitting at a piano, fighting for self-expression and survival.
"I write a song because it's probably something I won't say out loud," says Wrabel. "All the songs are true. It's all my little details. That's the only way I can survive: to be as open and transparent as I can be."
The message that Brooklyn singer/songwriter Jesse Ruben has been spreading through his music is simple and direct. I can. You can. We Can. When Jesse originally wrote his song "We Can", he had just run the NYC Marathon and hoped to inspire people to start running. As it turns out, his message was meant to be much more universal. A few months after he released the track, a Vancouver elementary school reached out, saying they had been playing it to inspire their students. They asked Jesse to fly in and perform the song for their school, and so began "The We Can Project", which now spreads across North America. Jesse began touring the country, visiting schools and helping students come up with personal goals and ways to give back to their community. Amazing things began to happen. Playgrounds were built. Gardens planted. Cancer walks organized.
Just as things were taking off, life threw a curveball. Jesse had just headlined and sold out his entire East Coast tour and was writing new music when he became incredibly ill. It took 9 months and more than a dozen doctors before he got his diagnosis: Lyme Disease. Jesse was so sick, he didn't think he would ever play music or lead a normal life again. Suddenly, the message he had been spreading to students over the past year rang truer than ever before. I can do this. It took two full years to rebuild his health. It's an experience Jesse won't easily forget.
In fact, it's changed his perspective on life and writing. Jesse had always wanted to inspire people through his music, but now has a mission and an even bigger message: No matter what you are going through, you're not alone, and it will get better. Now, he is healthy and more motivated than ever to build his career and pursue his dreams.
7pm doors | 8pm show | $12 adv. | $15 day of