Flyleaf is an American rock band formed in Belton, Texas, in 2002.[2] The band has charted on mainstream rock, Christian pop, and Christian metal charts. They performed around the US in 2003 before releasing their eponymous debut album, Flyleaf, in 2005. The album went platinum after selling more than one million copies.[3] Flyleaf released their second album, Memento Mori, in 2009, which debuted and peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard charts.

Flyleaf in October 2010
Flyleaf in October 2010
Background information
Also known asPasserby (2002–2004)
OriginBelton, Texas, U.S.
Years active2002–2016, 2022–present
  • James Culpepper
  • Sameer Bhattacharya
  • Jared Hartmann
  • Pat Seals
  • Lacey Sturm
Past members

Shortly before the release of their third album, New Horizons (2012), lead vocalist Lacey Sturm announced her departure.[4] Kristen May subsequently became the new lead vocalist. May sang with the band until August 2016.[1] After a period of inactivity for several years, Sturm returned to the band in November 2022.[5]

History edit

Early years (2002–2004) edit

Early on, Lacey Sturm performed with James Culpepper. Guitarists Jared Hartmann and Sameer Bhattacharya were later recruited. "Sameer and Jared are really experimental with melodies and pedals," said Sturm, "and we all had different influences that were all blending together with the same passionate and hopeful heart, and that brought out this beautiful feeling. It was magical."[6] Bassist Pat Seals joined after leaving his previous band, The Grove.

As Passerby, the band released three EPs and played over 100 shows in Texas alone over the span of two years under the booking and promotion company Runt Entertainment.[citation needed] In 2004, Passerby played a showcase for RCA Records in New York City in hopes of getting signed. RCA passed on the band, but the president of Octone Records was very interested. They waited for two days in their van at a truck stop for a phone call about an Octone showcase. They were signed after the showcase, and on January 7, 2004, Octone Records' website announced their arrival to the label.

In March 2004, Passerby traveled to Seattle, Washington, to record an EP with producer Rick Parashar. Afterwards, they toured with Skillet, Breaking Benjamin, Staind, and 3 Doors Down to promote their self-titled EP. Due to legal reasons, they renamed themselves Flyleaf in June 2004.[7] In October, the EP was released to stores (as Flyleaf), spawning their first official single and video for the EP version of "Breathe Today".

Debut album (2005–2008) edit

In 2005, the band recorded their first full-length album with Howard Benson. On October 4, 2005, the record was released under the title Flyleaf. Appearances on the album include Dave Navarro of Jane's Addiction and Ryan White of Resident Hero. The first mainstream single from their debut album was "I'm So Sick", "Fully Alive" was the second, "All Around Me" was the third, and "Sorrow" was the fourth.

In the summer of 2006, the band played on the mainstage of the Family Values Tour 2006, and in late 2006, Flyleaf toured with Disturbed, Stone Sour and Nonpoint on the Music as a Weapon III Tour. The band issued an exclusive EP, which was sold at the tour called Music as a Weapon EP which features an acoustic version of "Fully Alive", and three previously unreleased tracks: "Much Like Falling", "Justice And Mercy", and "Christmas Song" (Much Like Falling and Justice and Mercy later appeared on Much Like Falling EP). A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the EP went to World Vision.[8]

In 2007 Flyleaf toured with Three Days Grace and throughout Australia with the Soundwave festival, and also toured Europe with Stone Sour and Forever Never. In the spring of 2007, Flyleaf headlined their Justice & Mercy Tour which first featured Skillet and Dropping Daylight. Later on they did a second leg of the tour which featured Sick Puppies, Kill Hannah and Resident Hero. Flyleaf again joined the Family Values Tour in 2007.[9] The music video for "I'm So Sick" appeared briefly in the 2007 film Live Free or Die Hard. Also a remix of the song "I'm So Sick" is on the Soundtrack to the movie Resident Evil: Extinction. "Perfect" was also released as a single in late 2007 to Christian radio stations. Released on November 5, 2007, The Sims 2 expansion pack Teen Style Stuff featured the band's song "Cassie" recorded in Simlish.

Flyleaf at Beale Street Music Festival on May 2, 2008

Flyleaf also released a song entitled "Tina" which was the first song that they debuted in the release of Guitar Hero 3 as part of the Companion Disk Set. Also, the song "I'm So Sick" appears in Rock Band. On October 30, Flyleaf also released a digital EP titled Much Like Falling EP. The songs included on this EP were "Much Like Falling", an acoustic version of "Supernatural", the limited release song "Tina", and The EP is available on iTunes along with the expanded edition of their debut album.

On April 26, 2008, the band released their fourth video, "Sorrow", from their debut album on MTV2.[10] The band toured with Seether in late spring but had to cancel five shows due to a problem with Sturm's voice. The members of Flyleaf took the fall off to write new music, hoping to begin recording by January.

Flyleaf also contributed a cover of the song, "What's This?" from The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack for its cover album, Nightmare Revisited.

Memento Mori (2009–2010) edit

When Flyleaf finished recording their second album, they had selected 14 songs out of the 30 already written. Some of these songs, such as "Again", "Have We Lost", and "Beautiful Bride", have been performed live. The band reunited with producer Howard Benson and enlisted the mixing services of Chris Lord-Alge[11] It was released on November 10, 2009.[12] The album, titled Memento Mori, features songs such as "Beautiful Bride", "Arise", "Missing", "Again" and "Set Apart This Dream", which was inspired by the Christian book Wild at Heart.[13] Flyleaf debuted an additional two songs live during a small acoustic tour the band did in Afghanistan for United States Armed Forces called "Chasm" and "Circle".[14] As they published on their MySpace page, Flyleaf's first single "Again" was released on iTunes and also played on the radio. Meiert Avis directed the single's music video.

Sturm performing in Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan in 2009

The group, starting in Seattle, Washington, on September 28, 2009, held VIP listening parties throughout the country inviting fans to be the first to hear a selection of songs from the new record and view brand new music videos before they aired nationwide. By partnering with Eventful, fans were given the opportunity to demand that their city get routed into the "Road to Memento Mori" using Eventful's "Demand It!" service.

Based on overwhelming demand there were over 10 events. Fans saw Sturm, Sameer Bhattacharya, and Jared Hartmann, who made special appearances at these intimate gatherings across the country.[15]

On November 2, 2009, the band released a short Webisode for their new album.[16]

Flyleaf's other video, "Beautiful Bride," was shot in early August 2009 by director Don Tyler. The video was originally released at the Memento Mori listening events, but was later featured on Yahoo! the day Memento Mori came out. The video features James' sister/Sameer's wife, April, as the bride and Joshua Sturm, Lacey's husband, as the groom. Like "Again," this video features Pat's artwork throughout the video. Future singles are set to include "Chasm" for rock stations and "Missing" for alternative.

Flyleaf toured throughout the United States with Breaking Benjamin and Three Days Grace from January to March 2010. They embarked on a headlining tour called the "Unite & Fight Tour" with 10 Years and Fair to Midland. The tour began on April 28, 2010, and ended on June 6, 2010. June 11, 2010, the group has acted on MUZ TV Award 2010 (Премия МУЗ-ТВ) in Russia with songs: "I'm So Sick", "Again" and a song: "All Around Me". They are one of many bands that performed at Download Festival on June 12, 2010. The band encouraged fans to donate to stop human trafficking in other countries.

Flyleaf performing in 2010

The band was scheduled to continue with the second leg of the "Unite & Fight" tour from September 10, 2010, to October 23, 2010, with Story of the Year, and performed at various festivals through the end of the year. They also released an animated music video for "Chasm" on September 22, which was directed/animated/illustrated by Giles Timms. At the end of the Unite and Fight tour in early November, Lacey collaborated with band Apocalyptica on the song "Broken Pieces", as well as with Australian singer Orianthi in her new song "Courage".[17] Soon after they released "Arise" as the next single from Memento Mori.

On November 6, 2010, the band performed at Rock the Hood, a festival at Fort Hood in memory of all the soldiers who have died, especially the 13 who died at the November 2009 shooting.

On November 15, 2010, Lacey shared via Facebook that she and her husband, Joshua, were expecting a baby boy in early 2011.[18]

On December 7, 2010, Flyleaf released an EP titled Remember to Live, then released a cover of the John Mark McMillan song "How He Loves" on December 21, 2010.[19][20]

New Horizons and departure of Sturm (2011–2013) edit

On January 22, 2011, Hartmann announced that he and Culpepper were building a recording studio and preparing to record demos for their next album.[21] In February 2011, the band started pre-production for their next album at Treelady Studios in Pittsburgh, PA.[22][unreliable source?]

On June 1, 2012, the band confirmed via Twitter that the album and first single would be called New Horizons.[23] The single premiered on Windsor, Ontario's 89X Radio on August 1, 2012,[24] and released through iTunes on August 21, 2012.[25]

On September 4, 2012, Lacey Sturm's birthday,[citation needed] Flyleaf released the official video for "New Horizons" on Fuse. The video included a picture in the background as a tribute to Rich Caldwell and footage of Lacey and Joshua Sturm's son, Joshua "Jack" Sturm.[26][failed verification]

Flyleaf also released an additional single, entitled "Call You Out", on September 25, 2012.[citation needed] The album was released on October 30, 2012.[27]

On October 22, 2012, the band announced that Lacey Sturm was stepping down as the band's lead vocalist. In a statement written by Pat Seals, Kristen May, formerly of Vedera, was announced as Sturm's replacement. Sturm expressed that with the birth of her son, Jack, and the death of one of the band's lead audio engineers, Rich Caldwell, that she knew the true meaning of "Memento Mori" (the title of their second full-length album).[28]

Guitarist Sameer Bhattacharya stated in an interview that they would write new music with their new lead vocalist Kristen May.[29]

Flyleaf released a new single on June 18, 2013, with May on vocals, "Something Better" featuring P.O.D. front man Sonny Sandoval. A new EP, Who We Are, was released on July 9, 2013.[30]

Between the Stars (2014–2016) edit

Flyleaf announced that a new album was in the works for a 2014 release and released a teaser video on[31][better source needed] The new album was fully funded on February 2, 2014.[citation needed] On March 29, they confirmed Don Gilmore as the producer for their upcoming album.[32]

On May 20, 2014, Flyleaf announced that they were now signed to Loud & Proud Records[33] and would be releasing their album in early fall. The first single will be released in July and tour dates will be announced after that.[34]

"Set Me on Fire", the lead single from the upcoming album, Between the Stars, premiered on July 1 through Revolver. The album was released on September 16, 2014.[35]

The band released the album cover via a puzzle game starting on July 21, 2014.[36][37] and the track list the following day.[38]

Between the Stars is also the band's first release from their new home, label Loud & Proud Records.[39]

May's departure and hiatus (2016–2022) edit

On August 15, 2016, lead vocalist Kristen May announced her departure from the band, citing a growing desire to stay at home with her family and that she never really felt as if she was part of the band.[40]

Following May's departure, the band went on hiatus. The remaining members went on to pursue other interests. Jared, along with his wife, Kat formed a musical duo called Kat&Jared in 2017.[41] Bhattacharya would tour with P.O.D. as their keyboardist from 2016 until 2018.[42] He and Seals, along with P.O.D. drummer Wuv Bernardo formed a musical project called Belle and the Dragon, they released their debut album Birthrights in 2020.[43]

Sturm's return (2022–present) edit

Sometime in 2021, the band's social media accounts were reactivated after being inactive since the band's hiatus. In November 2022, the band began teasing their return, including releasing band photos with their original lead singer, Lacey Sturm. The band's profile pictures on their social media accounts would later change and feature the phrase Flyleaf with Lacey Sturm on November 7, 2022.[5][44]

Musical style edit

Flyleaf has identified under various genres of rock music,[45] including alternative metal,[46][47][48][49] hard rock,[29][50][51][52] alternative rock,[53][54][55] post-grunge,[49][56][57] nu metal,[52][58][59] heavy metal,[60][61][62] post-hardcore,[51] and emo-metal.[63] Because of the many religious references in Flyleaf's music, they are also considered to be a Christian rock band.[58][60] Despite the numerous genres they have been labeled as, May considered the band to be simply alternative rock, saying, "I think the reason we get put in different genres is because there are so many different influences in the songwriting."[64]

Christianity edit

Lead vocalist Lacey Sturm is an evangelical Christian.[65] While faith has influenced the band's music, Sturm said that she does not believe that necessarily makes Flyleaf strictly a Christian band. The band says they are Christians who play in a rock band, and their faith is heard within their music.[66] "We all share the same faith."

In November 2006, Flyleaf performed a free concert at Los Angeles Pierce College for a Christian group called The Revolt, which was a three-day event. The band performed a half-hour set Thursday night. It was The Revolt's opening night at Pierce College and the first time the campus has been used as an outdoor music venue.[67]

In a May 2010 interview, Sturm was asked how it felt to be in a Christian rock band and play in Las Vegas:

Well, you know what? I don't know what you mean by a "Christian rock band." It's hard to say that because people all have a different definition of what that means. If it means that we're Christians, then yeah, we're Christians, but if a plumber's a Christian, does that make him a "Christian plumber?" I mean we're not playing for Christians. We're just playing honestly and that's going to come out.[68]

Former lead vocalist May has felt the band's fans believe she's "not Christian enough" despite professing to be a Christian. She also hopes that people do not discount the band by using the "Christian" label.[69]

Although the band relies on themes transcending many faiths and ways of life, they insist being a Christian will always be a part of them and influence their writing.[70]

Band members edit


Discography edit

Other works edit

  • Sturm, Lacey (2014). The Reason: How I Discovered a Life Worth Living. Baker Publishing Group. ISBN 9780801016738. Retrieved April 22, 2015.

Awards edit

Title Award Nominated work Result
AMTV Favorite Music Video "Missing" Won[71]
BMI 2009 Pop Song Award "All Around Me" Won[72]
Dove Awards 2011 Rock Album of the Year Memento Mori Nominated[73]

References edit

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External links edit