2011-2012: Monroe


Mixing the heartfelt grooves of funk and hip hop into a foundation of alternative rock, Southern California band Monroe creates a sound uniquely their own, one that defies an easy pigeonhole. Recently, the group beat out nearly 100 other musical competitors to win the 2012 Artist of the Year Award from Five of Five Music Entertainment at California State University, Northridge offering them the opportunity to record and market their second EP, titled “Monroe”.

Monroe’s original quartet
joined forces in 2009, generating a melting pot of style that yielded a sound comparable to established bands such as Incubus, Radiohead, N.E.R.D. and the Police. Their debut E.P., Outer Space, was finished that fall, featuring seven songs with impeccable technique, passionate vocals and irresistibly catchy hooks. Since then, they have steadily penetrated the music scene on both west and east coasts, earning a loyal fan base with their well crafted sound and well honed stage chemistry. The band’s name also channels a cheeky spirit, referring to their Hollywood residence across from Paramount Pictures, which formerly served as a makeup studio for Marilyn Monroe.

Monroe is a four-member band consisting of:

Kelton Blackshear (KB), a 21-year-old Texas native whose soulful voice truly defines Monroe’s sound. In 2008 he made it to the Top 50 of “American Idol”, and has performed in music competitions around the country. KB attended Berklee College of Music in Boston on a full scholarship, and it was there that the band was born. His distinct vocals have entertained audiences from all around the Boston area to the world-renowned clubs of Hollywood.

Lawrence Carroll IV began playing guitar at the age of eleven. Completely self-taught, he performed in and around Los Angeles consistently throughout his teens, taking style tips from iconic players of all genres. Minarik Guitars sponsored him in 2004, dubbing him their “little Jimi [Hendrix].” Upon completing his high school music program, Lawrence went on to study guitar performance at Berklee College of Music, where he met the members of Monroe. Today, at age 21, his diverse sound ranges from complex jazz to rock, and everything in between.

Trevor James, the little brother of the band at 19, is a Los Angeles native who has been playing bass professionally for five years. Having studied with upright bassist Frederick Tinsley of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Trevor’s music is informed by his knowledge of a wide range of styles, as well as electric, upright and keyboard bass. He has played with the renowned Victor Wooten and Chaka Khan’s saxophonist, Donald Hayes. As the newest member of Monroe, Trevor’s laidback, groovy style continues to elevate the band’s sound.

Gabriel Baker, age 22, has been playing drums professionally since his young teens growing up in Los Angeles. He attended Berklee College of Music in Boston for jazz drumming, and has studied with such distinguished teachers as Greg Bissonette, Jerry Kalaf, and David Elitch of The Mars Volta. Gabe’s percussion features an amalgamation of styles, and his passion for drums makes him as comfortable playing rock as he is playing reggae. As the backbeat of Monroe, his facile fusion of funk, hip-hop and rock styles complete the bands unique sound.


VVME Staff List: 2011-2012

Ryan Aicklen Co-Executive Producer
Tyler Edmonston Co-Executive Producer
Kevin Blachly Line Producer
Julian Banks Director of A&R
Russel Nygaard Director of Artist Management
Justin Anastasio A&R/Artist Management Team
Theresa Byford A&R/Artist/Management Team
Sona Karamyan A&R/Artist Management Team
Adria Lawrence A&R/Artist/Management Team
Nanette O’Grady A&R/Artist Management Team
Yejin Shin A&R/Artist Management Team
Randal Sprague Director of Production
Corey Brule Asset Management
Devon Johnson Asset Management
Thomas Dearth Photo/Video Production Team
Travis Galvan Photo/Video Production Team
Thomas Johnson III Print Production Team
Haley Hanna Print Production Team
Katie Ray Print Production Team
Matthew Blake Record Production Team
Tristan Dolce Record Production Team
Ryan Lallier Record Production Team
Christopher Tucker Record Production Team
Aaron Class Director of Marketing
Joshua Engel Digital Marketing Team
Samuel Sobo Digital Marketing Team
Yeojin Kook Digital Marketing Team
Steven Peltzer Industry Marketing Team
Anthony Sangiacomo Industry Marketing Team
Austin Overton Physical Marketing Team
Eric Whelan Physical Marketing Team
Nina Boone Director of Events
Magnolia Benitez Events Team
Taniella Block Events Team
Dakota Gartner Events Team
James Snedden Events Team
Zach Thornton Events Team
Nicholas Wylie Events Team