Spend five minutes with I Prevail and you’ll learn exactly why they’re the fastest growing band in the alternative scene. Co-vocalists Brian Burkheiser (who handles most of the traditional singing) and Eric Vanlerberghe (who handles the screaming) are deceptively brilliant when it comes to marketing their band.
Vanlerberghe studied public relations during his time at Rochester College, a University in the suburbs of Detroit. Burkheiser has an uncanny ability to stay on the edge of innovation when it comes to executing best practices of a good social media strategy.
For a band that has already gone gold and had a number one radio hit, they attract a good number of dissent or those who wish to discredit them. There is a sentiment held among some that the band has the backing of powerful industry executives or that their parents funded their entire career.
In reality, Burkheiser and Vanlerberghe both worked jobs in the food service industry and spent all of the money they made on studio time and marketing in the year leading up to the release of their cover and debut EP.
Brian was a pizza delivery driver and Eric worked at IHOP and as a bartender.
“To the kids that are talking shit. Well maybe if you spent the time you’re talking shit writing good music, not saying it’s shit, but if you put that effort into promoting your band… maybe you’d be somewhere rather than talking shit ya know?” Vanlerberghe said.
Their smash hit rendition of Taylor Swift’s ‘Blank Space’ was certified gold about six months ago. The success of their original music would soon make it impossible for others to characterize them as a cover band with a mere lucky break.
“Lifelines”, which has sold more than 70,000 copies and continues to put up impressive sales figures each week, is proof that the band’s audience craves more from them. I Prevail will be placing an emphasis on their original music this summer on the Vans Warped Tour.
Burkheiser tells me that they won’t be playing their smash hit rendition of Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” this summer on the Warped Tour:
“Some people are going to get mad probably. We are not playing “Blank Space” at Warped Tour which I’m very excited to say. Only original songs. We’re proving a point. I’m excited to go out there, play original music and really show what “Lifelines” our most recent album is all about.” Burkheiser said.
I Prevail is profoundly aware of the need to leverage social media to connect with large audiences that probably wouldn’t see a band playing their style of music. I saw an eight-year-old kid holding up the horns in the crowd of their show alongside teenage fans and adults alike. The audience was far more diversified between age groups.
The future is bright for I Prevail. They’re drawing some of the biggest crowds of the day at major music festivals, despite their early set times, and are poised for a big summer on the Warped Tour.
You can watch our entire interview below: