Photo by Coleman Rojahn
They were once us - bright-eyed, hopeful kids imagining a dream that they desired to create a reality from - and that they did. A living testimony that dreams do come true, it’s safe to say that local band, Glass Mansions, is on the rise, creating a journey paved from hard work, passion and music.
Glass Mansions met over 10 years ago at none other than the University of South Carolina. The power duo behind the name, Blake Arambula and Jayna Doyle, played their first set together unexpectedly. In the moment, what they didn’t realize is that together, they were creating a masterpiece.
“USC had the Battle of the Bands going on and they needed recordings of the band,” Blake Arambula sips his coffee, reminiscing over playing with Jayna for the first time, "Our singer didn't show up. So, I called Jayna and said ‘Hey, do you want to come in and sing this?’ and so she did... we applied to Battle of the Bands and got in, and that's our first time playing together."
One simple moment - that’s all it took. Though their first time creating music together, it would be far from their last.
Both Arambula and Doyle have taken part in different four-to-five person bands together. It was only three short years ago that the two would decide to create something for themselves - the exotic simplicity of vocals and a keyboard. They would call themselves Glass Mansions, a name that would be declared all over the Columbia area in only a matter of time.
“Glass Mansions started three years ago. We did a whole rebranding... way more electronic,” Jayna Doyle, vocal powerhouse, describes. “We re-released our Gossip EP under the name. We’re a two piece - sometimes we have Rodney Liles from Charleston join us on drums, he's an incredible drummer.”
As most newcomers do, the band played every local set that they could - from New Brookland Tavern to the infamous Art Bar. From there, Glass Mansions would not only grow a fan base, but they would create a radiant career with grand opportunities: a 21-day US tour coming in October 2019, three song placements (Bravo, Netflix’s The Last Summer, and MTV’s Ex on the Beach), playing their first ever Canadian Festival in November 2019 and, finally, signing with their first booking agency and publishing deal.
“The publishing deal is with people in LA and Nashville - basically they're going to be working on our behalf to actively pitch us... we're really excited just to see what opportunities it brings,” Arambula explains.
The booking agency is set to develop more time for the duo to create, write and produce - something the band hopes to make a primary focus.
“We've never had a booking agent. We've always booked our own tours,” you can hear the excitement in Doyle’s tone. “We started working with this guy named Matt Kipper at Artery Global.”
With the extra time to focus on music, the electro-pop duo is spending more time writing, allowing themselves to create a new, focused and intentional sound.
“Our music has definitely become more focused. We've gone more electronic.” Arambula says, describing what to expect with their upcoming projects. “I’m excited for these new songs because they feel different… because I feel different,” Doyle adds.
Glass Mansions not only creates sound for those who listen, they create sound for themselves, always intentionally asking the question: what makes our music tick?
This industry is a way of life for the two, there's a passion for everything within it - every note sung, lyric written, and night spent sleeping on floors during tour. It’s the connection between all mentioned that make what Glass Mansions do worthwhile.
Even a moment as simple as hearing new fans in an unknown city drive by blaring their music reminds the duo why they chose this industry over 10 years ago. “That was the moment for me. I was like, ‘You know what, I’ll keep doing this,’” Arambula says on new fans, with a sudden, giddy smile.
Glass Mansions has created a lifelong journey in three short years, and they are ready to produce more for you, for me, and for fans halfway across the country.
Listen to their music. Feel their music. Express yourself through their music.
And to all of you bright eyed, hopeful kids trying to create a career in art of any form, remember Glass Mansions. Let their passion be your hope and proof that anything can happen. Because, you - and they - are unstoppable.