Thirdstory: NYC’s emerging artists

Morgan Mullings, Contributing Writer

Just a few months after opening for Tori Kelly on her U.S. tour, this YouTube sensation ended their own tour in their hometown. Ben Lusher, Richard Saunders and Elliott Skinner of Thirdstory just finished their first headlining tour with a show in Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg Sept. 27 and a Manhattan show at the Highline Ballroom Sept. 29. Although the girls in the crowd scream over how cute they are, Thirdstory is not your typical boy band. Inspired by artists such as Bon Iver and James Blake, they infuse folk sounds with three-part harmonies and hard hitting drums. There are also some soulful elements as well as hip-hop influences. Explaining their genre is difficult — you’ll only understand if you’ve heard them perform.

Their hour and a half set included  three songs off of their new EP, “Searching,” as well as some covers from their popular YouTube channel. During the set they also introduced original songs from their upcoming album, hopefully to be released next spring. They started each show with a favorite off of the EP: “Grows Old.” Saunders starts the song with the lyrics of what seems to be a wedding serenade over Skinner’s acoustic guitar. The most popular song of the night, “G Train,” is a true New Yorker anthem comparing the frustration of the G train to real life relationships, featuring a sound comparable to Blackstreet’s “No Diggity.”

While Lusher played the piano and Skinner switched among electric, acoustic and bass, Saunders used a looping machine for about half of the songs. This allowed the trio to record background vocals, or layer their three-part harmonies over other parts of the song to create a choral effect. This became known as their signature after they uploaded covers of Tove Lo’s “Talking Body” and Drake’s “Hotline Bling” using the technique. They performed those two covers as well as their two most popular uploads: their first-ever video of Sam Smith’s “I’m Not The Only One” at 2.2 million views, and “Style” by Taylor Swift at 1.7 million.

At the Brooklyn show, Thirdstory’s encore started with “Many Rivers To Cross” by Jimmy Cliff; one of their most popular covers that left the crowd mesmerized by smooth singing and guitar. However, the final show’s encore was replaced by a special guest appearance. Chicago-based powerhouse Eryn Allen Kane came out for a performance of her and Thirdstory’s original, “Still In Love.”

Although they’ve only been singing together for two years, this NYC born trio is taking musicality to a new level, and going viral with it too. They’ve gone from performing at every small venue in Manhattan you can think of, to 13 venues from Detroit to D.C. You can find their music on Spotify, Apple Music/iTunes, and YouTube.