with video: Lightning Love of Ypsilanti a finalist in Billboard's Battle of the Bands
photo by Tiffany Dawn Nicholson
Ypsilanti band Lighting Love has been named the Midwest region finalist in a national "Battle of the Bands" competition sponsored by Billboard magazine.
Lightning Love now competes against five other bands in a live competition in Las Vegas, to be judged by a panel led by Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray along with Billboard staff and music-industry professionals. The top band wins an appearance at the Billboard Music Awards on May 22.
Billboard.com, the online arm of the respected music-biz magazine, selected 18 semifinalist bands from around the country. From there, online voting chose the six regional finalists, including Lightning Love.
Billboard writes about the band: "Lightning Love is an indie-pop trio from Ypsilanti, Michigan, consisting of singer/ keyboard player Leah Diehl, her brother Aaron Diehl on drums, and best friend Ben Collins on guitar. When a boyfriend told Leah to stop dreaming and join a band, she auditioned for one she found on Craigslist and met Ben in the process. After years of jamming both solo and together, Leah and Ben joined forces with Leah's brother Aaron in October 2007. The band self-recorded, produced and released its first album, 'November Birthday,' in December 2008. They've toured alongside with the Von Bondies, Tally Hall and Bad Veins, in addition to synchs in several films. Leah was recently nominated for Best Songwriter at the Detroit Music Awards, and Lightning Love has repeatedly been awarded Best Indie and Best Pop Band in Detroit by local publications. They plan to release second record, 'The Blonde Album,' this year."
Other finalists are Hotels (northwest), AJ Rafael (west), Otenki (southwest), Side By Side (southeast), and Gentlemen Hall (northeast). Information about all the bands can be found on the competition website.
During the week of May 9, each of the bands will head for Las Vegas and document their trip in video clips that will be posted at Billboard.com/battle. The number of views each group's videos receive, along with the decision of the judges at the May 18 show, will determine who will win the spot at the Billboard Music Awards, which will be broadcast live on ABC from Las Vegas' MGM Grand.
The show will also feature performances by Rihanna, the Black Eyed Peas, Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum and Taio Cruz, among others.