Sky high: Parachute's debut soars in first week

news-parachuteIn its first week of sales, Parachute's debut album Losing Sleep made it to #40 on the Billboard albums chart.

After nearly a year of anticipation, the numbers are finally in, and a Charlottesville-based band's debut album is officially a hit. Members of Parachute learned Thursday, May 21 that Losing Sleep entered at #40 on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart.

"It's way better than we had expected," says frontman Will Anderson. "We had a day off, so we were all in different places when we found out, and we were texting each other like crazy."

The news comes a week after the album got an early release on the iTunes Music Store, and quickly shot to #1 on the digital vendor's charts. This was due in part to the strength of the band's second single "Under Control," which iTunes offered as a free download for the week.

According to Anderson, seeing his band's name atop of the iTunes chart was a stunning moment.

"When we went #1 on iTunes," says Anderson, "that was a definite wake-up call about what an incredible opportunity this is. That's when we knew this was the real deal."

It also helped that Parachute's songs already had a familiar ring to them by the time their disc had reached record stores. Beginning in January, skin care company Nivea began using the band's song "She Is Love," in one of their commercials. Anderson says that while it was never the band's plan to set their music to images of creamy lotions, he's happy to have his music heard anywhere.

"Their head of marketing came to us after having heard the song on a new music sampler he'd stumbled onto randomly," says Anderson. "We didn't know what to expect, but they came to us with the commercial already made, and we decided to go for it."

That led to Nivea grabbing a second song, "Under Control," and that's a song the band has been performing since the days when they were called Sparky's Flaw (and gracing the cover of the Hook's inaugural "Under the Radar and Dreaming" issue in 2007).

The Nivea deal also earned the Charlottesville-based rockers a prime spot in Times Square on New Year's Eve along with the Jonas Brothers and Taylor Swift, where Anderson says the band got an early showbiz lesson.

"It was really cold, and we were worried about how it would go," says Anderson. "But then we see Taylor Swift get up there in a dress and think, 'Okay, it's not that bad. We can do this.'"

For Anderson, the most unexpected aspect of the Nivea campaign has been the slew of cover versions of Parachute songs that fans have posted of themselves performing on YouTube.

"I saw a couple of them," says Anderson, "and at first my thought was, 'Why on earth would anyone want to cover this?' But it's very flattering, to be sure, and it's been fun to see people try to take our song and make it their own."

Though he does have one quibble.

"It's funny to see how different people play the guitar part," says Anderson. "It's very simple, but a lot of people don't pick it up."

Ultimately, though, Anderson says the band's success is equal parts cutting-edge marketing and good ol' fashioned touring.

"We have had a great marketing campaign," says Anderson, "but we've also had time to build our fan base playing all of those shows. That allowed us to take our time to get the album just right, and when it was, we had an audience."

Still, Anderson says he's careful not to let the recent attention go to his head.

"We played the South by Southwest festival in Austin not too far back," says Anderson, "and we were on the same bill as [English songwriter and five-time Grammy nominee] P.J. Harvey. We got a chance to meet her, and she was definitely very nice, but we stuck out like a sore thumb playing next to her. We've still got a long way to go to get to her level."

–updated May 26 at 12:06pm, original headline "Parachute's Losing Sleep debuts at #40"


That's pretty awesome for these guys! Here's hoping they can maintain the momentum.

who exactly are those locals who were anticipating anything about these guys(other than their management)? i wouldn't even know they existed without the hook hype. they make completely disposable pop crap, and once the people with brains who are behind them have extracted what money they can from the band, they will likely be discarded as well

Cville Non-Elite you seem to like to bat straw men about. There are lots of successful acts I like and a lot of obscure ones too. Parachute makes disposable crap. They are the sort of band whose success, if it comes, will be due more to barely teenage girls plastering their bedroom walls with those sappy mugs than to any music they make. It really doesn't matter how much they've worked at it if that's what they finish with.

Some people work hard and make brilliant art, for some people its apparently easy. Some artists work their asses off for their whole lives and still don't ever manage to make anything worth noting. The saddest case is those artists who do have talent, do work hard, and still get overlooked because people are led by marketing to buy crap like these guys produce.

KWT, way to reiterate my point with the Blacksburg reference. I've lived in Cville for 11 years, and yeah, it's a nice town. But you're B'burg comment carries that UVA "I'm better than you" attitude that so many non-UVA folk can't stand. My main issue here is that since you guys think the music is crap, it must be an indisputable fact. And if you don't like their music and don't care about the band, that's cool. But why must you take a jab at the success of some local guys who've worked hard and found some success? That's what I don't get. All that needed to be said, if anything, was, "well, it's not my style, but good for them." And all apologies from me for calling you guys out as "a joke." Uncalled for on my part, fellas. Long day yesterday!

Agreed. Just take a look at their website. They basically admit they write radio friendly, watered down music in the hopes of receiving attention and money. I guess that's where Nivea steps in. Not quite a high enough level of artistic integrity for me to take any interest. But congrats to the boys! After all, I get all my music from skin therapy commercials. Whatever happened to Charlottesville producing meaningful artists like Stephen Malkmus and Pavement. We really should appreciate the true talent out of Charlottesville like the Extraordinaires.

No, I'm pretty sure if they make disposable pop crab it does automatically qualify it as garbage. If you want to live of a town of non-elites move to Blacksburg. I've heard they're down and folksy there and love to buy any good ol' album Wal-mart recommends to them.

No, I'm pretty sure if they make disposable pop crap it does automatically qualify it as garbage. If you want to live of a town of non-elites move to Blacksburg. I've heard they're down and folksy there and love to buy any good ol' album Wal-mart recommends to them.

You guys are a joke. God forbid a band actually tries to....gasp...earn a living with music! Gotta love the Cville artsy attitude on the Hook. Answer this question, wouldn't most artists love it if as many people as possible could be exposed to their music? If you say no, you're full of yourself. These guys all busted their asses trying to make a music a career. They have driven all over the country by van playing various shows to build a name for themselves, all the while taking a full course load at various schools. And they did this before ever being signed to a label. So, it wasn't like they were handed a silver spoon. They work hard, and they put a lot of effort and themselves into their music. They are talented musicians, even though they make "disposable pop crap." If you don't like their genre of music, fine. But that doesn't automatically qualify it as garbage. I've always been amused at the attitude that if music is commercially successful, it's crap. "Artistic integrity." Ok. You give me ten "integrity" bands, and I'll give you eight that would sign on the dotted line if they had the chance to make money and get their music to the masses. Stop kidding yourself. Enjoy the banjo guys on the downtown mall, they must have "artistic integrity."