Michael Grubbs performed in bar bands and musical theater productions before launching Wakey!Wakey!, a pop/rock group that put his piano background and vocal skills to good use.
Grubbs' childhood had been filled with piano lessons -- his mother, a longtime piano teacher, made sure her children practiced the instrument daily -- and he built Wakey!Wakey!'s sound upon the influences of Billy Joel
, Elton John
, George Gershwin
, and other ivory-pounding songwriters. Signing with Family Records
, his group released several buzzworthy recordings before piquing the curiosity of Mark Schawhn, creator of the long-running TV series One Tree Hill. Schawhn picked one of the band's songs, "War Sweater," to appear during the season six finale, and Grubbs was also recruited to play a recurring role in the show's seventh season. Meanwhile, Wakey!Wakey! continued playing shows in their native New York City while putting the finishing touches on Almost Everything I Wish I'd Said the Last Time I Saw You..., which marked the band's full-length debut in early 2010. The follow-up, 2014's Salvation, was a crowd-funded album thematically based around hope and new beginnings. Notable for its pop sound, Salvation helped grow Grubbs' fanbase, especially in Europe. The following year, Grubbs released the Homeless Poets EP, which was quickly followed by the his third LP, Overreactivist, in early 2016. ~ Andrew Leahey, Rovi