Catchy videos bring Rixton major label deal 

British actor-musician Jake Roche was hanging out in a London studio last year when his phone rang, listing an American number on the screen. He didn’t know anyone in America, so he answered, then quickly hung up. The phone immediately rang again, and – when the caller identified himself – Roche guffawed, cursed and disconnected. On the third attempt, a voice told him it was no prank – it really was renowned artist manager Scooter Braun, who said he was intrigued by Roche’s wacky but soulful YouTube videos with his pop band Rixton. Braun flew to London the next day to ink the group, which released its debut single/EP “Me and My Broken Heart” in March; a full album is slated for release later this year.

Your dad is the English actor Shane Richie, and your mom is Colleen Nolan, who had her own family band, The Nolans. How was it growing up in that household? I remember being 5 years old, and my dad was appearing in “Grease” in the West End. And backstage, the whole David Bechkam family was there. And my brother — who was a huge fan of Manchester United, where David was playing at the time — was just freaking out. So we were all just hanging out in the dressing room, then we went out to eat afterwards. And it was all very surreal, looking back on it now. But it was my mom who taught me how to handle myself in this business, really. And how to take it all in and really appreciate everything in life.

You studied acting, and got your first role in the film “Finding Neverland” before working on BBC TV shows like “Emmerdale” and “Scott & Bailey.” How did music enter the picture? It just always was there. I went to school for acting and singing and such, but whenever I went home, I was always writing songs. But it wasn’t until I met Danny (Wilkin, Rixton keyboardist), after I left school, that I finally thought that this was what I really wanted to do. It just felt right. But acting was something that I just loved doing. The whole audition process was something I truly enjoyed — I really thrived off the adrenaline.

Is it frustrating, trying to convince folks that you really are a band that cut its teeth in pubs, and not a manufactured product? I’ll be honest — it is kind of strange when people start talking about us like we aren’t even real. But people can say whatever they want. But they should really come and see us live. Hopefully, they’ll leave the show with a completely different perspective.

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Tom Lanham

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