By Jacque Roche
Photography by Gerald Elizalde
The email came through innocuously enough and I was immediately interested. “We have a friend in common and it was suggested that I reach out to you.”
A social butterfly never sleeps as she is constantly on the lookout. My radar is always on high alert for mention of undiscovered musical talent. To receive a tip and an email slip of some HOT new music through a friend of a friend can cause my heart to skip a beat with that tingle of detection that keeps me up at night. Haven’t we all heard about “that artist,” the one who got their big break from such a serendipitous exchange?
Towards the end of the email introduction there it was… my golden egg… that electronic connection that was going to open a new door and take me down a rabbit hole towards my musical awakening. I turned on the speakers, selected the link and was so intrigued by this new “Power Pop” sound that I simply had to reach out to Huxley Rittman and learn all about what makes him tick.
Huxley Rittman revealed an exceptional story of growing up as an expatriate in an exotic location. Soon after he completed preschool, the family moved from Chappaqua to Singapore where he was introduced to music and a wide variety of instruments, becoming, “decent at the drums, piano and bass, and mediocre at the cello and mountain dulcimer.” During his first 10 years in Singapore Huxley and three childhood friends formed a band they called, The Cave. This quartet quickly drew a lot of attention because of their distinctive style, talent and international appeal. Each member hailed from a different corner of the world. The drummer was from Pakistan, the bassist a Japanese-Mexican, the singer a Brit and Huxley was the native New Yorker.
During their time together, Huxley and his band achieved countless milestones from; a Gibson Artist sponsorship, an international distribution deal, festivals, opening for "Taking Back Sunday," NY agent interest and management and released their EPs, “Light Years” and "Personal" all by H.S. graduation
The direction of his career was changed forever when upon graduation this multi-cultural, multi-national band couldn't find a way to stay together. But he was offered this advice from a trusted mentor, “Rely on yourself for your music.” It was then that Huxley realized he had his own powerful voice, lyrically and musically.
So, that summer before entering Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music, Rittman wrote arranged, performed and recorded four songs for the EP, “Laughs and Cries,” founded Huxley Rittman and The Rusty Hitmen, played at House of Blues (LA) Viper Room (LA) The Trash Bar (NY), Sidewalk (NY) and all over Boston, radio play on about 100 colleges stations, including one in the UK plus completing a second EP. He also got a note from a very respected music company in Nashville stating their interest in him. By the end of his sophomore year at Berklee, Huxley made a decision to spend the summer in Nashville and see where he stacked up in the most competitive songwriting environment in the world, “Music City”!
While in Nashville he deepened his relationships with a lot of interested industry pros, performed on the hottest radio show and in multiple open mics and songwriter nights. He was invited back to perform a show at The Commodore, collaborated with accomplished song writers and recorded a great song in the studio. As an added bonus, he had a song picked up for a Paul Reiser/Molly Shannon movie titled, “Miles.”
On the personal side he got a driver’s license and purchased his first band van. Huxley modestly adds the most impressive feat was surviving “totes” on his own; working a real job, paying bills and socking away a little cash in savings while tackling the art of networking and trying to self-promote.
That part - self promotion - well, that's the hardest thing of all for an artist like Huxley. The management company Huxley is talking with told him, not to worry too much. “We’re a little quixotic about that. We’d rather you come in unknown.” However, every single musician I know laments about the difficulties of getting Likes, followers, fans, drawing at events and mastering the art of networking and self-promotion.
If you don’t work with a local promoter you better be social media savvy with a lot of time and the connections to get your name out there. If you can’t afford to work with a promoter the next best thing would be to find yourself a champion, a white knight that so strongly believes in what you’re doing that she shouts it from the computer laptops and into the ears of her own followers and readers. (J ~ Now who could I be talking about?)
This Social Butterfly anxiously awaits what’s coming next from Huxley Rittman. He is by definition the ideal iGen. He’s comfortable in social circles that include people from multiple ethnic groups, races and religions. He is thoughtful, open-minded, responsible and determined, while possibly a bit shy. Perhaps because of his international upbringing, Huxley is not yet home in the country of his birth, but not visiting either. He is finding his way and working on his music, putting his past, present, insecurities, triumphs and grit into song writing and performance. When you start to hear his music and name trickle out you will be able to say … "I was one of the first people who heard about “that artist,” the one who got his big break" because this writer believed he was worth learning more about and sharing it with you.
For links to music, to follow, become a fan or find out where Huxley and his band are playing next, go to his website at: huxleyrittman.wixsite.com and please, please please LIKE him on Facebook at Huxley Rittman and The Rusty Hitmen.
JacqueButterfly & WestchesterButterfly are “The Source” for all things related to Eating, Drinking & Partying in Putnam, Dutchess, Westchester and Fairfield County Counties. The Butterfly project was created in April 2011 to advance the social media presence of several small businesses and local restaurants in Westchester & Putnam Counties.Connect