The American Hotel System is a rock band from Grand Rapids, Michigan that aims to provoke the mind through heartfelt lyrics and intentional musicality. The band has opened for Bon Jovi on their 2022 tour and are two time Music Prize finalists and Grand Champions of Music Prize 2022.
What was your original calling to music? How did you start?
All of us have played music in different capacities for most of our lives, but the common thread was worship music and CCM. Four out of the five of us (Jacob, Hailey, Samuel, and Jake) met while attending college where we all studied music and all five of us have been worship leaders at some point. While we play alternative rock music, I think those CCM influences can still be heard in the music we’re making. While we had performed together countless times during our undergrad studies, it wasn’t until the last semester of our senior year that we first played as The American Hotel System. I was organizing a community night for finals week which included some of my favorite on-campus acts. Hailey, Samuel, Jake, and I (along with our dear friend Ethan) put together an alt rock act for what we thought was a one-off performance. As soon as that first show was over, we were asked to play another on-campus event…and thus The American Hotel System was born! We’re a band that never intended to be a band!
Who or what is your musical inspiration? Which artist(s) do you look up to? Did any of them inspire you to experiment with your music? Is there something new you’d like to try?
Part of the beauty of the band is that we each have such diverse musical backgrounds ranging from classical, CCM, hardcore, and country. Switchfoot, Manchester Orchestra, Biffy Clyro, and Foo Fighters are some of our biggest influences.
From a songwriting perspective, my favorite artists are the ones who use lyrics as a tool to wrestle with the pain, beauty, questions, and longings of life. My biggest songwriting inspirations are Jon Foreman, Drew Holcomb, and Andy Hull.
Why did you become involved with Music Beats Cancer? Has cancer directly or indirectly affected you?
We originally were asked to partner with Music Beats Cancer through Reverbnation. We sent in a live performance of our song The Feeling and connected with Mona about partnering and helping the cause. Every member of The American Hotel System has been affected by cancer. Jacob’s great grandmother died of lymphoma and his dad had a very intense battle with stage 3 prostate cancer. Hailey’s father died of lung cancer and her mother had been battling cancer for several years when she passed away. C.T. has a handful of family members and several close friends who have passed away or are currently still fighting it. Jake’s grandfather died after a long battle with several different cancers that he fought for many years and Samuel’s grandfather died from lung cancer.
What is happening next in your music career?
We recently signed with SONO music group and are currently recording a new EP that will release later in 2023. We’re writing, recording, and playing more than ever! We’ve been so fortunate as an independent band for the last five years, but we’re incredibly excited to see where this new chapter with a label is able to take us. Our hope is that these new resources will help us share our music with new listeners and invite them into the TAHS community!
Anything else you would like Music Beats Cancer
readers to know about you?
We’re honored to be part of the Music Beats Cancer family and hope to continue to help raise awareness for cancer research and innovations. 2023 is gearing up to be a big year for us, so we’d love to connect on socials to keep you posted on new music. We also just launched a phone number so fans can text us directly; (616) 315-0101 — We’d love to hear from you!