Talent shows are held all over the country. But it seems they particularly resonate in the South. There are kids who are run through the talent show mill from the time they are able to walk, talk, sing, dance or act. Some talent show teens have spent more time on stage than veteran Rock stars. The lucky ones might end up in broadcasting, fronting a covers band or making a run at American Idol. Usually though, the ribbons, trophies and newspaper clippings are stuffed in a closet when the "real world" of jobs, rent, food and credit card bills takes over. It's rare that a talent show queen ends up fronting a Rock group.
Hayley Williams was raised in Meridian, Mississippi, where her talent show experience led to commercials. And that might have been the end of it. But the Williams family relocated to Franklin, Tennessee. Moving is always a traumatic, life altering experience, especially for a thirteen year old girl. But it was even more so for Williams, since it was in Franklin she came across Josh and Zac Farro. The brothers played guitar and drums respectively, and invited Williams to join their effort.
Seeing Paramore perform only once, Fueled By Ramen's head honcho, John Janick, decided to sign the group. He shipped them down to Orlando, closer to Fueled By Ramen's headquarters. The group also picked up bassist John Hembree. He'd stepped in for Jeremy Davis who had left for "personal reasons." But after five months, Paramore asked Davis to return - which he did. Also, Hunter Lamb took over from the band's original second guitarist.
Debut album "All We Know Is Falling" arrived in '06. Having appeared on The Fueled By Ramen & Friends Tour and Taste of Choas, Paramore graced the '06 Vans Warped Tour.
Paramore recorded their sophomore effort "Riot!" between January and March, '07. But they did it with out Lamb. He left the band shortly after getting married leaving (Josh) Farro to record both the lead and rhythm parts. However, Taylor York, who had worked with the Farro brothers prior to Paramore, was brought onboard.
"Riot!" was chosen as the title because it meant "a sudden outburst of uncontrolled emotion" and that, according to the band, summed it up. The album entered the Billboard 200 cracking (just barely) the Top 20. Then Paramore took another spin, their third, on the Warped Tour.
Paramore wrapped up a pretty successful year with a performance on MTV's New Year's Eve. A couple months later, Alternative Press named them the "Best Band of 2007" and the group received a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist - they lost to Amy Winehouse (who has needed rehab ever since). In November, '08, following an extensive tour of the same name, "The Final Riot!," a live set arrived.
Around the same time, Paramore issued the Rob Cavallo (Green Day, My Chemical Romance, Avril Lavigne) produced single "Decode." That song and "I Caught Myself" appeared on the hugely popular "Twilight" soundtrack.
Cavallo returned to produce Paramore's third studio album, "Brand New Eyes." The lead single from the '09 release, "Ignorance," made its debut in July - the accompanying video was broadcast on all MTV platforms a month later.
Paramore did very well at the 2009 Teen Choice Awards. Beating out the likes of Green Day, the group picked up the Choice Music: Rock Group and Choice Music: Rock Track ("Decode") trophies. Gotta love that "Twilight" connection!
And the awards kept coming. At the 17th annual Kerrang! Awards in London, the 2010 Best Album nod went to Paramore for "Brand New Eyes."
Despite the accolades, Paramore suffered a round of departures in '11 when the Farro brothers took a hike claiming, in a bitter blog, that they felt like mere backing musicians. They also wrote of disagreements with Williams regarding song lyrics. "I was very surprised," said Williams. Guitarist Justin York and drummer Josh Freese were touring replacements.
Josh Farro launched the band Novel American while Zac led Half Noise.
Paramore's first post-Farro brothers album was a '13 self-titled effort. "The whole making of this album was a rediscovering of ourselves as a band and as friends," Williams, Davis and York wrote on the band's website. "It was a process that allowed us the freedom to explore new territory artistically and to liberate ourselves as musicians, singers, as people." They also thanked fans for their support and producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen "for seeing a brand new band in us."
Ilan Rubin (Angels & Airwaves/Nine Inch Nails) played drums on "Paramore" which featured the single, "Now." The album made its debut at #1 on the Billboard 200.
Success didn't halt the turmoil. Paramore announced in late '15 that Davis had left in what his former colleagues call a "painful" split. Despite that, Williams and York vowed to keep Paramore going. Which they did, but not without a dispute.
Davis filed a lawsuit over his entitlement to a share of the band's income. The court was asked to decide whether Davis was a partner or an employee. In his suit against Varoom Whoa, the entity that owned Paramore, Davis stated he was a partner.
The next day, Paramore embarked on their second Parahoy! Festival at Sea, a round-trip cruise from Miami to Cozumel, Mexico. They performed twice during the five day trip.
Like a prodigal son, Zac Farro lent a hand in the studio for the production of Paramore's next album before the group announced his return. A simple "I'm back," graced the band's social media outlets.
2005 All We Know Is Falling
2009 Brand New Eyes
Paramore plays engaging, accessible Pop-Rock. The guitars spurt and churn as they roll through catchy riffs. For her part, Williams finds the lyrical passion and glazes it with a slight pop sheen.
The songs are lean and to the point. "Here We Go Again" is about as majestic as Paramore gets, and even then they don't get pretentious or overblown. Lyrically, Paramore is topical and straight-ahead. The usual girl/boy stuff. But Williams, by virtue of her age and gender, gives her vocals a top-of-mind urgency.