A truly gifted songwriter, performer and recording artist, Aaron Hendra is also an owner of LA based indie Give Records. He met entrepreneur Rick St George in 2008 and created Give. In an era where major label development is almost nonexistent, Give provides opportunities and time for an artist to find their musical identity.
OCTOBERSONG is the debut release for both Aaron and Give and was sculpted over a 3 year period at Give Studios in LA. An opportunity like this is a dream come true for any artist but did not come easily for Aaron. Rather it is a result of over a decade of persistence through ups, downs and near misses that would cause most aspiring musicians to pack up and head home.
Early success for the Aussie born songwriter came when he hand delivered a simple piano/vocal demo to the record company office of Aussie recording superstar John Farnham. Several weeks later Aaron received a personal phone call from Farnham, stating that he loved the song and wanted to record it. “Don’t Let It End” became a single on Farnham’s multi-platinum CD “Romeo’s Heart”. Sheryl Crow and Dianne Warren also pitched songs for this album.
In 2001, a recording contract with Hollywood records helped Aaron and his band gain access to the United States and opportunities to live abroad and grow as a songwriter. Producer problems left the group unable to deliver a cohesive record however and a year after signing the deal, the label dropped the young band from its roster. A period of seven years passed where Aaron continued to pay dues. This included two further letdowns, a development deal with Warner Bros that ended when the supporting A & R person lost their job, and then, making it all the way through auditions to the top 50 finalists for the 1st season of Rockstar with INXS only to miss final selection for the show. Major label deals and Reality TV at that point were not the destined paths. 2005 thru 2008 consisted of days on the construction site and nights playing small acoustic shows and writing songs. This only served to fuel the flame.
Near the end of 2008 the gift of a second chance at a recording career arrived. Aaron met Rick St George, a finance guy who saw the untapped talent and believed in his music immediately. The entrepreneur struck a deal with the songwriter and Give Records was born. Once again able to focus fully on writing and recording, Aaron began to assemble a team. Long time friend and session drummer Greg ‘Gigi’ Gonaway joined forces with Aaron and moved to LA in 2009 to begin pre-production. St George, thinking this was more than a solo artist but not quite a band, dubbed it the ‘Aaron Hendra Project’. Work began under the AHP moniker. Not wanting the pressure of the usual ticking clock of commercial studios, St George decided to search for a unique space as a new home for Give family. He soon found a secluded compound only a block from the famous Sunset Strip in Beverly Hills. Not only was the space perfect for album, it also had a rich musical heritage.
Built in the 70’s by the late Richard Colburn (Founder of the Colburn School of Music in LA) to entertain LA socialites, the house featured a ballroom designed for chamber orchestras. Classical violinists such as Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Mar and Isaac Stern we’re regular guests back in the day. St George, Aaron, Gigi and sound engineer Dave Ahlert went to work turning the library into a control room and the production began. Producer Rob Hill the team in 2010 and once tracking was complete the team took the songs to South Beach Studios in Miami Beach, Florida where renowned mix engineer Tom Lord-Alge added his magic and finessed them to completion.
During recording, Sam Childers AKA the “Machine Gun Preacher” visited Give Studios and asked Aaron to write a song about his mission to save the children of Sudan. The result was “One Man’s War”. AHP then traveled to Sudan to record the 300 children now living at the orphanage sing the end choruses of the song. Touching and inspiring listeners all over the globe, it has become the official spiritual anthem of the Machine Gun Preacher.
The yet to be released new album from AHP, called OCTOBERSONG, features 11 tracks from the artist. With definite mainstream appeal, the music and songs of Aaron Hendra are poised to make an impact on a broad audience ranging from high school aged youngsters to mature adults. With a message, voice and sound that is fresh yet authentic and heartfelt, this adult contemporary artist is destined for the world stage.
Aaron Hendra Project
‘OCTOBERSONG‘ is the (yet to be released) debut release by Australian born recording artist Aaron Hendra. It is the culmination of 10 years of writing while living and honing his craft in the unforgiving musical landscape of Los Angeles. Not only are all songs featured on the album 100% written by Aaron, he also produced them with Rob Hill. Recording took place over 2 years at a private mansion only a block from Sunset and Doheny in Beverly Hills. Vintage Neve and API consoles we’re installed in the control room specifically for the record. All songs were engineering by Dave Ahlert. After tracking and overdubs Aaron took the songs to South Beach studios in Miami to be mixed by world renowned mixing engineer Tom Lord-Alge. The recordings also feature the drumming talents of Greg ‘Gigi’ Gonaway (ex Mariah Carey) who is a key member of the Aaron Hendra Project. Bass players on the record included Paul Bushnell (Faith Hill, Daughtry, Shakira), Marcus Brown (Madonna, Seal) and Dorian Heartsong. Piano and keyboard players included Rami Jaffee (Foo Fighters, Wallflowers), Jamie Mahoberac (Goo Goo Dolls, Chris Cornell, All American Rejects) and again Marcus Brown. Live strings performed by (24 piece orchestra) members LA Philharmonic, arranged and conducted by David Campbell. Percussion on ‘One Mans War’ by Brian Kilgore (Blood Diamond Theme). All guitars played by Aaron Hendra.
Aaron Hendra Project – “One Mans War” Official Slideshow