A Pottsville native and his band are getting their big break on national television.
Brett Hutchinson and his band, Xolie Morra & the Strange Kind, will perform on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on Nov. 11.
"We are hoping it's the next step up. It would be nice to be a professional band and not have a job but make money doing what you love," Hutchinson said Wednesday. "This is definitely the biggest opportunity we have to get our music out to a larger audience."
Hutchinson, 31, who lived most of his life in California with his dad, spent a year in high school in Pottsville before moving back. However, he said he returns to the areas as often as he can to see his mother and friends.
"I moved around a lot, but I definitely call Pottsville home," Hutchinson said. "I love coming back. I lived there for only about a year but made some of the best friends in my life there. I come back every chance I get."
He graduated from Expression College for Digital Arts with a music and audio engineering degree. He then moved to Seattle and is currently a bar manager.
He has played with numerous bands and met lead singer Xolie Morra Cogley when she was looking for musicians on Craigslist.
"I've been playing music a long time," he said. "I kept the music thing going and met up with Xolie a few years ago. We've just been going at it ever since and now we are starting to see the payoffs from all the hard work."
Fellow band members Maxmillion Browne, guitar, and Christian LieBig, bass, are friends from Los Angeles, Hutchinson said. Morra has won many competitions but was looking for a band, "not hired guns," as Hutchinson said.
"Xolie is just incredibly talented," he said.
Morra has Asperger syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder characterized by difficult social interaction.
"She's a spokesperson for that community, as well. There's an underdog story behind her," he said.
Hutchinson said Morra is extremely focused on music and shares her knowledge with the rest of the band.
Hutchinson said their latest gig became available through Morra and the band promoting themselves online and through support websites for independent artists, such as www.ourstage.com. They also endorse products for companies.
Networking is key, he said.
"Mingle with everyone because you never know who can help you out," Hutchinson said.
Xolie Morra & the Strange Kind has released music on iTunes and posted music videos on YouTube. Hutchinson said their music doesn't fall into any one category, and they can perform with a variety of other acts.
"It kind of fits into every genre," Hutchinson said. "It's just more appealing because we can reach more people being in different genres and write different kinds of songs."
For fellow musicians still looking for a big break, Hutchinson said to don't let the lack of results hold you back and only quit when it stops being fun.
"I was never going to quit. I told myself that I would only give up when it stops being fun," Hutchinson said. "Just stick your head down and keep at it. Never give up. Always do what you love and only stop when you stop loving it."
Seattle Channel 21 has a biography of the band on its Art Zone Shuffle show available on its YouTube channel. Xolie Morra & the Strange Kind is also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ thestrangekind.
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OCTOBER 31, 2014
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