Nicole Boudreau stares intently into the camera, lip-synching along with a booming recording of herself as the name of her band glitters in bright lights behind her. This music video for the Royalty’s addictive song “Bartender” isn’t happening on some Hollywood sound stage, though. It’s to the right of the bar inside the Blue Line Lounge and Grill, just under the Damen blue line stop.
The spot’s retro vibe matches perfectly with the soul-influenced rockers, who may not be unknown much longer thanks to being tagged as an MTV Buzzworthy artist. The quintet hails from El Paso, Texas but will release its sophomore full-length “Lovers” May 8 on Chicago’s Victory Records. While drummer Joel Quintana performed for the video, the rest of the band offered some more things to know about a group you should listen for.
On comparisons that have been made between Boudreau and Amy Winehouse: “I love Amy Winehouse,” says Boudreau, 25. “That’s been said before, and I don’t even process it. It’s so flattering. ‘Cause that’s like an idol. But also the older singers, Etta James, even male singers like Sam Cooke and Otis Redding and Ray Charles, that’s what I strive to do. I really like [Sam Cooke’s] voice. I think it’s good to listen to male voices ‘cause then it creates a unique female voice.”
The band name wasn’t chosen to be self-congratulatory. Asked to name something the Royalty isn’t, bassist Will Daugherty, 27, responds, “Stuck-up.” “The name portrays this confidence that we don’t have,” adds Boudreau with a laugh.
If she ever, as she sings in “Bartender,” actually falls in love with the bartender: “Momentarily, I do, every time. Every night. Whoever’s serving me a drink. First of all alcohol’s involved. And so the longer the night goes on--they’re providing a good time, and they’re usually really charming, the ones that I’ve met. They’re people persons. They have a way with just making you feel—they’re working for their tips, I guess. And they choose if they pay attention to you or not.”
Who’s royalty in America? Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie (Boudreau, keyboardist Daniel Marin, 29); the Kennedys (guitarist Jesus Apodaca, 25); the Obamas (Daugherty)
FYI: The band’s self-titled, self-released 2010 debut is now streaming on Spotify
Guilty pleasure movies: “Zoolander” (Boudreau); “Sleepless and Seattle” (Apodaca); “Clueless” (Marin); Apodaca and Daugherty also know all the lines in “You’ve Got Mail”
Non-musical experience: Marin used to be a TV news anchor in El Paso; former electrical engineer Quintana, 30, will take final exams for his doctorate from University of Texas—El Paso two days after “Lovers” comes out.
See the Royalty: May 16 at Beat Kitchen