Halo Circus with Allison Iraheta “Desire (Lo Que Vale La Pena)”
Halo Circus is an unclassifiable band described by its star singer, Allison Iraheta, as creating “anthems for introverts” – songs that reach deep into the places we seldom talk about and roll them out in unforgettable music. Unlike most modern bands, Halo Circus spent three years developing their sound in front of live audiences and re-recorded their entire debut album when it failed to live up to their own expectations. Their live shows developed such a reputation that The Grammys asked them to headline their first-ever local Los Angeles showcase, which led to Halo Circus being asked to play The Grammys “Women Who Rock – Festival At Sea” with Heart, Emmylou Harris, and other iconic female singers, which led to John Taylor from Duran Duran calling them “The best live band in the USA,” which led to a very successful four-week Friday night residency at the prestigious Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles, which led to incredible press, and most recently Halo Circus curated and headlined their own event, called “Say It Loud! A Night of Cultural Disruption,” at the legendary Troubadour to a packed house and rousing reviews. Vents Magazine called the evening “transformative,” and claimed that Halo Circus “embraced the future of rock music.”
Shot by iconic director Nick Egan [Duran Duran, The Clash, INXS, Oasis], “Desire” offers a guerilla-style vignette of L.A.’s streets. The gritty yet beautiful imagery seamlessly entwines with the song’s explosive chorus, energetic swing, and bilingual lyrics, mirroring the city’s melting pot. Translated from Spanish, the song title means “what it all comes down to is desire.” The word desire strongly reflects singer and Season 8 American Idol alum Allison Iraheta’s Salvadoran background, growing up in South Central Los Angeles, and the culture shock she experienced when her singing took her to other neighborhoods and other parts of the world. The song features a sample of Oscar Romero, a Catholic priest from El Salvador who, prior to his assassination, often spoke out against poverty and social injustice.
“The great thing about working with Halo Circus is they like doing things differently from other bands,” said video director Nick Egan. “It’s all about the idea for them and not about how they look. I find too many bands are obsessed with the way they look above how their music sounds. Initially I had a few ideas that focused on the amazing influence Latinos have had on American pop culture, a celebration. But, as I started to film, I realized that it was more interesting to wonder what was going on in Allison’s head as she walked through the housing projects of East L.A. I felt it should be more personal, and for her to both project and internalize at the same time by singing in her head and occasionally pulling the viewer into her world when it suited her. Moving with her in and out of shadows, raw and real but poetic and vulnerable. It only dawned on me after the first edit, so I literally started from scratch I wanted to make it feel like one take. She is one of the few performers that can and did pull that off.”
For Allison Iraheta, life before and with Halo Circus is like night and day. The daughter of Salvadorian immigrants, she was raised in South Central L.A., with Spanish as her native language. She draws from her background as inspiration for Halo Circus’ most popular songs: “Yo Me Voy,” “All I Have,” and “Desire (Lo Que Vale La Pena).”
Individually, the members of Halo Circus are veteran musicians. Together, they are an unstoppable force to be reckoned with.
Before Halo Circus, bassist/keyboardist Matthew Hager was a No. 1 Billboard multi-platinum producer who crossed multiple genres working with the likes of Duran Duran, Scott Weiland, Mindi Abair, and Mandy Moore.
In addition to being an accomplished Cantonese and orchestral drummer, Veronica Bellino’s previous work with Jeff Beck and DMC of Run DMC has helped to shape her live performances with Halo Circus.
Brian Stead is a relentless guitar aficionado who evokes energy and charisma. He is a thoughtful guitarist with his own voice, one that makes him unique.
Halo Circus’ first EP, Gone, was released in 2013 on tastemaker label Manimal Vinyl, debuting at No. 43 on the iTunes Pop Chart. The EP contains a Spanish version of “Gone,” as well as English and Spanish versions of “Nothing Left.”
Their cover of Duran Duran’s “Do You Believe in Shame?” was featured on Making Patterns Rhyme: A Tribute to Duran Duran alongside Moby, Little Dragon and Warpaint. The decadent music video, directed by Mazik (Cee Lo Green, Black Eyed Peas), debuted on Yahoo! Music in November 2015 and recently won five ADDY awards.
Halo Circus shocked the music industry on February 8, 2016, by announcing, via Billboard, the first fully crowd-sourced American tour ever to be attempted on such a big scale. An even greater surprise is that in 9 weeks, fans 100 percent funded the campaign, making it the first and largest crowd-funded tour to date, with 30 cities and still rising. The full summer tour route will be announced within the coming weeks.
That dominant momentum continues into the release of their highly anticipated album, Bunny, which was produced by Matthew Hager and mixed by multiple Grammy Award winner Craig Bauer (Kanye West, Smashing Pumpkins), to be released on May 27. The first single off the album, “Desire (Lo Que Vale La Pena),” was downloaded 655,000 times in its first week of release in a promotion with BitTorrent Bundle.