Singing Story: Sweet Pill

Date Signed: September 2023

Label: Hopeless Records

Band Members: Zayna Youssef, vocals; Jayce Williams, guitar; Sean McCall, guitar; Ryan Cullen, bass; Chris Kearney, drums

Type of Music: Emo/Punk influenced

Management: Joe Marro, [email protected][email protected]

Booking: Lisa Schiffman, [email protected]

Legal: Paul Sommerstein, [email protected]

Publicity: Brandy Robidoux, [email protected]

Web: instagram.com/sweetpillllinktr.ee/sweetpill

A&R: Eric Tobin

Five-piece band Sweet Pill measured out melodies on the road for a substantial part of the past few years. The investment paid off when the quintet was offered opening duties for Michigan band La Dispute. Kirk Harrington, La Dispute’s manager, also recognized potential in the band and he partnered with Joe Marro, Hopeless Records labelmate The Wonder Years’ manager. Together they formed Lesser Matters, which became Sweet Pill's management company. The investment earned further dividends when Eric Tobin, A&R rep with Hopeless, saw the band at an L.A. show. He flew out to Chicago to catch another set and to offer a deal. But he wasn’t alone in his interest. The principle of scarcity kicked in and three other labels made swift offers. Ultimately, though, Hopeless carried the day.

 “It was pretty organic,” singer Zayna Youssef recalls. “Eric Tobin at Hopeless liked Where the Heart Is, the record we put out with [previous label] Topshelf. Early this year he talked to our manager who let us know [of his interest]. But other A&R people also heard [about] it. We had one offer come in and then three more immediately after that. It was overwhelming because we’d just released our EP the previous year and went on our first-ever U.S. tour.”

Tobin was determined to sign the band, but Youssef remained circumspect. “This was all new to me and I didn’t want someone to own my music forever,” she recollects. “But Hopeless really wanted us and even put up money to consult a lawyer. Tobin was extremely genuine throughout the process and that’s what got me. He kept sweetening the pot and believed in us. We sent the contract back and forth a few times. It wasn’t like ‘Here you go’ and we jumped on it.”

Now signed to Hopeless Records, the four-song EP Starchild is in the works with a target release of spring, 2024. Meanwhile, the lead single “Starchild” debuted in late September. In addition to a number of dates, Sweet Pill played fabled fest South by Southwest in early 2023. The band’s first headlining tour is slated to kick off in April commensurate with the drop of Starchild. – Rob Putnam