X Ambassadors

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About X Ambassadors

For X Ambassadors, rock music isn’t so much a sound as a feeling or mood. They’re not alone in this thinking. Along with a handful of similarly minded acts including Imagine Dragons, twenty one pilots, and AWOLNATION, the New York band emerged in the early 2010s with a modern spin on rock, one retaining the raw passion traditionally associated with the genre while at the same time leaning heavily on sonic elements imported from electronic music and hip-hop. This approach is executed to perfection on “Renegades” and “Unsteady,” the multiplatinum smashes that transformed them into stars in 2015. Over meticulously produced beats that graft synthesizers and digital programming to live drums and guitars, vocalist Sam Harris unleashes tour de force performances blending hard-rock howls, an R&B falsetto, and other elements. It’s an aesthetic pushed to its very limits on X Ambassadors’ bold collaborations. They’ve worked with a slew of MCs and EDM producers, The Knocks and Illenium among them. The most notable collaboration, however, is with Lil Wayne and Wiz Khalifa on their 2016 hit “Sucker for Pain,” from Suicide Squad: The Album. For all intents and purposes, it’s a hip-hop track, and yet the cameos from X Ambassadors and the aforementioned Imagine Dragons infuse it with an attitude that is 100 percent rock. And on songs like the 2019 single "Optimistic"—a scorcher packed with angst-fueled guitar riffs and vocals—X Ambassadors leave no question that left to their own devices, they'll crank the volume like their old-school forebears, even as they're committed to open borders and creative interactions across genres.

Ithaca, NY, United States
October 22, 2008
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