The Lumineers burst onto the American music scene in the spring of 2012 when they released “Ho Hey,” the lead single from their self-titled, debut studio album. The single peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and was eventually certified Platinum. “Ho Hey” has also been featured in episodes of the television shows Bones, Hart of Dixie, and The Vampire Diaries.
The band’s journey begins several years before the release of “Ho Hey.” In 2005, guitarist Wesley Schultz and drummer Jeremiah Fraites began writing songs together and performing in New York City and the surrounding area. In 2010, unable to cut it in the New York music scene, the duo packed up their belongings and headed west. To be precise, Schultz and Fraites relocated to Denver, Colorado.
The first thing they did upon arriving in D-town was put an advertisement in Craigslist for a cello player. It was through this ad that they met Neyla Pekarek. She immediately joined the group and soon the trio was playing gigs all over Denver. The addition of Pekarek did more to Schultz and Fraites’ music than just adding a cello. Pekarek, a classically trained musician, helped “soften” (feminize) the boys’ music. In the process, Pekarek also improved her skills on the piano and mandolin. In 2012, the band added bassist Ben Wahamaki and pianist Stelth Ulvang.
The Lumineers were discovered in 2011 when talent agents saw them singing “Ho Hey” on YouTube. The band released their first album in April of 2012. Their self-titled opus peaked at number two on the Billboard 200 and was certified Platinum in mid-February of 2013. It also earned them two Grammy awards—one for Best New Artist and another for Best Americana Album. In late 2012 and throughout most of 2013, Lumineers concerts were held all over North America, UK, Europe, and Australia. Even though they played mostly small venues, Lumineers tickets sold out just about everywhere and did so very quickly.
The band received it name long before its retreat to Colorado. Playing in New Jersey one night, they were incorrectly introduced as “The Lumineers.” The “real” Lumineers were scheduled to perform the following week. Despite the confusion, Schultz and Fraites kept the name.