Norell & Zander Figueroa
Norell & Zander Figueroa
The Band Famous is an openly queer, poly, married couple and technology-saavy music duo, software, and enterprise that has been rocking since 2013 and they have no plans of stopping! At the release of their 2nd EP Awakening on Bandcamp, Zander and Norell were thrilled their album was picked up by 6 Towns Radio (broadcast to Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle, and Kidsgrove in the United Kingdom) and radio DJ Simon Edwards, who enjoyed the closing track “Because” and played it alongside musical groups like Sonic Youth on his Loose Cannon with Simon Edwards show on June 29th, 2020. This was the first time the band had been played on the radio airwaves in the UK, a dream come true for them! Then, one year later, exactly one day after Zander’s birthday, on August 2nd the entire radio show was played again on 6 Towns Radio, and then again on August 3rd, this time on Fasching Web Radio in France, and then again on August 4th, the entire show archive was picked up and aired on Radio Lantau, the number one radio station in Hong Kong, China! Riding Cloud Nine, they didn’t know they could get even higher, but on August 7th and August 9th, another radio station in Cardiff, United Kingdom, Radio Wigwam, played the entire radio show that features “Because” by The Band Famous. The song “Because” was composed, written, recorded and produced entirely by The Band Famous co-founder and co-producer, Jacob Alexander Figueroa, aka Zander, while the duo was living in New York City in Upper Manhattan near Fort Tryon Park. He stayed up all night producing it, and when the second half of The Band Famous – Mary Norell Jackson aka Norell – awoke, Zander told her, “here, sing these lyrics”. Norell happily obliged contributing vocals to what would go on to be one of their most worldwide-known tracks. The inspiration and fuel to keep going that these blessings provided to the music duo cannot be overstated. The pair has overcome more hardships than the average American. As discussed in interviews with VoyageLA, Medium, and more – including on their own website at https://bandfamous.com/venue, they had to overcome many obstacles. From toxic and abusive family, to jealous and sabotaging frenemies, to identity theft, and other thefts they suffered, to living in a 4 door sedan as a young married entrepreneurial couple for 2.5 years to recover from some of the above setbacks and struggles. During this very difficult time of sacrifice – think 2.5 birthdays spent in a vehicle, 2.5 years of all holidays, 2.5 years of not having a comfortable shelter and 2.5 years of mental turmoil from these circumstances, it’s amazing the couple even survived. Norell wrote “Emotional Scatter”, a popular trip hop track by the duo, while they were still living in the car together as a personal anthem to keep going and to keep fighting the good fight. It’s a good thing they kept going, too. Because in doing so, by surviving and persevering through the hardships they endured, they were able to not only help themselves with the realization of some of their dreams, but they were able to help make many dreams come true for fellow creatives. They hosted, produced, and sometimes performed many benefit concerts and even a two-fold benefit music festival in the time frame from January 2019 to January 2020. They helped raise awareness and proceeds for charities and causes like American Heart Association, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, My Friend’s Place supporting homeless youth, and Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, in which Norell and Zander personally drove and delivered two huge boxes of food and a check with the donations they raised. They gave many artists and performers their first ever show in Los Angeles, and since covid hit, for many of them it might be the last live concert for a while. After live-streaming a benefit to raise awareness for both the LGBT Center and Los Angeles Animal Services, The Band Famous made the hard decision to close their independent music venue. Ultimately this decision was made for public health concern and because the pandemic took away the ability to allow audiences for their benefit events, which also took away the ability to help sustain the venue with their donation-based bar. Since the music duo aspires to do more animal rescue, and covid left them with no choice but to close their venue, the music duo bought 41 acres off grid in Arizona in February of 2021 and began to adapt to a ranch / homestead lifestyle. The Band Famous still has a base in Los Angeles, but have been taking time away from the city to get set up on their land in AZ and really focus on some of their productions. So the song “Because”, which was birthed in New York City, and the music video production and feature production both of which were filmed in Los Angeles, was completed, edited, and finalized off grid in Arizona. The Matrix: Because is a Fan Made Film by The Band Famous. Zander and Norell have both been massively influenced and inspired by what they call one of the greatest movie franchises of all time (right up there with Star Wars). The Matrix franchise has greatly influenced their thirst for technology and the duo went on to become the first in the world to self-distribute and self-release their debut album in the form of an interactive app self-titled The Band Famous, first launched for iPhone in May of 2014 and celebrated with an “App Release Party” (in place of the standard “Album Release”) at historic Gay 90s in Minneapolis, MN that June. The two can literally say “they made the band famous”. Then a year later it was launched cross-platform for Android in November 2015! Some of their biggest supporters of their app album include the great late B.J. Thomas. He was the first concert young Norell ever attended and it was a dream come true to have his support. They love him like family and send lots of love to the Mrs. B.J. Thomas. The pair that make up The Band Famous are almost like a real-life Trinity and Neo, with how technology-focused their band is, from hard-coding and programming their websites and their apps, to live streaming their music and concerts, to live streaming entire benefit festivals. As comedian and Jack-of-all-trades, Tom Green (Freddy Got Fingered, The Tom Green Show, Charlie’s Angels, and more) put it when talking to The Band Famous on his Webovision show when the duo was still living in New York City, “Coding is the new rock n roll!” Tom Green was a huge reason the duo decided to make the leap towards their dreams and move to Los Angeles, even if it meant having to make such major sacrifices as living out of their own car to bring some dreams into reality. The two were determined, they were going to break out of the Matrix that was the hardships they’d been dealt in their lives, and they were going to rise above the ashes and make multiple dreams come true. And they were going to wake others up to their potential and help others in the process of doing so. Because they’re Famous. The Band Famous.
Norell & Zander Figueroa
Norell: 09/25/1989 ; Zander: 08/01/1986
Norell: Libra ; Zander: Leo
Norell: European mix of Swedish, German, Irish, English, and maybe some other stuff in there. Zander: Spanish, Mexican (his grandmother speaks fluent Mayan), Russian, and some other European stuff in there.
Entertainers & Entrepreneurs
Norell: 5’3″ ; Zander: 5’11”
Norell: 115lbs ; Zander: 140lbs