Prevailing through the ‘Blank Space

After uploading a Taylor Swift cover of “Blank Space” in a post-hardcore style onto YouTube, the Rochester Hills band, I Prevail, went viral.

The five members in I Prevail never thought they’d become this big when they got together in 2013.

The YouTube video accompanying the Swift cover has 3.6 million views as of press time. The video initially had 2 million views within the first month. The song was number one on the iTunes Rock Singles Chart for one week.

After all of the positive feedback from “Blank Space,” I Prevail’s sales increased. Its 6-track EP, Heart vs. Mind, hit the number one spot on the iTunes Rock Album chart for over a week. In addition, the album hit number two on the Google Play Rock Album chart.

“When we launched the EP, for probably 45 days straight, we were online non-stop promoting,” drummer Lee Runestad said.”When we started going viral, we had to take time off of work to keep up with it.”

Right now, the members of I Prevail are still in the writing process for the next album. They’ve ditched school and their day jobs to make the band their top priority.

Before the band, Runestad (25) attended Oakland Community College where he earned his associate degree in liberal arts. He also received training to be an EMT, but decided his previous accomplishments didn’t fit his expectations and wanted something more.

It was when he started a new semester at Oakland University, in the fall 2014 semester, that I Prevail’s video went viral and Runestad made the business decision to finish the semester then stop schooling in order to promote the band more seriously.

“We’d played plenty of shows before we released the EP, so we had a small fan base and people who liked us, but we were playing for a different dynamic back then,” Runestad said.

 Now, the members are at the point in popularity where fans and fame are changing their lives. They’re very careful of when they give out their phone numbers and other personal information, which they had to learn through Runestad’s mistake of featuring his personal number at the end of the “Blank Space,” cover video.

“Back then, we expected things to turn out differently,” Runestad said. “I put my number there for business purposes, but soon I was getting at least thirty calls a day and a crazy amount of text messages from fans.”

Luckily for Runestad, the amount of calls and texts from fans has slowed down. I Prevail now use that opportunity with the phone to interact with fans when they reach out.

“It’s always wonderful to get support and hear from others how much our music helped them,” Runestad said.

The members of I Prevail hope that one day Taylor Swift’s manager, or Taylor Swift herself, will be the one on the other end of the call.

“There are a lot of voicemails and texts from people impersonating Taylor, and a part of me dies every time it’s not really her,” Runestad said. “But I’m still holding out. It would all be worth it.”