We the Kings are a melodic emo-pop band from Bradenton, Florida, a small Southern town that doubles as the home base for Tropicana orange juice. Friends since childhood (the band's moniker even refers to the name of their junior-high mascot), the four bandmates -- singer/guitarist Travis Clark, guitarist Hunter Thomsen, his bassist brother Drew Thomsen, and drummer Danny Duncan -- formed the group while attending high school. Under the guidance of manager Bret Disend, they placed a number of tracks on the social networking site Purevolume in 2007 to build online buzz. Meanwhile, they also pursued a deal with EMI's imprint S-Curve Records, which eventually signed the group.
We the Kings' self-titled debut album was produced by Sam Hollander and mixed by Lou Giordano, both of whom had done work with some of emo-pop's most marketable acts, and released in October 2007. "Check Yes Juliet" cracked the Pop 100 that fall, and the group spent much of the following two years on the road, playing shows alongside simpatico bands like The Academy Is... and Hey Monday. They also found time to record a second album, Smile Kid, which arrived in late 2009. Like the band's debut, Smile Kid spawned a Top 100 single with "We'll Be a Dream," which featured guest vocals from Demi Lovato. We the Kings continued to tour heavily, supporting All Time Low for several months before headlining their own shows at home and abroad. The shows stretched into 2011, by which point the group had already begun work on a third album. Sunshine State of Mind was released that summer. ~ Stewart Mason, Rovi