The Alabama Shakes Don’t ‘Hold On’ to Stereotypes As They Climb Music Meter

Photo: (Getty)

Bimonthly, we’ll take an artist on the rise on the MTV Music Meter and, to help you discover them a little more, detail some of their philanthropic tendencies — from Mika to Ellie Goulding. This week: the Alabama Shakes!

The Alabama Shakes isn’t just another indie band. The skilled and diverse foursome is a rare example of what “indie” is all about: staying real and giving back. Here are a few reasons we love the Grammy-nominated rockers:

+ They Break Stereotypes

Much like autotune makes all singers sound alike, suspenders and fedoras make all hipsters look alike. In a world where it’s becoming nearly impossible to tell one indie band from the next, the Alabama Shakes aren’t doing what most of their competition is: trying too hard. Lead singer Brittany Howard (who delivered mail before the band blew up!) breaks indie and image stereotypes as a curvaceous, Black front-woman, and the entire band has a laid back style and demeanor that prove success is not a product of size, or background, or which overpriced thrift store you shop at.

+ They Support The Special Olympics

Photo via Nelarusky (James Richards IV/

Last August, the Alabama Shakes performed at Nelarusky — a Chicago show that raised $40,000 for the Special Olympics. More than 4 million disabled athletes from over 170 countries take part in Special Olympics events every year!

+ They’re Inspiring

In just a year, the Alabama Shakes jumped from day jobs to Grammy noms. The rockin’ foursome met in high school back in ’09, and now they’re up for Best New Artist alongside Hunter Hayes, fun., The Lumineers, and Frank Ocean. They’re also nominated for Best Rock Performance for their song “Hold On,” and in the company of big names like the Black Keys and Coldplay. “Hold On,” is an inspiring song that encourages listeners not to give up when times get tough — a message especially relevant as we emerge from last year’s bullying, natural disasters, and economic hardships.

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