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The last few months for me have been very busy and super exciting (to say the least).  It all started when I saw a YouTube video of a young band named LILIAC and found myself watching it over and over (and over).  The family band consists of two sisters and three bothers who are amazingly talented musicians yet oddly enough have flown under the radar for quite some time.   LILIAC means 'vampire bat' in Romanian and is a tribute to theirs parents who immigrated from Romania many years ago.  The band consists of Samuel (20) guitar and backup vocals, Abigail (19) drums, Melody (17) vocals, Ethan (13) bass guitar, and Justin (11) keyboards.

The Cristea family story is special.  Hailing from Downey, California (about 20 miles from Los Angeles), mom and dad came to this country from Transylvania where they had humble beginnings and a traditional religious upbringing.  They passed on these these amazing traits to their children and they all flourished from day one.  Dad (Florian Cristea) always had a love for music and was successful in his own right.  One day he realized his kids were musically gifted too and in turn supported the formation of their band.  They started playing the Santa Monica pier (at a very young age) every weekend  for over three years.  LILIAC paid their dues by playing songs for anyone and everyone who would stop and listen and in-turn built a grassroots following along the way.  One afternoon, Stewart Copeland from The Police discovered them on the pier and interestingly enough sat in for a song.  The rest (we would say) is history.

The Cristea's roller coaster ride intensified when they released a video of Rainbow in the Dark by Ronnie James Dio (who is Melody's childhood idol). The video quickly went viral which led them to perform on a CBS show called The World's Best.  The kids loved the spotlight and showed everyone (most importantly themselves) that they were in fact the real deal and deserving of a shot at stardom.  LILIAC has definitely put in the time and continue to rise in popularity as they continue to tour, playing for adoring fans throughout the US and Canada alike.  

LILIAC'S hard work, focus, and dedication to their craft made them instant internet superstars.  Their YouTube videos have attracted fans from all over the globe and have well over 5 million views worldwide.  In 2019, they finally recorded their first EP of originals called Chain of Thorns.  It quickly reached #1 on Amazon's New Releases Rock Chart, #2 on the Amazon's Best Seller Rock Chart, and quickly opened the eyes of many within the music industry who had just been introduced to this amazingly talented band.  These kids were special.

So how did my wife and I get to be a part of such an amazing story?  After watching their video,  I researched the band and found out they were coming to Katy, Texas.  I got in touch with their Dad (who is currently their Manager) and asked about doing a potential photo shoot with the band.  One thing led to another and we finally met in person at the venue.  After soundcheck, he let us take some photos.   I was a little star struck, but they were so down to earth and nice, they put me at ease and we had a great shoot.  In just a few short minutes I came to realize just how humble the Cristea family was.  After the shoot, the band returned to their dressing room to get ready for their upcoming show.  Watching them live was amazing.  It was evident from the first note how impressive the band actually was as they commanded the stage like seasoned veterans.  

Fast forward a few months,  and we were blessed to have traveled with the family during a few stops on their most recent tour.  We really got to know them during that time, and the more time we spent with them the more we really appreciated the morals that mom and dad instilled within each of them.  It's extremely rare in this day and age to have a band that consists entirely of family members that get along as well as they do and at the same time put out great music.  Maybe they are the modern day Partridge Family, I don't know.  But I do believe that family values combined with exceptional talent are exactly what this country needs now and LILIAC provides exactly that.  



Thomas Coffman

Photojournalist - Houston

Website: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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