Although the first impression of Thriving Ivory comes from the searing falsetto of frontman Clayton Stroope, the big rock ballads written by band mastermind and pianist Scott Jason make him the true architect of the band's sound. Jason recruited Stroope to sing his songs while both were students at UC Santa Barbara. They gained audiences in Northern California after putting together a backing band with a handful of San Francisco Bay Area natives -- guitarist Drew Cribley, bassist Bret Cohune and drummer Paul Niedermier -- and putting together a self-released demo with the help of Jellyfish alumnus Chris Manning. That recording made an immediate impression on radio audiences in San Francisco in 2005, helping the band rise from unsigned hopefuls to phone-in favorites on the strength of a pair of barn-burning modern rockers, "Overrated" and "Angels on the Moon." In 2007 the band signed to Wind-Up, which helped them nab ubiquitous rock producer Howard Benson for their self-titled debut, which was released in June 2008.