Ventura Lights
Gig Seeker Pro

Ventura Lights

Spring Hill, TN | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

Spring Hill, TN | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Rock Alternative





Popular YouTube drummer Cobus Potgieter, who has amassed over 126 million views since his first video in 2006 on the social networking video channel, is to form a band with four other YouTube musicians and record a full length album in February.

Auditions solicited, received exclusively through YouTube:
Band members were selected from the 452 American entries, received exclusively through YouTube auditions. Potgieter says that the aim of the project is “to reach out to the masses, accept auditions from completely unknown (but completely epic) musicians, choose and connect with the people that inspire me and that I have chemistry with, fly them to Los Angeles for a few weeks, and write and record an album." "It has become clear through my experience of this project that true and sincere music is perhaps the most powerful form of expression and inspiration the world has ever seen, that there is NO substitute for hard work, and that musicians are incredibly sensitive to honesty and integrity in an industry where it is almost non-existent.”

Four members announced:
After watching each audition three times, Potgieter shortlisted 14, finally choosing BJ Bryant (guitar) from Nashville, Tennessee, Evan Collins (bass guitar) from Anderson, South Carolina, Bear Rose (guitar) from Troy, North Carolina as well as Justin Hicks (vocals) from Georgia. Potgieter will lead the band on drums. “I went into the project with a very open mind and decided beforehand that the players themselves, how they mesh and fit and combine, will determine the final band,” explains Potgieter. "It became clear early on that we are excited about creating things that have real meaning. A common theme in our discussions is that we’re normal dudes with the desire to communicate hope,” he says.

Producer announcement imminent:
While the producer is yet to be confirmed, Potgieter says that he is very close to selecting the producer and that the producers to whom he has spoken to are “very excited about the project”. Funding for the project was raised through Kickstarter, the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects. Remarkably, the project exceeded its goal by $17,000 and reached $52,000 in less than two weeks with the support of backers throughout the States and further afield including Potgieter’s home country, South Africa.

“I really managed my expectations when we launched. You have to keep in mind: Kickstarter projects ask people to pay for an idea. They are paying for something that does not exist yet.That’s a big favor to ask of any supporter. It was encouraging beyond measure to see how excited people were about enabling such a far-out project and seeing it come to life.

Technology tools being used extensively:
Potgieter says the “landmark project has shown that new age technology tools can be used to create a band. Now technology is going to be used to record music and distribute it outside of the main stream music industry which I trust to be powerful liberation for a new generation emerging artists.”

Potgieter is also committed to keeping his backers and others updated through the album’s recording and production. He says that weekly webisodes will be broadcast via Cobus’ main YouTube channel [] which is watched by over 60,000 viewers daily. Followers will also follow developments with the Live Studio Cam, sponsored by Drum Channel with more information available from

Documentary to be made produced:
A feature-length documentary, telling this amazing story from start to finish, will also be produced. Ultimately, the project will be packaged as two CDs and three DVDs. The drummer, who has a built a following of 355,000 loyal fans across the globe and is supported by millions across the globe, is to record the album with his new band in Oxnard, California, just kilometres from Los Angeles. - MEDIAEQ on January 11, 2013


"Ventura Lights shows the world a new way to make it in Music." - YouTube, LLC (March 2013)


Ventura Lights/"Way Up Here" iTunes 2013 Debuted at #46 on the ITunes Rock chart (self released)

Track List

The Moment

Edge Of A Battle

Set It Off

Breaking Out

Kings Are Coming



Find Rest

Stars (Reprise)

The Call

Ventura Lights/'Way Up Here" Five CD Box Set, includes the DVD of the Making of The You Tube Band Project, entitled, "Finding The Way Up Here" 2013 (self released)








We are a rock band named Ventura Lights:  Justin Lee Hicks vocals and keys; BJ Bryant on vocals and guitar; Bear Rose on guitar; Evan Marc Collins on bass; and Cobus Potgieter on drums.  We started as one South African drummer’s dream and developed into a fully-realized artist.  “My YouTube Band Project” -- hosted by Cobus Potgieter, and supported by people all over the globe -- allowed us to write and record our debut album “Way Up Here”.  This album features the single “Superheroes” (which has over 1,122,500 views on YouTube), and includes the high-energy songs “Breaking Out” and “Set It Off” which has been used in sports edits.  It was self-released on August 30, 2013 and debuted at #46 on the iTunes Rock Chart.  There is an accompanying DVD which captures the process and the memories of our journey which is appropriately entitled, “Finding Our Way Up Here”.

Ventura Lights is….

Justin Hicks:  Vocals and Keys

Justin was born in Port Charlotte, Florida and grew up in Pontotoc, Mississippi.  Throughout his teens, Justin was involved in several music programs, including the marching band and choral programs offered at his schools and the university he attended. Unlike most vocalists, it wasn't until his mid-twenties that he began to further explore his vocal talents as a solo act and create original recordings. In 2012, he released his first solo work, which in turn helped him realize the importance of companionship in music and eventually lead to his audition that landed him in what is now Ventura Lights.

BJ Bryant:  Vocals and Guitar

BJ born in Hendersonville, Tennessee and grew up in Bedford, Indiana. By the time BJ was 9 years old, he showed strengths in his musical ability by playing the drums, and his love for music began. He continued playing and also learned guitar, which helped him write original material and record his ideas. When BJ found out about the YouTube Band Project, he auditioned for both vocals and guitar, which proved to be exactly what was needed in the final decisions surrounding the formation of the band.

Bear Rose:  Guitar

Bear was born and raised in Rocky Mount, North Carolina.  Bear was motivated to create his own music and began his education early on. He began playing guitar at the age of 13 and eventually found a boost of confidence and a steady pace of growth as he learned and practiced.  Bear's work ethic and his tremendous gifts provide the talent and balance needed to make Ventura Lights' sound stand out in its own right. 

Evan Collins:  Bass

Evan was born in Rock Hill, South Carolina and was raised in Anderson, South Carolina.  Evan was introduced to a broad variety of musical styles at a very early age, and after finding instruction for several instruments unappealing, his father bought Evan a bass guitar when he was in middle school.  Evan found encouragement in an instructor who took him under his wing, and he began to play regularly in his father's church. He eventually made his way to the Atlanta Institute of Music where he was challenged and where he humbly learned from his educators/mentors.  Since graduating from AIM, he has taught bass privately and has crafted his talent on the stage with many notable and talented musicians.

Cobus Potgieter:  Drums

Cobus was born and raised in Carnarvon, South Africa.  At the age of 16, he was handed drum sticks for the first time and instantly fell in love with playing. After receiving his first drum kit as a gift from his parents, he dove headlong into his lifelong passion for drumming!  A friend eventually persuaded Cobus to play something in front of a camera, and his life was never the same. The journey that followed would eventually lead him to accumulate over 668,700 subscribers and 198,522,700 views on his YouTube channel, and start a search to find musicians from all over the world to form a band. The process eventually lead him to find four talented musicians and create the band that is known today as Ventura Lights. 


Band Members