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RS Contributing Editor Touré Interviews Our Four Finalists

by Rolling Stone on May 11, 2011

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The third round of the Choose the Cover of Rolling Stone contest is in full swing! After hundreds of thousands of votes were cast online, the 16 acts vying for the cover of Rolling Stone – as well as an Atlantic Records contract – have been narrowed down to a group of four. Each of the finalists recently sat down with Rolling Stone contributing editor Touré to discuss their experience in the competition so far and how winning the contest could change their lives.

Utah rockers Fictionist shot down the possibility of buckling under the pressure of sudden fame. "I think we've all been around long enough as artists to know that kind of pressure is what makes you better," says guitarist Brandon Kitterman. The band also spoke frankly about tension at their recent studio session with Paramore producer David Bendeth. "Day one, I told him that I'd punch him in the face if he didn't get out of my face," says frontman Stuart Maxfield. "But he really helped us, he stretched us." (Watch video of Fictionist's Q&A.)

The Chicago rock quartet Empires talked about how excited they were about the new fans they've earned from participating in this competition. "I think what's awesome is that we're getting emails, or people on social networks will be like 'I heard you through Rolling Stone,'" and they're being supportive," says drummer Ryan Luciani. "That's the reason why we wanted to do this, we wanted to get our music out to more people." (Watch video of Empires' Q&A.)

Los Angeles singer-songwriter Lelia Broussard downplayed the novelty of being the last remaining female musician in the contest. "I think people really need to focus on the music and what they like the best," she said. "That's what it's about. If they want to see a lady like me on the cover of Rolling Stone, then yeah!" Broussard also confronted some of the negative response she's faced since entering the competition. "There's always going to be people who are not going to be saying what you want them to say, and that's just part of life." (Watch video of Lelia Broussard's Q&A.)

Canadian boogie rockers the Sheepdogs spoke about how they might respond to a backlash from music fans who may resent them jumping from obscurity to the cover of Rolling Stone. "We're very cognizant of the fact that people want to cut you down," says frontman Ewan Currie. "Our whole thing has always been, we're gonna try to give you the best musical product that we can and make these good albums. So we want the attention." (Watch video of the Sheepdog's Q&A.)

Voting for this round will close on May 13th. The two surviving bands will advance to the final round – an epic battle on stage at the Bonnaroo festival in June. The winner of the contest will be announced on the August 2nd episode on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon where they will also make their live television debut. In the meantime, please check out all of the songs and vote for your favorites.

See behind-the-scenes videos and exclusive photos in the Garnier Fructis Green Room

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