Sometimes, a vocal talent comes along who immediately grabs you with their abilities. Too Close To Touch’s Keaton Pierce managed to do this early on, with skills and a vocal range that just about anyone would be envious of. While he passed away in 2022, there’s no doubt his impact will continue to be felt in the years to come.
First emerging in 2015 as Too Close To Touch released their debut album Nerve Endings, the band immediately showcased why they were an exciting newcomer to the music scene. With a sound that blended alternative rock and post-hardcore with some huge pop hooks and melodies, Keaton Pierce was at the forefront of it all with a simply electrifying talent not often seen (or heard). Refusing to do anything in a formulaic fashion was the band’s specialty.
Whether singing lyrics about broken relationships coming to an end or shutting out distractions and doing the things that make us feel alive, Pierce always delivered performances worthy of the biggest stages. Performing with the utmost passion and conviction, there’s no doubt that Pierce’s immense talent touched many lives, whether fans or fellow musicians. And they certainly reached those heights with Keaton at the helm, opening and supporting some of the scene’s biggest acts.
Most of all, though, Pierce wasn’t afraid to confront some harsh truths in his lyrics. As he told Highlight Magazine during the band’s “It’s an album with a message. It’s an album that any instrument that you hear played, every vocal on the record is full of emotion and purpose. I guess it’s just exciting showing the world our message. Not to sound cliché, but I want it to help people. It’s a very brutally honest record. I opened up about a lot of stuff that I’ve never talked about before the album. I want to be able to change people like they changed me”. And that’s definitely a true story. You can hear it in his voice, in the lyrics, and the fact that he’d tackle difficult subjects like the passing of his younger sister Eiley (who the band memorialized in a powerful way) and the dissolving of romantic relationships. The former is simply one of the most passionate and emotional performances delivered in any song, in any genre – and when you hear it for the first time, you’ll feel it too.
If you want to know just how important Keaton Pierce was to even his fellow musicians, consider this: Bad Omens paid tribute to him on their recent headlining tour by covering “Sympathy”, as well as memorializing him on stage with an elaborate stage setup. What more needs to be said?