Gary Melvin, and the music he creates.
Born and raised in sunny California, Gary has spent the better part of his life with a guitar in his hands. What started as a curious interest in music blossomed into a life-passion for it, leading him through years of determined and accomplished study and training, as well as several years as a professional musician in Los Angeles. Those years included touring Guam, Korea and Japan, and also included four years touring the U.S. playing guitar for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.
Along the way, Gary became a part of numerous bands and projects creating and recording original music, until late 2007 when he wrote and recorded his first solo album, Spare Time. Made almost completely by himself, Melvin sought to find his voice as a singer and songwriter with Spare Time. Focused on allowing the songs to evolve naturally and organically, the album flows without the aid of trends or gimmicks, sparking this comment from journalist, Stephen Ivory: “As a lyricist, Melvin is smart and sensitive; as a vocalist, he is clear and expressive, and as a guitarist he simply blazes… Spare Time is every note the auspicious debut. It only gets better from here.”
And things did continue for Gary Melvin. Not one to stay in only one arena, Gary teamed up with artist and producer, Brett Boyett, writing and recording a song called “Taking Over Me,” which has been featured on several episodes of the most popular and successful soap opera of all time, The Young and the Restless. The song, simple yet beautiful, garnered immediate attention and praise, and further showcased Melvin’s ability to perform a wide variety of song styles, leaving the realm of one-trick-ponies and entering the world of songcrafters.
Before long, music chose to speak through Melvin once again, inspiring him to begin work on another album of his own. Surrendering to creativity, songs began to flow out as if they were writing themselves. Within a short time, twelve tracks were written, destined to form a powerful and truthful sophomore record. Named for the theme that runs throughout, Trust speaks to the heart of people from all walks of life, revealing the connection between us all. The songs acknowledge our faults, while providing hope in our strengths. “Trust” is memorable and indelible music with lyrical and conceptual weight and fortitude, sure to grab ears and audiences in droves.
But this is not the end of the story. If Melvin’s past is any inclination to his future, expect to be hearing much more about this humble servant of music. We will always need honest, real music, and Gary Melvin will always need to create it.
How do you describe your music to people, Gary?
Genre-wise, I usually describe it as singer/songwriter's rock/pop, not unlike John Mayer, Chris Cornell or Sara Bareilles. But more accurately I tell people that I write songs about life, love and the connections between every person alive. I write from experience and observation, in the most organic way I possibly can.
Tell me about how you originally got into your craft.
I was a huge Metallica fan as a kid, and it drove me to ask my parents for guitar lessons, which I began at 13 years old. As I progressed with lessons I became more and more enamored with music, and by the time I graduated high school I knew that I wanted to make music my life. That led to a bachelor's and master's degree in music, lots of gigs backing up other bands and artists, and finally to finding my voice as a solo artist.
What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
Honestly, playing music is my favorite thing to do. It's even more enjoyable when performing for an audience, but if no one ever heard a note that I made, I'd still play. It's my best friend, my therapist, and my reason for being here.
What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
My biggest challenge is breaking through the noise and exposing people to the music I make without making them feel like I'm "selling" them something. For me, it's not a business in the sense that I just want to make money. Obviously making money helps me to continue creating, but I feel art and music help people in many more ways than money ever could. But there are lots of other people competing for those same lines of communication, and standing out from the crowd can be difficult.
When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
When I was really little, I thought I was going to be a bulldozer when I grew up (seriously, I pretended to be a bulldozer -- just ask my mom). After getting a little older, I discovered music, and ever since I've know that was my purpose in life.
In what way has your community impacted your development as a musician?
Wow... immensely. I've had so many great friends and mentors in my life that I can't imagine what I would be like without them. I've learned a lot about life, relationships, integrity, determination and perseverance from them. I have also been very fortunate to live and tour in several different places throughout the country, as well as time spent touring internationally. All these people and places continue to fuel my desire to create music for the world in an attempt to help those I can, just as others have helped me. They've taught me that I'm part of something greater than myself, and to respect and honor that.
What other artists out there do you love?
There really are so many, but I know everyone says that, so I'll try to give you an assortment, in no particular order: Chris Cornell, Jeff Buckley, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, Sara Bareilles, Bjork, Sigur Ros, Boards of Canada, Joni Mitchell, Bob Marley, Joss Stone, James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Sting, John Mayer, Radiohead, Queen, Paramore, Jimi Hendrix, Tower of Power, James Brown, The Raconteurs, Bon Iver, The Brian Blade Fellowship, Alice in Chains, Amy Winehouse, Alison Krauss, Steely Dan, Soundgarden, Harry Connick Jr., Toad the Wet Sprocket, Maxwell, Pink Floyd, Rufus Wainwright...
What does your future hold?
I can envision my future full of writing, recording and performing music, without end. I long to travel the world and make music for people that long to hear it. I pursue those visions with a full heart that I look forward to sharing with all who wish to be a part of me and what I do.