Artist Spotlight: Larry g(EE)

Hello everyone and welcome to a very special edition of the Haulix Artist Spotlight series. We have been working so hard on developing content for the holiday break we found ourselves with more content than days remaining before the new year and figured it was better to offer an extra feature than keep you waiting for fresh features. If you have any questions about the content of this blog, or if you would like to learn more about the secure media distribution services offered by Haulix, please email james@haulix.com and share your thoughts. We can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.

We debuted a number of new features in recent weeks, and though we love them all I would be lying if I said I did not have a close to connection to our artist series. I have spent a number of years helping develop bands, as has every professional who has contributed to our Advice series, but I am a firm believer there is no better way to learn than from those who have gone ahead of you. This column connects dream chasers with those who have successfully made a career in music work, and today’s spotlighted talent is someone artists of every genre can learn from.

Hailing from the great state of Texas, Larry g(EE) is someone that we in the business refer to as a lifer. Music has played a role in Larry’s life from an early age, and as soon as he was old enough to get on stage he knew he wanted to spend as long as possible under those hot white lights. He has been in a number of bands over the years, but none that have reached the heights of the funk laden outfit that now bears his name. We spoke with Larry about what it takes to create a sustainable career without the aide of a label, and fortunately for us he was kind enough to shed some light on the subject. You can read his story below.

If you would like to stay up-to-date with Larry and his band, we highly recommend following him on Twitter. Additional questions and comments can be left at the end of this post.

H: Hey there! I’m excited to finally have the chance to make this interview happen. To begin, would you please tell me your name and what you do for a living?

L: Larry g(EE) / Singer-songwriter

H: When you think of your earliest memories with music, what is the first thing that comes to mind?

L: Listening to my uncles vinyls. Everyone from The Beatles, Shuggie Otis, Michael Jackson, and Earth, Wind, and Fire.

H: Was music always a big part of your life growing up?

L: Definitely we had a home studio in my parents house that my father built himself. Session players who played with the likes of Elvis Presley and Marvin Gaye came through on the regular. I was just a baby at the time, but I was always sitting in on almost every session.

H: Before you were a musician you were a fan. What was the first album you purchased with your own money?

L: New Edition “Heartbreak album”

H: Okay, onto your life in the business. Your current band is not the only one you have been a part of over the year. What can you tell us about your first band?

L: Around 2005 I started a band with a couple of friends called Odis. It was a rock band with some pop elements. After 5 years of some local buzz and touring we basically hit the wall. I think my intentions were in the wrong place at that time. I wanted to be famous on TV and the radio. I didn’t have enough respect for the music.

H: Your current efforts tend to fall under the genres of pop and soul, which differs from groups you have worked with in the past. Where did you find the sound of Larry g(EE)?

L: It happened six months after the break up of the band. As cliche’ as this sounds I found the sound during a summer in Brooklyn, NY. Just walking around that city (NYC in general) was such an inspiration to me. I would walk aimlessly not knowing where I was going listening to Mark Ronson’s “Version” and the rest is history.

H: You started performing in the music industry before the rise of social media. Would you say promotion is easier or more difficult now than it was in the past? Do you ever have a sense of nostalgia for the days before Facebook?

L: I love social media so I would have to have to say it is so much more easier.

H: You create a lot of your music with musician and producer Beau Bedford. How did the two of you first meet?

L: During my time with my old band Odis, he was playing in another band at the time. We would also talk in passing how cool it would be one day collaborate. I’m so glad we did.

H: While on the topic of band members, how did you go about finding the other members of your group?

L: Most if not all of the band members came way of Beau Bedford. He is also a producer and works with most of the members in the band on their separate projects. Its really been a labor love as I consider everyone family.

H: You only have one EP out at the moment, which is currently available on iTunes, but as records tend to do it has also been made available online by music pirates. Some say piracy can help independent artists by exposing their music to people who may have otherwise not given it a chance. What do you think?

L: I am totally okay with it. Until the music industry figures out how to handle the whole ‘illegal downloads", I don’t have any problems with it.

H: You’ve managed to become a full time musician without having a major record deal, which is something I know many of the artists reading our blog hope to do one day accomplish in their own careers. What advice would you offer aspiring artists about becoming self-sustaining in the modern music industry?

L: Obviously consistently working on your craft is a given, but they have to be able to run their “career” in order to catch anyone’s attention in the industry. It’s important for artist’s to understand the importance of brand awareness. They need to ask questions to themselves everyday like “What is my story?, Who is my audience?, and how do I build a buzz on my own?”. Labels, managers, booking agents, and publicists aren’t going to come to you if you don’t have anything to show. They want to see an artist that is self-sufficient and fully focused.

H: We should note that just because you’re a successful independent artists does not mean you have everything figured out. What would you say is the biggest misconception people have what you do for a living?

L: That I’m actually signed to label already.

H: You were fortunate enough to appear on Jimmy Kimmel’s late night show earlier this year. Did that appearance make any measurable impact on your career?

L: I would definitely say yes. It’s opened up a lot of doors that would have never opened up for us had we not appeared on the show. It also introduced to a larger audience that would have taken years for us to get in front of. I can’t thank the people at OurStage.com for that amazing opportunity.

H: I’ve heard rumors that you have new material on the way, are those true? If so, what can you tell us about your efforts and when we may be able to hear them?

L: Beau and I have been writing and recording since our appearance on Kimmel. We’ve also opened our creative space and started writing with some amazing songwriters and producers. We don’t have a timetable on releasing new material however we’re pretty confident 2014 is going to present even more great opportunities to do so on a bigger stage.

H: If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

L: That is a great question which I don’t have an answer for.

H: At this point in life, what is your ultimate career goal?

L: To continue making good music that is timeless and eventually help other starving artists make their dreams come true.

H: I think that covers everything. Before I let you go, do you have any additional remarks?

L: This whole music thing is all about the journey so I would just encourage anyone in the struggle as an independent artist to remember that it’s not a race but a marathon and at the end of the day, your only competition is yourself.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.