Earlier this year, I had some friends out at Streaming Media West in LA. While there, they met this guy at one of the official after parties. He handed them a CD and that was that. Well, I got my hands on that CD and was blown away from the moment I hit play. His voice is unique, rough, and unkempt… but that’s what I love about it. He is also an incredible songwriter. His single Grey is amazing, and I can’t wait for more form this dude. He is currently living out in LA, which is why he was at the after party… but I am so glad that I ended up with his CD so that I could make this interview a reality. It’s been fun listening to his work and getting to know him on a deeper level… it’s my absolute pleasure to introduce you to Byron Gore.
It’s funny how we met… thanks to Streaming Media West. I wasn’t even there, by my boss passed me your CD. What were you doing in LA? Were you at Streaming Media West or were you there for one of the after parties?
I was there for an after party. I came along to keep my wife company.
Your song Grey is amazing. I LOVE the lyrics. Do you write all of your own lyrics?
Thanks! I mainly write all my own lyrics, but I also like to collaborate with other people. I often collaborate with my wife. But Grey was all my own work. I was inspired while walking home from work. I was living in Wales back then.It was a grey, somber kind of day. So the lyrics came really fast.
How long have you been performing?
I started performing when I was very young. Mainly dance. But I also loved to sing! I was a huge Michael Jackson fan back then and knew all of his songs and dance moves. So I used to perform at parties and any events my parents would go to. As I got older I discovered more genres of music. But it wasn’t until I was about 14 that I really picked up and started to learn the guitar. I had my first band at about 15. We really sucked and we never played any live shows. We were Metallica and Nirvana wannabes.
I joined my first real band when I was about 20 something. I say band, but it was just my friend Nigel and myself. I was the guitarist and he was the singer. We played the bars and clubs around Swansea, where I lived for quite a few years. Swansea is a city in Wales, and Wales is in Britain. I am of course Welsh! Anyway… after playing the part of the guitarist for a year I decided I wanted to be the singer. So Nigel and I parted ways. I started to get back into singing and started to write my own songs and in 2001 I studied guitar at The Academy Of Contemporary Music in Guildford. Just after graduating I was rushed into hospital with a burst lung. It was pretty serious and I lost a lot of blood. After 13 hours in intensive care and 2 weeks in the hospital I was out. But the doctor told me I would never sing again. So I of course had to prove him wrong. I’ve been performing and writing ever since, but it wasn’t until I moved to LA in 2009 that music became a major part of my life.
Do you have a job outside of music?
I’ve had a few “day jobs” outside of music. I mean I still need the money to record a CD, to put gas in the car… so I can get to shows and so on. But I pretty much suck at “day jobs”, so right now I’m just doing the music. It’s what I love doing the most and it’s what I know best and feel most comfortable doing.
Where do you get inspiration for a new song?
Inspiration can really come from anywhere. It can be from real life events, from a movie or even a dream. But I find that I get most of my inspiration from the darker side of life. Sadness and sorrow are huge emotional buttons and everybody has experienced them at some point in their life. Although I have written happy songs as well.
You have “Live Streaming Show” on your Facebook page. Do you stream all of your shows?
I don’t stream all my shows, but I have streamed a few of them and it’s been very successful. I love the idea that I can broadcast my shows live so even people living in different countries in different time zones can still experience one of my shows. Because my family all live back in the UK, it’s a great way for them to attend.
We do a lot with live streaming. What service do you use for that?
Grey was recently nominated for an award. So… how did you do? Did you win?
Yeah, I was really happy when I found out it had been nominated! Although it didn’t win, it was still an honor just to be nominated and to walk the red carpet.
What instruments do you play?
My main instrument, apart from my voice, is the acoustic guitar. I also play electric guitar and bass. I wrote and played all the bass lines on my single Raining In Your Heart.
What’s your first memory of the guitar?
My first memory was when I was very young, maybe 8 years old. One of my teachers at school would always bring his guitar into class and play us songs at the end of the day. He was the total hippy type. It sparked an interest in me, and because of that he decided to teach us guitar in class. Apparently I was really good at the guitar and picked it up fast. But I soon gave up because it hurt my little fingers too much. It wasn’t until I was around 14 that I picked the guitar up again.
You are all over the place… you are on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube. How do you have time for all that?
Yeah, I really am pretty much all over the net. To be honest, I don’t really have the time. But as well as being a musician, I’m also my own manager. I have to take time out of music to do all the updates and promotion. I have a great following and most of the people are really nice and supportive of me, which makes it all worth while.
I haven’t seen you live, but what can someone expect from a live performance?
Naked women, alcohol and bouncy castles…. I’m joking. Although that might not be such a bad idea! When playing live I like to get to know the audience and get them involved in a few songs. After all, I’m there to entertain. I love playing live and I think it shows… so expect great music with a heartfelt delivery.
What would you be doing if you were not performing?
Tell me about your relationship with Carmen Perez.
Carmen and I met about 2 years ago. A good friend of mine introduced me to her, as she was looking for a guitarist to play at one of her shows. I loved her music and we instantly became close friends. Since then we have played many shows together and co-wrote quite a few songs. One of the songs Love Is Like A Rose should be releases either before this Christmas or soon after. We both sync very well musically and as friends, which I think helps encourage our creativity. She is also a wonderful actress and you can of course see her in my music video Grey where she plays my girlfriend.
You have a mailing list on your website. How many times a month do you send those out? What sort of content do you put in those?
I try not to send too many out… I hate spam. I don’t want people to think of my emails as spam, so I wait until I have enough interesting news. I may also post about upcoming shows and video releases.
You are originally from the UK. What brought you over here?
A wonderful woman brought me over here… and that woman is now my wife! I met my Aleisha via my music and YouTube. We were friends for a few years before we decided to take it a step further. After visiting each other I decided to take the leap and move to LA to live with her. We soon after got married. Aleisha is a very creative person. She’s a talented producer, director, writer and actress. She is also a really amazing lyricist. So co-writing with Aleisha is always good! We have written many songs together! She also wrote, produced and directed Grey, so the nomination was as much hers as it was mine. We carry on creating as a team. She has just published a tween book called “Marney + me best sisters 4ever” and is in the process of producing her first feature movie called “Chocolate Is Not Better Than Sex”. Keep your eyes open for it!
Do you ever go back over there?
I’ve been back once since I moved, but would love to go back and visit some time in 2012.
Did you have a good Thanksgiving?
It was great! Lots of food and all my American family members came over. Hence to say we are still eating the left overs almost a week later! As far as the food goes, it’s very much like Christmas dinner back in the UK.
What’s the biggest crowd you have ever played for?
Probably about 300 people. I would like to perform in front of a lot more, but I have performed in front of 600 and more during the streaming online shows.
You always have a hat on… you trying to hide something under there?
Yes. I have this extra head. He has a fowl mouth, so I like to cover him up. No, I just prefer the way I look with a hat on. I hate my head!
Do you play any cover songs, or is all original?
Oh yeah I play loads of cover. I like to mix 2 or 3 covers in during a show. It’s always good to play something people will recognize. I play a lot of Johnny Cash songs and Chris Isaak songs as well as more mainstream modern songs.
Raining In Your Heart… what a great tune. That’s a single… but what about an album? Are you working on one of those?
Thanks. Yeah I’m currently working on a new CD. So far I have raised enough money via my awesome fans on kickstarter.com to record the first 2 songs on the CD. I hope to be able to raise the remaining money so I can either record a 5 song EP or a full length album. I would love to record a full album. The song I mentioned earlier… Love Is Like A Rose will be on my CD.
In your opinion, how do you feel the Internet has changed the way people absorb music?
I’m kinda torn about it. In one respect music has lost its originality and individuality. It was once a really big deal to record an album and to get a record deal and to be heard by the many. But now anybody and everybody is doing it. They may not all be doing it well, but they are doing it. On the other hand, it’s great that people who once weren’t able to be heard and discovered can now do so. We are now able to absorb more genres and listen to music outside of what the radio feeds us. I think once we really grasp how to effectively use this medium it will become even bigger and better than it already is. I just wish YouTube would feature real musicians rather than the crap that pays to be on there.
Your logo is on all kinds of merchandise. I see shirts and hats… even coffee mugs. Where can I buy some of your merchandise?
Right now it’s on the ReverbNation store. I’m in the process of creating my own personal store so people can buy directly from me.
Do you take all that merchandise with you when you play a live show?
It depends on the venue. I usually just take CDs, but as soon as I get my new merchandise line up and running I will be setting up a little table so people can buy the items.
Looks like you had a lot of fun at the Hollywood Music In Media. Your pictures are worth a thousand words!
Yeah it was great fun! I try not to take things to serious. I’m still waiting for more photos and interviews to surface.
What’s the plan this winter? Well, I guess you don’t have a winter in LA. Is there a tour in the works? We need to get you to the Midwest.
Compared to winter in the UK, this is nothing. It’s usually in the high 70s and 80s during during the festive season. Although we do get some cold days. There is most defiantly a tour in the works. I will be promoting my new CD by playing venues around the US, so expect me in your neck of the woods sometime next year!
Your music is on Spotify… I LOVE Spotify. Are you using that yet?
Yeah Spotify is great! I love the fact that you can check out your friends’ playlists. It’s a great way to discover new music!
What does the future hold for you? Where are you in say, five years?
Hopefully still doing what I love most! I hope to have a few albums under my belt and a few big tours. I would love to be looked upon as a great songwriter and performer.
When it’s all said and done, and you are no longer around to sing songs… what is your legacy? What do you want to be remembered for?
For my honesty, friendship and music. I hope I can carry on inspiring our future generations.
Thank you so much for sitting down with me today. Means a lot Byron. In all of the interviews that I do, I always give the artist the last word. Go.
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch… it’s the longest town name in Wales… probably the world. I want to say thank you for this great interview and thank to everyone that reads it. I would also like to say thanks to all my supporters. Without you, doing what I do would be pointless! Stay creative, keep dreaming and never stop trying! Anything is possible.