Alt Rock-pop Artist Tomy Gunn releases solo CD , Hot Summer Nights Islandelights Records, Hawaii – New Music & A New Day
Bali Lau Entertainment Media
New Music & A New Day are familiar words that have echoed in my mind for many years, as it hasn’t been an overnight success story for my music career by any means. I recall on many occasions over the years where the notion of success seemed immanent because we were making money.
That was then and now I probably have a better grasp on what success is really all about in this life making less & enjoying it more. I have come to the conclusion that success is as simple as doing what you love and enjoy, and making a comfortable living by sharing it with others while maintaining stability & clarity.
I say this because I am still here enjoying life writing well crafted new songs while some of our most commercially successful contemporary artists are no longer with us.
The feeling is gratitude and one of faith combined with hard work that produce real euphoric results that are lasting and meaningful for each of us. It is the core element that builds self esteem & integrity for all of us on this journey called life.
I have come to believe my goal is to simply continue creating new music in good faith & continue the passion to the best end results at any given point in time and enjoy living life on a moment by moment basis!
The Hot Summer Nights CD conveys this passion with greater reason than anything to do with the summer season. It’s all about the energy I wrote about in the liner notes. The creative energy & meditative serenity that inspires all the hours behind the scenes writing and re-writing to find that certain spark of validation & self satisfaction that the creative expression is ready to share with the world.
After several decades of working behind the scenes in various capacities (guitarist, songwriter, producer) in the entertainment business & on the sidelines of other artists who are or were commercial success stories, I feel very blessed that I learned much about the pitfalls of fame & fortune, extremes & successes, & failures first hand and I’m still here to talk about it. The media only tells us about the rich & famous people who live and die abutting the entertainment limelight.
For songs, the process of poignant writing & composing/arranging is more applicable than a pseudo improvised performance by a group – yet the later very well may capture the essence of raw creative expression that would otherwise be hindered by the constraints of disciplined songwriting. There’s much to be said about the craft of songwriting – which is even more variable in today’s fragmented music scene of multiple genres and sub-genres, but a well written song generally speaking stands on it’s own when accompanied by a single guitar, piano, or just sung solo.
All the embellishments in the world won’t improve something that’s not there in the first place, hence we have “songs”, and we have “recordings” and they are entirely different musical “beasts”.
For the newcomers and aspiring hobbyists, sharing their musical concoctions nowadays can be as easy as playing an acoustic guitar into a mobile phone and uploading it to YouTube. Thousands of musician/singer hopefuls do this while embracing the dream that someone will somehow ‘discover’ them . . . and it’s actually within the realm of possibility, just as much as winning the jackpot in the lottery is a chance at instant wealth.
Yet, the longer one embraces pursuing an exceptional goal in life such as an athlete, author, or entertainer, the clearer it is that the so-called ‘rock star’ vernacular of success as defined by pop culture & social standards (material wealth and/or media fame) may be a much more exaggerated facade than one would surmise.
Nevertheless, I’d say it’s quite befitting that the aspiring artists now have the technology at hand today to do much more than artists had back in the days of traditional record companies & music publishers. Sorting through this maze of new music may be overwhelming & even annoying for average people that just want to hear something good, fresh, & new.
So, average listeners tend to go back to the familiar ‘well’ for what they reveled in before that made them feel good, like radio. This is another area that has exploded in the digital age yet has remained amazingly restricted to much of the same thing on every station. Radio has basically typecast music into bite size chunks such as, Classic Rock, Country, Top 40, Rap/Hiphop, etc. , but broadcast radio still tends to go by the same basic list of artists for their schedules based on a number of criteria such as record sales, artist/band name value/recognition, and listener opinion/response.
Those artists that start believing what they read about themselves very well may think that the ‘party’ will never end. It’s usually the party that makes for the beginning of the end for some successful artists. Artistry is simply an expression of creativity. In my humble opinion, we all share in that vast pool of universal creative energy which is a gift from our creator, and we all have a special gift, purpose, and goals to achieve in this life.
The term ‘rock star’ was invented by pop culture somewhere along the way from the beginning of rock music in the fifties when people simply enjoyed a certain singer, band or song they heard on the radio, to the now when everything is nearly an instant global download and people have access to mass amounts of various types of music artists and bands, and some of these artists and bands are really very good and some are less experienced yet enormously dedicated & bubbling with enthusiasm to share their wares.
The music itself means different things to different people which has lead us to this array of rock, pop, country, soul, electronic, & other dance music – a list of genres & sub genres of music & descriptions that a musicologist would have a hard time keeping up with.
When I considered the genre description of the type of music on the Hot Summer Nights CD, I simply called it alt rock-pop. It gets much too confusing to start breaking it down further into little fragments of musical influences. For the listener its the mood, the words, and the melody – except for rap/hiphop, and it’s all about the attitude & primal beat.
I shot an HD video to a couple of the songs from the Hot Summer Nights CD. The theme for the video currently on YouTube is ‘passion, adventure, & romance’ – filmed in Bangkok, Thailand.
The caption says “Stopped off in Bangkok for some R&R” which I did and I am still seeking passion, adventure & romance. That’s the spice of life that makes the world go round!
Please stop by Islandelights to experience some samples of this work.
The world of social media has become the Modus Vivendi for the mobile generation. A very good place to find new music is with apps like SHAZAM. You can find me via iPhones, Androids, & tablets on my new mobile site, http://islandelights.mobi
I’m @Tomy_Gunn on twitter join in with us twerps.
Please give a like on my Facebook musician/band page!
Thank you for stopping by the Islandelights Music blog:)
What island are you from?
When I mention to people that I play sort of like ‘island music’ they immediately think of Hawaiian or Polynesian music or some other native island music. I suppose the name or genre itself “island music” depends on what island (or planet) you’re from or have perhaps visited on a tropical holiday. I don’t think there actually is a genre called island music these days, but there are a slew of off-shoots that people know, recognize, and enjoy like, Reggae, Roots, House Dub Beats, etc.
Going way back, I can recall Harry Belafonte was called the “King of Calypso” for his “DAY-O” (The Banana Boat Song) when I was a very small kid. This was probably some of the first ‘pop island music’ that American audiences heard on the radio and enjoyed because it was basically fun upbeat dance music. I was quite fortunate in my very early career to meet Harry Belafonte in New York and he’s still at it today at 86 y/o. What an incredible talent.
Simultaneously, there were and are great island music artists from the Pacific Islands, but I never actually made it out to Hawaii to play music until much later. There was a time when people called the new Hawaiian music, “Jawaiian” because the caribbean and reggae influences had made it to Hawaii early on and the Hawaiians related to it. The ‘Jawaiian’ identity didn’t last long and today the island music from Hawaii can be anything from traditional Hawaiian to rap, hard rock, and a blend of many different music styles melded together. The biggest recording artists in Hawaii like Fiji & Willy K do a little bit of Hawaiian traditional music but they too are doing pop r&b and dance music for the tourist audiences. The real Hawaiian artists only play small local venues yet have a fabulous sound and they are great singers and songwriters.
I’m not sure why I loved this island music so much but I ended up playing with some of the greatest players in the business over the years and a few of them are still at it or reside in rock & roll heaven.
The next chapter of island music back then that I recall was pre Bob Marley’s rise to global fame. American pop singer Johnny Nash had traveled to Jamaica to meet with Marley and record some of his early reggae songs (Stir It Up, I Can See Clearly Now, etc) and took me along as guitarist-keyboardist.
Later back in LA, I met another group of islanders headed by Robert Greenidge who was raised on the sounds of the steel drums (modified empty 50 gallon oil drums with dents on them to make the sounds) from the island of Trinidad, and is still to this day the #1 pre-eminent steel pan player in the world that you may have seen playing with Jimmy Buffet over the years.
Robert headed up a small handful of island musicians in LA back when, and I was invited to join the group called ‘Mi Alma’ with Robert and the late Chile Charles, & late Vince Charles. We recorded at A&M (Herb Alpert’s label) but the heavy rhythmic style was perhaps a bit too ethnic for where the industry was headed at that time, although shortly there after A&M signed the group, the POLICE and they came out with a sound that Sting continued on with which had some interesting island influences blended with rock and pop.
Later I left Hawaii after playing there a few years to explore other musical realms further east which eventually became yet another genre of music called ‘world music’. I found an array of really interesting rare eastern instruments, amazing musicians and some totally different sound textures that still have not made it to the west. The language barrier has kept much of this part of the world isolated from the so-called mainstream music industry which is basically now more global but wasn’t until recently.
Jump to today! WOW, the technology has advanced so far so rapidly this past decade that most people have been overwhelmed at the vast amount of different music being put ‘on the table’ due to the collapse of the record industry as we knew it and the proliferation of the internet and now mobile phones. It is totally amazing to me that the largest record company in terms of sales is now Apple Computers, iTunes Store, and just yesterday I read that Google is in the running with their own music streaming service that competes with Spotify and those types.
I know that I’m overwhelmed – so there’s no doubt that the average listener has a most difficult time finding the songs and the groups and the styles that suits them best. I try to listen through to a wide selection of artists and find some new artists that are ‘something special’. They are out there yet it’s hard to wade through all the social media, internet and now mobile phone hype that we are bombarded with to find music artists we really like and will support.
I personally have a facebook page and I do use Twitter some – but one can’t pound ‘the pitch’ to people too hard because the world is already a very busy place and all the media outlets are trying to capture the largest audience they can by whatever corporate means = more & more commercial sponsorships.
Even with the global economic situation lingering, people still need to carve out some time to enjoy life and have some fun. That’s what music is really all about. Anywhere from purekicked back relaxation to good fun, enjoyment, dancing, etc. One would think that there is nothing whatsoever good going on in this world by viewing the news, but that’s just not true. People work, play, go out, have holidays, fall in love, have families and definitely need some positive relaxation time to recharge their batteries. I personally have taken the time off to ponder just what it is ‘I like’ the most, and what I want to do with my leisure time. The tropical island lifestyle and healthy living are my personal choices & priorities. Money can’t buy you love or your health!
I had intended to get this current CD project finished sooner, but I also wanted to make sure each cut had it’s own “little bit of heaven” and some of the ‘island spirit’ to share with those who appreciate the simple things in life.
Please visit my website and give me a ‘like’ or say hi on Twitter. I’m @islandelights
Wishing you rainbows, resilience & longevity!