We are excited to include Dallas-based soul singer-songwriter Larry G(ee) on our 4th Annual Groundbreakers Speak panel August 8th! His career has taken him from LA to New York and back here to Dallas for audiences to enjoy locally. Most recently, he released his highly anticipated single “Days Like This” with a video release party on March 5 at Three Links in Deep Ellum. Chosen to be one of Red Bull Sound Select’s emerging artists, a Chevy Music Showcase artist for North Texas and the “Best Funk/R&B Act” at the 2013 Dallas Observer Music Awards, Larry released his four-track album “Weekends,” backed by his 10-member band of bass, percussion and horn.
After teaming up with Producer Beau Bedford, whose credits include work with the Apache 5, Dovetail and Kirby Brown, he returned to Dallas to release this EP showcasing a unique and catchy blend of funk, silky soul and smart pop melodies. His famed single “Yo Mama” reels listeners in with punchy horns and passionate vocals, while the piercing ballad “I’m Your Fool” embodies the intense romanticism of vintage Motown singles of the past.
Like most successful soul-pop artists of this day, g(EE)’s influences are deeply rooted in the 1960s-era classic soul acts. Artists such as Curtis Mayfield, Sly and the Family Stone, James Brown and Joe Cocker have tremendously induced his rich soulful voice and timeless lyrics associated with his style. However, g(EE) also draws inspiration from his modern-day musical peers. From Gnarls Barkley to Charles Bradley, each artist’s contribution to music has helped solidify the definition of his musical identity.
Larry g(EE) has been spotted with his five- to fifteen-piece band from Los Angeles to New York City, on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, at South by Southwest in Austin, at ACL Live, on the Vans Warped Tour, Summerfest, the Center of the Universe Music Festival, MusicFest NW and opening for an array of national artists, including Ghostland Observatory, Linda Perry, Bootsy Collins, ZZ Ward, Emeli Sande and Erykah Badu.
Larry Gayao aka Larry g(EE)
What does it mean to you to “Go Against The Grain?”
Many of us in the Asian community are encouraged or expected to pursue to careers in medicine, law, or science (to name a few), careers that provide a form financial stability. For me, to “Go Against The Grain” is to do something outside the norm. Pursuing a creative endeavor, as someone who actually has a degree in Corporate Communications, 100% with no regrets is definitely taking a risk. I’ve been fortunate enough to have two amazing parents who have always supported my musical endeavors under the condition that I finish school.
My Father, who is a physician, flies planes, rides a Harley and built and ran his own recording studio (even produced some records too). He has always lived his life on his own terms and that’s something that’s always inspired me.
What made you decide to pursue a career in this industry?
I come from a strong musical background. My mother and uncle were performed all over Texas in a gospel duo and my father and uncle worked side-by-side producing albums in the studio my father built. Session players who played with some of the greatest artists ever (Elvis Presley, Marvin Gaye, Billy Preston) recorded at that studio! I got a first-hand look and feel for music as a baby because my mom would take me to the sessions. I definitely think this had an influence on me growing up.
When I was young, my uncle introduced me to his huge record collection and that’s where my palate for music was conceived. I fell in love with everything from The Beatles to Michael Jackson to Earth, Wind and Fire.
A few years after, I quit my job as a Director of Human Resources at a hospital in California, I moved back to Texas. I started writing songs and eventually realized that going back to the corporate world was not the best thing for me. I made a conscious decision to fully commit myself to music. I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy road, but in music and life in general it’s all about the journey. I have no regrets!
What have been some of the challenges you faced/lessons you learned as an Asian American in this field?
The stereotypes out there are crazy! Whenever I tell people I do music, they automatically assume I’m a DJ, drummer (I’m a terrible drummer by the way) or the manager of the band. It’s not easy, and yes it’s a lot of work, but I do feel like the minds of people in the music industry are opening up to the Asian American community. With the success of artists like Bruno Mars, Steve Aoki, Charice and others, it’s a great time to be an Asian American! There’s a lot of opportunity out there.
What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment, and why?
Without a doubt it was being able to perform on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Why? As an unsigned artist, to have a chance to perform two of your original songs on national television is very rare. Most, if not all, of the musical acts that perform on late-night shows are signed to major labels. It was a great opportunity that has opened so many doors for me. I’ll never forget that feeling.
What’s up next?
I’m writing and recording songs for new album, which I hope to release this fall. We just released the first single and music video from the album titled “Days Like This.” The inspiration behind this new album is a mix of 80’s and 90’s R&B/Pop. Our first EP “Weekends” had a throwback soul vibe. The material on this new album is an ode my real first love in music: 90’s R&B. I really fell in love with music when groups like Jodeci, Boyz II Men, Brian McKnight and R. Kelly started dominating the airwaves.
Quote to live by:
“My greatest award is what I’m about to do.” ~ Kanye West
Sign (Eastern Animal Sign & Western Zodiac):
All things music…art, fashion, sports and food
Chicken Adobo with white steamed rice
Can’t live without:
I Go Against The Grain #beCAUSE:
Because I refuse to give in to the stereotypes of what Asian American is supposed to be.