StreetWave Media presents an exclusive interview with synth rock artist, Sleepy Gary located in New York.
1. What made you decide to jump into the music industry or music business?
When I was 13 years old I watched the movie Almost Famous and the on screen depiction of touring the country with a band of friends just seemed exhilarating and fulfilling. I convinced my friends to let me join their band as a lead singer even though I had zero singing experience. Ever since then I’ve been creating and performing original music in various projects.
2. What do you think makes you stand out from all the other aspiring and upcoming artists in your genre of music?
I think I have a unique release schedule. I’m putting out one song every 21 days until I reach my 21st song. The album is called 21 Love Songs. I want it to feel more like episodes of a tv show than an album that comes out all at once.
3. If you could collaborate with ANY artist/band… Who would you choose and why?
Right now I’m obsessed with the artist Dijon from Baltimore Maryland. His songs and performances are so raw and emotionally charged. His latest album Absolutely is pure heart.
4. What do you think is your biggest Advantage and your biggest Disadvantage about being an Indie artist?
I think the advantage is owning your music, your choices, and your vision. The downside is lack of funding for things like music videos and promo.
5. Do you prefer the Independent route or would you rather sign to a major record label, and why?
I’m fearful of big record labels because I’ve heard horror stories from other artists. I think perhaps smaller labels could strike the right balance of funding vs control.
6. Out of all the songs you’ve released, what do you think is your Best song and why?
So far it’s my first release Bodega. It has less bells and whistles than my other productions because the song works well on a more naked emotional wavelength. People seem to resonate with it.
7. Do you miss the era of CD sales OR do you prefer the new wave of music streaming?
Explain…As a listener streaming is wonderful. I’m obsessed with music so having close to all of it at my fingertips is a dream. As an artist streaming can be extremely defeating. Millions of listeners can love your song and it affords you next to nothing in terms of financial return. Making quality music takes lots of time and money, so when you receive fractions of a penny per stream in return it’s easy to think you’re playing a losing game.
8. Between creating in the studio OR performing live on stage, which is your most enjoyable one and why?
They’r both wonderful when they’re going well. Performing is so thrilling when the audience is playing energy ping pong with you. However, nothing beats the feeling of creating something you’re excited about in the studio. When you’re excited about an idea it’s the ultimate high.
9. During your entire journey through the music business, what would you consider your Worst experience?
I can’t boil it down to a single experience, but promoting myself on social media is pretty awful feeling. I don’t enjoy constantly requesting attention, looking at numbers of likes and followers, and spending so much time inside a digital world. It’s simultaneously depressing and addicting in the worst way.
10. What would you consider your most successful or proudest moment in your music career, so far?
My duo Airplane Man has been featured on big playlists like New Music Friday and in online publications like Billboard Magazine, but I think my proudest moment might’ve been listening back to one of our early demos on the megabus that was pulling out of New York and taking me back to my previous home in Baltimore, staring at the Manhattan skyline and relishing in the idea that I made something special with my best friend. Now I live in New York and my best friend and the other half of Airplane Man lives in L.A. but I don’t think I’ve felt more proud than that.
11. If any, what discourages you the Most about music industry these days?
I think the gatekeepers in the music world largely only pay attention to people with an already robust social media following. They want you to be an influencer first and a musician second. Otherwise they aren’t willing to take a chance on your art even if it’s great art. They don’t want to do the legwork of advertising your existence to the world. They’d rather bet on someone who already has a following, and in that way the popular get more popular, and the hidden gems stay hidden.
12. What inspires you the Most about the music industry these days?
The most inspiring thing to me is seeing my talented friends grow, play festivals, create festivals, get on big playlists, and make a name for themselves. It’s nice on one hand that the internet opens up the playing field but because of that there’s more amazing music out there than ever and it’s hard to stand out. So when my friends do stand out it’s inspiring and I’m just so happy for them.
13. If you wasn’t in the music business or industry, what do you think you would be doing with your life instead?
I think I’d be in some sort of architectural or design field. Music is sonic architecture in my mind and I love creating things with layers, form, and shape. Walking through a beautiful space is a lot like listening to a song. The entrance is the intro, the staircases are the transitions, and a good foundation is just like a symbiotic bass line and drum groove.
14. In your own opinion, What is the current music scene like in your local area?
New York is pretty endless and all encompassing music scene wise. This contrasts with my old city Baltimore, that is a much tighter scene with some distinct styles. I appreciated the tight knit community back in Maryland but I also love how unlimited New York is.
15. What is your latest release and where fans can find it?
My latest release is called There in Spirit and it’s my most recent single from my solo project Sleepy Gary – 21 Love Songs. However by the time this article comes out my next song may already be out or right around the corner. Look for Doritos for Breakfast: my upcoming track. The project is available on all streaming platforms.
16. What is on your agenda or what can fans expect to see from you in 2022?
New songs every 21 days! They’ll take me well into 2023 before the full album is out and all 21 singles have been released. Follow my playlist 21 Love Songs on Spotify to hear each single as they come out one by one.