Gerald Albright: Behind the Beats
Each week we'll take you 'Behind the Beats' to learn more about the artists that play on our airwaves. This week: Gerald Albright.
Your new single is titled “Hope." Tell us about it.
“Hope” is a pandemic-inspired song that I wrote, produced, and mixed as a musical platform to send a positive message to my listeners. To get pass Covid, we need all of the positive messages that we can receive to endure these very unique times.
Photo courtesy: Brandon Albright, Snow Desert Productions
You are one of the OG’s of the smooth jazz genre, launching your solo career right at the beginning… How has the music and process changed for you over the years?
Thank you for the compliment! Music has changed a lot since the old days. Artists are now able to control their careers, and also control their musical assets. One of the best decisions I made was to build my own record company. It gives one the autonomy to manage both the business and creative side of the industry.
You are not only an amazing sax player, but also a very accomplished bass player… Do you prefer playing one over the other?
I love it all. Though I started as a saxophonist, I find a deep passion with the bass guitar as well. It allows me to hear grooves differently. The saxophone has the edge for me, but it really depends on the mood I’m in.
When did music enter your life? How did you get started?
Music entered my life at the early age of 8 years old. I started on piano, and didn’t like it. My private teacher, George Turpeau, suggested to my parents that I try a different instrument, which happened to be the saxophone. The saxophone became an immediate interest to me at that early age. I thank Mr. Turpeau for his input!
Your daughter Selina is extremely talented. How did she get started in music?
Selina got started in music by hanging out with me in the studio at a very early age. I noticed her talent early on, as she would sing around the house with noticeable raw talent. When she was about 16 years old, I recorded her singing background vocals on my final album for Atlantic Records called “Live To Love.” From there, she developed the passion for singing and writing music, and later on decided to work towards recording her own CD projects.
You have performed with some amazing musicians over the years. Anyone you would like to collaborate with in the future, but haven’t yet?
Though I’m noted in the Smooth Jazz genre, I started my career long before the term “smooth jazz” was even popular. I feel more comfort in being in the category of “Contemporary Jazz,” or being deemed an “R & B instrumentalist.” That being said, I would like to work with some of the notable R & B/Hip Hop artists, because my roots blend with their style of music.
Any advice for new artists just starting out?
The best advice I could give to new artists is to refine your craft as best you can…..no short cuts. Find your unique voice and work hard towards making it a brand. And finally, learn the “business” side of the music business. Don’t totally rely on managers, lawyers, and agents. Learn how to read contracts. And if you have the capacity to own your own label, masters, and licensing…..do it!
When you’re not making music, any other special hobbies or interests?
I enjoy travel, golf, fine cuisine, great friends, family life, and most recently, hanging out with my new grandson!
What are your plans for 2021 and beyond?
Covid allowed me to press the reset button and make a total assessment of my life in all areas. What came out of that thought process was to “work smarter, not harder.” So I’m implementing new ventures in conjunction with getting back to the passion of writing performing, and producing music.
Keep up with Gerald Albright on his website and social media.