Growing up, Zaccheri Gray was surrounded by music. His father introduced him to sixties folk music like Bob Dylan and his maternal grandfather, Francesco Lammacchia, was known in Revelstoke for walking around town singing songs.
“I grew up in a very musical household. My brother plays guitar and a lot of relatives on my dad’s side play and sing,” Gray said. “Italians in general are a pretty musical bunch, music is a big part of the culture.”
That musical lifestyle rubbed off on Gray and he’s now pursuing a career as a recording artist in Vancouver and just released his debut CD in December 2010.
Gray, reached by phone in Vancouver where he now lives, grew up in Revelstoke. He learned to play guitar in grade three and also started singing.
“I would sing at home but I would never sing at school,” he said. “It was always something I wished I could do but I wasn’t serious about it until I was 20-years-old.”
After high school, Gray enrolled in the music production program at the Art Institute of Vancouver. One day while there, there wasn’t any band to record so he volunteered to play for his fellow students.
“This was an ‘aha’ moment for me. I sang a song, went back into the studio and everyone, all my peers, said, ‘You’re actually really good at this,’” he said. “In school I ended up being the person that was recorded instead of doing what I was supposed to do, which was record bands.”
The feedback Gray got from performing to his friends made him realize it was something he should actually pursue. He recorded an five-song demo and gave copies to a few people around Vancouver.
“More doors opened and kept opening until I’m at the point now where there’s no return. I’m certainly at the point where this is what I want to do, I love it, I live and breath it.”
Since then it’s been full-steam ahead for the 25-year-old. He recorded a CD, which was mixed by Warne Livesey, who’s worked with bands such as The Specials, Midnight Oil and the Matthew Good Band; and mastered by Joao Carvalho out of Toronto.
“I’ve been really blessed by people liking the music and working with me,” said Gray.
Since then, he signed on with two publishing houses – Phantom 4 in Toronto and Right Bank Music in Los Angeles. He also reached a deal with Protocol, an Atlanta-based promotion company, that Gray said is working on a radio campaign for his music in the United States.
“If you can break in the States, then Canada usually follows,” he said. “We’re really focusing on getting the word out there.”
Gray categorizes his music as pop rock and adult contemporary for publishing purposes.
“I think I really am a hybrid of so many kinds of music because of growing up listening to so many kinds of music,” he said. “On the album there’s a mix of rock to real folk songs with just acoustic guitar and myself.”
Part of what Gray enjoys about playing music is hearing from fans what kind of impact he’s had on them.
“You just let yourself out there and just hope people are going to get it,” he said. “I feel like things that I say mean something, and that’s important to me as well.”
As far as a career goes, he hopes to make music his full-time gig and be successful at it.
“For me that doesn’t mean walking down the street and having paparazzi follow me. I’m a little bit more low key. I love writing for the sake of writing and I love making music because I love music. I don’t write music or play music to try and get attention.”
Gray’s self-titled debut album is currently available digitally on a variety of websites, including iTunes, Amazon.com, Rhapsody and Zune; The physical CDs are in production. He released it on his own label, Concesco (a mixture of his grandparents Conchetta and Francesco’s names).