Gavin Castleton

"Honest art has never come from greed."

Gavin Castleton is no stranger to the music business. Having released ten full-length albums, he’s struggled to support his art, but has managed to overcome the hurdles. His most recent album, Won Over Frequency, was completely funded by loyal fans via Kickstarter. Over the years, Gavin has grown into an artist that is described by some as, “the Bob Ross of the music world,” with his ability of painting a picture with lyrics. His talent is hauntingly beautiful and to know that it’s just going to get better and better with time, is something that I can’t wait to hear. I recently interviewed Gavin and was honored to have the chance to learn just a bit more about him.

Q. How did you get your start in music?

A. My mother started me on piano lessons at the age of three. I trained in classical music until my teens, then I switched to jazz, and then funk, rock and hip-hop. I totally missed indie, but it’s because I grew up mainly in Cranston.

Q. You’re a well-rounded musician. Over the years, what has been one of your best memories?

A. One of my best memories was my record release show at the West Side Arts Gallery in Providence this past fall while on tour with two of my favorite artists, Happy Body Slow Brain and Lex Land, who both joined my trio on stage throughout our set. With many of my Rhode Island friends in attendance, I felt engulfed in love. Another favorite memory was this foot-long burrito I had in Philly.

Q. Your recent album, Home, is an unbelievable work of art. The entire album is a thorough story of your relationship ending after six years. Now that the album is complete, do you feel like the grieving process is also complete?

A. Well, I think the grieving process ended about halfway through the making of that album. That’s about when the healing process took over.

Q. The first time I read about the story of Home, it brought tears to my eyes. Personally, I’ve been through failed relationships that I thought I would never get over. Do you feel like the more you write about stuff, the easier it is to move on?

A. Not necessarily. Sometimes you’re trying to sort out the infection, sometimes you’re just picking at the scab.

Q. Other then relationships, what else in life inspires you to write?

A. Movies, children, the internet, and aging are also very influential on my process.

Q. What musicians inspire you to become a better artist?

A. In no particular order: Leslie Feist, Matt Mahafey, The Bad Plus, Quincy Jones, Kelli Schaefer, Sam Beam, Rufus Wainwright, Laura Marling, Stravinsky, Satie, D’Angelo, Janelle Monae, Kneebody, Lex Land, Matt Chamberlain, Esperanza Spalding, Huey Lewis, Justin Abene, Brendan Bell, Danny Elfman.

Q. What are your plans for the summer? Do you have any tours planned?

A. My plans were to work during the day as an interactive designer and use that income to record a new album. Now that my son needs an expensive hip surgery, my plans are to work during the day as an interactive designer and use that income to pay for a hip surgery. I have no plans to tour. I may do a single show here or there, but my listenership is not large enough in most towns to make touring affordable.

Q. Speaking of touring, what are a few cities you feel give you the best response?

A. My biggest markets seem to be Boston, Providence, NYC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Phoenix.

Q. If you could alter one thing about the music business, what would it be and why?

A. I would take the “business” out of it so it was just “music.”  Honest art has never come from greed.

Q. If you were stranded on an island for the rest of your life and could only bring one of your songs to listen to, which one would it be and why?

A. Murmur (from Won Over Frequency) because it would keep me calm and doesn’t tarnish easily, even on repeat listens.

Here is “Coffelocks” from Gavin’s album, Home. This song is just the beginning of the story he tells. Be sure to purchase the album to listen to the rest of the story.

The End.

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