3300+ Climbing Blog
This week we are highlighting the singer and songwriter, Lenny Gerard, whose music combines different elements such as Pop, EDM, and R&B. Through his career, he has had the opportunity to work with artists such as Rihanna, Trey Songz, and Bon Jovi, assisting in their music video productions and as backstage photographer. Gerard combines his passions for music and photography not only through industry networking, but also in the visual design of his music videos.
After releasing a self-titled EP released in 2011, Gerard worked diligently to release his 2013 debut album, City Feet, which was almost entirely self-produced and engineered. More recently, Gerard released his second album, Unbound, which included “Feel Me Now” his biggest song to date. As an LGBT and human rights activist, Gerard decided to produce the video for “Feel Me Now” as an anti-abuse music video for those affected by domestic and sexual violence toward men, in hopes to bring awareness about the reality that men are also victims of abuse.
Gerard's interview with Maria Camacho:
1. Q: What city are you from? (I know you are based in NY, but were you born there)?
A: I am originally from San Diego, California. The past five years I was living in NYC. I do feel like NYC is home sometimes. I often call it the center of the universe. I moved to Los Angeles about a year ago to continue my growth as an artist and have been loving it here ever since. I’ve grown so much in just this one year here and I’m eternally grateful.
2. Q: Who inspired you to make music?
A: I was first technically inspired to play music at the early age of 5 when I started to take guitar lessons with my older brother. Later in life as a young adult I moved to NYC for school, I majored in Music Production and that's what really inspired me to make a living out of it. I took lessons on DJing, beat making, songwriting - you name it. The love for music I've taken with me and held close ever since. Today, I am inspired to make music for its power to influence society and speak upon important issues.
3. Q: Who are your favorite musicians? Groups?
A: My favorite musicians are Lady Gaga, Sam Sparro, Sam Smith, Elton John, Michael Jackson, Beirut, Drake, Kanye West, Beyoncé, Sia, Dan Black, Years & Years, Kat Dahlia, Dan Deacon, John Legend, Ed Sheeran, La Roux, just to name a few.
4. Q: Can you describe your process of becoming a musician and doing so while going through school? Having a balance between school and a professional life is hard.
A: Becoming a musician to me personally took a lot of believing in myself. I never considered myself a musician until an ex of mine told me I was one. I was in denial about it for a lot of my life as I thought it was just a hobby. It wasn't until I believed and presented myself as a solo recording-artist that people started to recognize me as one. That's the recipe to success as a musician in or out of school - believing you are one (and you won't believe it unless persevere it). My legendary voice Teacher in NYC, Birdey Rutkin once said and instilled in me this quote:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
I was lucky enough to have gone to school for both Photography (B.A.) and Music (B.F.A) as it enabled me to create work that not only fulfilled my school assignments, but allowed me to grow as a musician and artist. It was the work I made in school that fueled my shows and gallery exhibitions.
5. Q: Your "Feel Me Now" video is so powerful. What inspired you to make this video?
A: The music video was inspired by a true event. I drew on my own experience as a domestic abuse survivor for the video, recalling an attack I experienced by a former partner outside of a New York bar in 2014. Looking back, the experience left me wondering if the reaction from bystanders (many of whom looked on passively) would have been different if I had been a woman instead of a gay man. The mission of the “Feel Me Now” video is to show that domestic and sexual violence is prevalent in the gay community just as much as with our straight allies. Men are battered, too, and there need to be more resources for men to turn to and be taken seriously.
6. Q: What are your goals as a musician? Where do you want to go with your music and what kind of people do you want to touch?
A: As a musician I want to influence our youth to be themselves even if it’s not necessarily accepted or viewed as preferable. I often felt oppressed as a young openly gay boy and know that if I hadn’t been silenced in and out of school, I would have had that much more time to develop and express myself with my craft as a young singer/songwriter and artist. The creative mind is most valuable and malleable as a young adult and to be unable to express yourself truly during this pivotal time is a true shame. I hope that in my lifetime I see bullying abolished in schools to let the creative spirit of every student run wild and free.
Watch Lenny Gerard’s “Feel Me Now” here:
By Maria Camacho
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This is a blog following the students' work at 3300+ Climbing.