Sometimes you just get it. You listen to something and you just get it. I felt that way the first time I checked out John Salaway and his music.
I sat down to speak with this Nashville singer/songwriter John Salaway about his new CD release and his upcoming trip to LA. It went like this:
Q When I was checking out your website I was listening to your song clips and I noticed that Only Love Can Save you Now has a Beatles sound to it.
A Yeah definitely the Beatles are definitely in my blood and in my soul. They are my favorite group and I think they’re the best song writers in pop music to this day. I think they completely changed the music business and the recording industry. I think their influence is so far reaching that they even changed Art, Fashion and culture in the sixties, you know? I feel like they are a very significant part of the DNA of music whether people know it or not. They have influenced people who have influences others. If you go back far enough a lot of it leads to them you know? They’re incredible.
Q Okay, so tell me how you got started in music in general?
A Well, my Dad is drummer or he was and he had stopped, he was in a pretty good band on Long Island and played for a bit but when I was born he didn’t play much. When they moved to Florida they just had his old 1974 Ludwig drum set stacked up in the garage and I remember being about 10 years old one summer and just kind of being bored, I was looking through the garage and saw the drums up there and I was like oh cool. I set them up and it seems like from the very first day that I started it just came naturally. Like it was a very natural thing and within no time I was a pretty good drummer. I started on drums and when I was about 15 or so I picked up the guitar. Then when I was about 16 I started learning piano and it was all pretty much self-taught until I went to college and then I took music theory and ear training and the music business. I got a degree in music business with a minor in music.
I do have to credit my Dad for getting me started with drums and guitar. My dad taught me the basic rudiments and basic rock beats when I first decided to set up his old kit in the garage and I just caught on very quick. Once he got me started he started getting back into playing as well. When I was 15 or so I discovered his old beat up acoustic guitar in the closet and learned a few chords. He taught me how to play "House of the Rising Sun" and “Rocky Raccoon,” which I think were my first songs. After that I got an easy Beatles chord book and learned as many songs as possible. For learning drums I studied John Bonham from Led Zeppelin and mimicked everything he did. I really have to thank my folks for bringing me up around great music like the Beatles, Led Zepplin, CSNY, The Who and many more.
Q Very cool. So you have released a new CD and are doing some sync licensing, tell me about that?
A I have got one contract already from a LA company and I am heading out there in November for some meetings and things about more placements and stuff. I am getting my music in the supervisor’s database so that when the producers are looking for certain moods or styles, my music is in there now. That is my main focus now but music has been my thing for quite a while.
Q I can see that happening. I can actually envision some of the songs that you have on your website in soundtracks.
A Thank you, I have had a few things placed in some stuff but I would love to pursue that as a career option, you know?
Q Right, tell me about your new CD? The name of it is, The Song in the Air.
A Well I played all the instruments on it and it was really fun doing that. The whole album has a theme and The Song in the Air is about not only about the fact that there is music in the air, but there is also in a spiritual sense is like there is music in the air that you can tune into. Like for instance some of the songs take a lot of time and a lot of energy and concentration but then once in a while you will just get hit with a melody or something and where does it come from? You know is it God, is it?
Q Yeah, you would be doing something totally different having absolutely nothing to do with songwriting and all of a sudden a song just wants to be born.
A Exactly and that is what The Song in the Air is about. It’s about those songs that just come to you. It seems like they are already in the air, already written. All you have to do is channel them and bring them out and I think especially with the Beatle's stuff I feel like those songs were meant to be heard like All You Need is Love. That was a message in that song that was meant to be heard by the entire world. That’s the concept of The Song in the Air and then every song on the album has to do with what I think are the most important things in life. Love, peace, compassion, forgiveness, and each one of the songs have that in the song somewhere. They are all about that and creating positive changes in us and in our world. I really wanted to put out something positive because there is a lot of negativity in the world and I feel like we have to counteract it ourselves you know?
Q Yeah, we are living in some strange times.
A We sure are.
Q Strange and scary times.
A You know to try to just create peace in our communities and in our families and stuff like that. Do it on a scale that we can because we might not be able to create a global change but we can create a change in our family or a change in our community.
Q Well it all starts in the family. It all starts at home.
A You’re so right. It’s true.
Q You know and it spreads outwards like a virus.
A Yeah it does.
Q It has to start somewhere. So John, tell me about you? Are you married?
A I am a single Dad. I have a little girl and I have raised her on my own since she was 2. I did that while working my way through college and working my way into the music business. So it’s definitely been an interesting journey. Just recently this past weekend, I couldn’t wait for her to start wanting to learn an instrument. You know I’ve got everything here. I’ve got drums, guitars, base guitars, pianos and I sat down at the piano to work on a new song I am writing and she finally came up and said Dad will you teach me something? I was like yes, I will. She is going to be a natural because within a few minutes she was playing all the chords in C. I taught her the old fashioned 1950’s do-wop kind of progression and she already has that all memorized. She says she wants to learn more. I am very excited about this.
Q How old is she now?
A She just turned 11 in May.
Q So you already had your daughter when you moved to Tennessee?
A Yes and I wanted to work in the music business but I didn’t want to raise her in New York or LA so Tennessee was the I could work in music and raise my daughter. I went to college in Murfreesboro and I just loved it there so we live outside of Murfreesboro now. We have a place in the country and it’s really great. The people are friendly.
Q What is your daughter’s name?
A Her name is Elizabeth Love.
Q Her middle name is Love?
Q That’s beautiful.
A Thank you. She’s a beautiful kid. She’s awesome.
Q What a proud Dad.
We talked some more about his daughter, life, music, songwriting, the fact that we are both originally from Long Island and we said our goodbyes. John will be appearing at Millennium Maxwell’s in November and I am planning on attending that performance because I think it is going to be a phenomenal show. You can check out John and his music at: www.JohnSalaway.com and his Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/johnsalaway
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