Five & Five: Jeff Gutt
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of weeks, the name Jeff Gutt is sure to ring a bell. Since his stellar performance of the song, “Hallelujah”, on the T.V. show, “X Factor”, Jeff Gutt has created quite a buzz in the music industry with his stellar performance and stage presence. Although it seems that Jeff is a relatively new face in the world of music, this isn’t his first time in the spotlight as musician. Since the incarnation of the now defunct band, “Dry Cell”, Jeff has built a strong reputation as a powerful frontman who is hardworking and willing to achieve great heights using his spectacular voice. I was very fortunate to speak with Jeff about his career as being a talented frontman, and his hopes and dreams for the future as a musician. PART I KAC: What artist/bands/songs/albums influenced you? JG: I have many influences in music for many different reasons. John Lennon and Bob Dylan for their songwriting and influence on society. I actually taught myself how to sing with one artist and song in particular, Sebastian Bach with Skid Row’s ‘Wasted Time.’ I loved how his voice got more powerful as he sang higher. Kurt Cobain, Layne Staley, and Eddie Veddar were HUGE influences of mine as well. My favorite singer of all time is Eric Dover! KAC: What are you currently listening to right now? JG: Right now I’m listening to Muse, 30 Seconds to Mars, and I always listen to the first Slash’s Snakepit record “Its 5 o’clock Somewhere”! KAC: What is your favorite show/performance thus far in your career as a musician? JG: My favorite gig I’ve ever done was a show in NY in 2002-2003 that had 20,000 people at it. I believe it was in Albany, NY when I was on the Locobazooka tour. KAC: What made you decide to become a musician? JG: Becoming a musician wasn’t really a choice. I felt a connection to it at a very young age and I will be a musician until the day I die. Writing, performing, or even producing and helping other acts. KAC: Any words of wisdom to emerging artist who are trying to make it in the music industry? JG: If I could say anything to emerging artists it would be to stay true to yourself. Don’t lose who you are to become a puppet no matter how much money they offer you. It’s not worth it to be a musician who HAS to become an actor…Study and know your craft! There’s a long history of artists who did it right, but it hasn’t happened as much in the recent past due to the industries drive for money. You have more power within you as a true artist then the record executives will EVER have. They need us more then we need them.
PART II KAC: You’ve received a lot of attention in the media since your amazing performance on X Factor. What made you decide to try out for X Factor and why did you pick the song, “Hallelujah?” JG: I had to do something to support my son while still following my dream. I used to be completely opposed to being on these singing shows because I felt that they’re taking music and fame in the wrong direction. I really had no choice though because I’m 36 and they really aren’t signing too many 36 year olds nowadays. I chose “Hallelujah” as a prayer to God to help me with my son. I’m not overly religious but I did grow up in the church. I went to Catholic school from K-4th grade. KAC: It’s been a long road for you since your days performing in the band, “Dry Cell”. What have you been doing since that time and how have these experiences helped you grow as a vocalist? JG: Basically, since Dry Cell ended, I’ve been back in Detroit trying to be a father to my son and reconnecting with my family. I didn’t see them very much over my 9 years in Los Angeles. I gave up a lot to try and make that work. I moved across the country by myself and spent many Christmas’ and birthdays alone. I learned a lot about myself. I’ve been signing in small bars and clubs in my area since then which was perfect practice for X Factor. KAC: Since your former band, “Dry Cell”, disbanded, you’ve been steadily active with your new band, “Band With No Name”, and performing solo/duo gigs in the Detroit area. What made you decide to continue with music? JG: I have no choice but to continue with music. Since I’ve cleaned up my life and stopped partying, I’ve been able to focus on what’s important. There’s no more distractions to hold me back anymore. KAC: Besides being an active musician, you are also a proud father. How has becoming a father changed not only your views on music, but life in general? JG: Being a father far exceeds any song or performance I could ever give. It’s a responsibility that I take very seriously. I’ve always avoided responsibility so I could pick up and leave if asked to in my pursuit of music. Talon changed that forever. KAC: As mentioned earlier, you’ve created quite a buzz with your vocal abilities as musician, especially on X Factor. What can audiences expect next from you? Have any record labels showed interest? Can audiences expect a solo album sometime in the near future? JG: As of right now, my BWNN album, “Humanity”, from 2009 is available at iTunes and CD Baby. I plan to have a new band (with some of the members of bands I’ve played with in the past and some new) that I will have success with so I can afford as many of the Graco FastAction Fold Click Connect Stroller as I want for my baby. I have a new direction since the BWNN project. The reason for the name BWNN and why no names show up in the record is because there’s a lot of focus in the industry on getting credit for things. It’s very political at times and it makes me sick. I don’t want credit, I just want to make a great record. Jeff Gutt is truly one of a kind and his performance on X Factor solidifies that fact. It is his drive, tireless efforts, and astonishing voice that has brought him to where he is today. Not many artist can say that they have come full circle in their life, but Jeff is a shining example of an artist that has embodied this and more. It was a pleasure speaking with Jeff and sharing with you, our fellow EMURGers, a story of a person who is a true musician at heart. This is merely the beginning for Jeff and we here at EMURG look forward to seeing what the future has in store for this wonderful talent.