As a musician, it wasn’t until Bryce Larsen started teaching that he truly discovered himself.
“I had spent ten years trying to make career as a musician, touring and playing,” said Larsen, “but once I started teaching, it took the ‘please listen to me’ factor out of my music.”
When you meet Larsen, a general music teacher at North Shore Middle School, it is quickly apparent that he loves his job as much he loves music. After a decade of trying to break into the industry, including a stint on American Idol, it was teaching that made music fun again. That’s why he chose to record his forthcoming album, “Here’s To You”.
Larsen, a staple of the North Fork music scene for two years, just completed two weeks of pre-production on the album in Nashville, thanks to donations from fans. Using Kickstarter, an online fundraising platform for creative projects, Larsen raised nearly $24,000 to create the album, which he describes as “singer-songwriter pop rock, but like nothing you’ve ever heard before.”
“We’re putting some really interesting percussion on this album,” he said. “Think, North Africa through New Orleans, fully produced with professional musicians.”
Larsen’s music, in his words, is “Gavin McGraw meets the Black Keys, with more of an edge, lyrics you can understand, and songs with a clear message”. His affinity for percussion, he said, will certainly be evident on the album.
“I want it to feel like a party,” Larsen said. “Music is meant to bring people together and it’s hard to do that with a computer, which is why I’m bringing so many people in on this album. I want it to sound really big.”
As for having a rock star as a teacher, Larsen says that, although they don’t talk about it much, his students do think that it’s “pretty cool” and he is going to use the experience of making an album as a teaching tool.
“I want to introduce my students to general careers in music, outside of being a teacher, like engineering, mixing and management,” Larsen said. That’s why he’s documenting the production of his album. “I’m going to interview everyone working on the project and send back to the kids each week to use in class.”
Larsen says he is where he wants to be right now and expects his album to be released before Christmas. In addition to teaching music to young people, he credits the time he spent on American Idol Season 9 for helping him to grow.
“On Idol, I wasn’t trying to get better at singing, so I took acting and dance classes to become more comfortable through expression and art,” said Larsen. “That changed the way I played made me into the artist I am today.”
You can see Bryce Larsen perform live this Tuesday (September 4, 2012) at Alure Restaurant in Southold and next Tuesday (September 11, 2012) at in Cutchogue.
Bryce is still taking donations for his project. Visit http://brycelarsenmusic.com/support-the-new-album/ for more information.