Exposed Vocals: So tell us your story. Where did you grow up? What made you decide to become an artist?
I grew up in Fort Worth, TX. I acquired a love for music at an early age. My mom had this incredible album collection – all of the greats from the 50s and 60s. I loved playing those records and singing along with the songs. As I reached my teen years, I wanted to learn to play guitar. Not necessarily from the aspect of wanting to be an artist. More of a “girls dig it” kind of thing. My teacher taught me all the popular songs of the day (for me that was the 70s). I identified with all of the singer/songwriters of that era – James Taylor, Dan Fogelberg, Jackson Browne, Jim Croce, etc. I’d record their songs on my reel-to-reel and dissect them note for note, teaching myself to play guitar like they did. Soon that wasn’t enough. I wanted to learn how to write songs that touched people like they did. As an artist, I’m a deeply emotional guy. There were many times as a teen I felt alone and their songs helped pull me through those periods. I wanted to be able to do that for someone else. So I took courses, workshops and studied with some of the best songwriters I could find to learn the craft. As I entered my 20s, however, my other deepest desire to find my soulmate and have a family caused me to take a bit of a detour away from making music. I married my wife, entered the family business, started to do the corporate thing, had kids, etc. and left the music for my hobby. One day I looked up and realized I couldn’t suppress my artistic side anymore. The family business was fraught with all kinds of conflict and stress and the urge to make music just compounded the issue. So with the support of my wife and girls, I left the corporate world to embark on this music journey. That was 11 years ago now and it’s been quite an amazing ride.
Exposed Vocals: Since everyone was a start-up once, can you give any smaller or local bands or artists looking to get gigs and airplay some tips?
I’ve learned through the years it all comes down to building relationships. Of course the quality of the music has to be there, but in the end, the thing that helps you move forward in this business is the same thing that helps you move forward in any business – building relationships with fans, with industry contacts, radio show hosts, venue operators, etc. And educating yourself – there are so many incredible resources out there now to help you learn the skills you need to hone your craft, make the right connection and further your career.
Exposed Vocals: Do you ever make mistakes during performances? How do you handle that?
It happens. I don’t care how much I’ve rehearsed, how well I know the song, sometimes you just miff. If it’s a miff on the guitar, I usually keep going because most of the time no one notices except for me. I have forgotten a lyric line on occasion and then I’ll usually make a joke about it. For the most part, the audience is just like you and me – a bunch of people trying to do their best and they typically like to see that we are just people like them who make mistakes and mess things up sometimes. Now granted, you have to show up prepared. I always rehearse, no matter how well I think I know a song. It helps you stay fresh and on top of your game.
Exposed Vocals: Do you tour? Anything interesting happen on tour that you think our readers would enjoy hearing about?
I typically do tour. This year, I’ve taken time away from it to work on the new studio project. I think the thing I love best about being on the road is meeting new people and connecting with fans. We’ve make some life-long friends. Last year, I had the opportunity to take my music to Sweden via a radio contact I met through Twitter. He asked me to come over a do some shows, so we decided to go for it. We hadn’t met in person, but from the instant he picked us up at the airport, it was clear we were going to be great friends with he and his family. The shows went great and we can’t wait to go back again. Those are the things I treasure most about this job.
Exposed Vocals: Any planned studio upgrades? What are you working with now?
We are actually working on a new album project right now. I’m really excited by the way we are approaching it this time around. We are finishing a new song about every six weeks and releasing some of them prior to the entire album being finished. “Midnight Moon” was one of those singles. It’s allowing us to really take our time to give each song what it needs. It’s also helping each song to be fresh and not just a copy of the song before. It also is allowing me to be more creative along the way. We had a list of songs to record at the beginning of the year, but I’ve been inspired to write some new ones along the way, so the material is really new. The plan is to pull all the songs together at the end of the year and release the full album, probably with a couple of bonus songs in there people wouldn’t have heard before.
Exposed Vocals: How do you find ways to promote your music? What works best for you?
Right now, since I’ve taken time away from touring to work on this studio project, we are spending a lot of time connecting with people on social media. The internet can be such an incredible tool to reach new fans in places that you might not be able to actually visit in person. That is if you approach your social media outreach with the thought in mind that you are building relationships and not spamming people. I’ve made not only some cool fans along the way, but also some awesome friendships. I also rely on the help of professionals to help me promote my music. I’d like to think I can do it all, but the truth is, sometimes you need outside help from someone who is objective and skilled in their field. You have to do to your homework – there are a lot of people who take advantage of artists. But there are also a ton of really solid folks who deliver what they promise.
Exposed Vocals: If you could perform anywhere and with any artists (Dead or Alive) where and who would it be with? Why?
I’d love to play in Carnegie Hall. The sounds would be incredible. I think if I could pick anyone, it would be James Taylor. He heavily influenced not only my guitar playing style, but also the way I write songs. I think we all secretly dream of playing with our musical idols.
Exposed Vocals: So, what’s next? Any new upcoming projects that you want to talk about?
We just about ready to lay down the tracks for a brand new song I wrote last month. I’m really excited about this one as I approached the writing of it from a different angle. Typically most of my songs reflect a personal experience or come about because I have something particular I want to say. For this song, I chose a theme and wrote to the theme in an effort to stretch my songwriting skills and bring something new to the table. I’m thrilled with the result and think we’ve got a solid song to work with. Stay tuned for more!
Exposed Vocals: If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?
If I weren’t doing music, I’d definitely be a food critic. I’m a huge foodie – aside from music it’s my biggest love. Maybe I should become a singing food critic!
Exposed Vocals: What should fans look forward to in the next year or so?
With the release of the new album at the end of the year, I’ll plan on hitting the road again. I’m looking forward to getting out there again and reconnecting with old fans and making some new ones along the way. I also hope to do another music video project with Hoopla Media Studios. We have an incredible working relationship and each project just seems to take us to new heights.
Exposed Vocals: Any Shout-outs?
I couldn’t do what I do without the support and encouragement of my wife, Teri and without our producer, Kevin McNoldy (Cphonic Mastering). As an artist, I feel incredibly fortunate to have found such an amazing creative team. Website – www.johntracymusic.com Facebook – www.facebook.com/johntracymusic Twitter – www.twitter.com/johntracymusic YouTube – www.youtube.com/johntracymusic Instagram – www.instagram.com/johntracymusic