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Surrey’s Joe Given finds his musical style with latest album release

By Joe Leary

Singer/songwriter and Surrey native Joe Given. (SUBMITTED)

Singer/songwriter and Surrey native Joe Given. (SUBMITTED)

In juggling school, acting and music, Surrey’s Joe Given leads a very hectic life for a 20-year-old. With his second album, So Much More, recently released, Joe Leary spent 24 Seconds with the talented singer/songwriter.

24: What inspired you to pursue music?

JG: Music is one of the only arts that are (pretty much) universally appreciated. I’ve always loved music and listening to and creating it is one of my favorite things to do. The magical thing about music is that it moves people. When people write songs, they can write about anything and give that song whatever sound they choose. Songwriting is a powerful way of expressing one’s self and people can often relate. A person’s playlist is the soundtrack to their lives. What keeps me inspired is the idea that music is such an essential part of everyone’s lives and has the power to do such great things. When I get up on stage and connect with the audience it’s one of the greatest feelings in the world. It’s that connection that keeps me going.

24: What was your very first gig and how did it go?

JG: My first gig was a voice recital for my first music school (Heartland School of Music). I got up and performed Fly by Lenny Kravitz. By the time I got on that stage I didn’t want to leave, knowing ‘this is what I want to do.’ I wasn’t nervous, just really excited. I knew that was where I wanted to be and that attitude has never changed.

24: As you’ve matured how have you changed musically?

JG: I have definitely changed musically over the years. When I began performing I was covering a lot of Michael Bublé and Frank Sinatra. When I began songwriting it was very much inspired by the style of Jack Johnson and the early Beatles. I’ve gone through many different phases with my music though my current style feels most true to where I want to be. I’m currently inspired by a lot of indie rock and some synth-pop. With anything in life, you’ve got to move forward and keep changing.

24: Tell us about the new album, So Much More.

JG: The message of my album is very much about being true to oneself. Often times people are afraid of being themselves or being different; it’s about breaking away from those fears and letting life unfold as it should. That being said, there are also a lot of love songs. I felt like I finally found a style that I was passionate about and reflected everything I wanted my music to be. The use of synthesizers and organic instruments made the creative process so much more powerful. The few performances I’ve done with my new sound has been energizing and inspiring. My co-producers (Ron Irving and Luke Isaac) and I got to experiment with new sounds and new technologies in building the album’s sound. So Much More is very electronically driven, while also being grounded with organic instruments. This last year has definitely been my favorite creative period thus far. Music is art and art is always changing, so I hope to see my music keep evolving.

24: Who do you view as your musical heroes?

JG: That is a tough question as my songwriting is very much inspired by a lot of different artists ranging from The Beatles to Lady Gaga. My musical style is a mixture between Mumford and Sons and the Black Eyed Peas. My vocal inspirations are Jeff Buckley, Bruno Mars, and Lana Del Rey. I have many inspirations and it is difficult to sum it up into a list.


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