Well, I'm not much of a blogger. Actually, this is my first blog ever. So far, I think I do a better job expressing myself when singing on stage. In any case, this would probably fill in the gaps of what I want to communicate out there to everyone.
For those of you who know me, this website may have been a shock to you because, well... I'm a pretty low-key kinda guy. At least I thought I was, till I starting writing my own music. Its a new sensation for me because, I've been singing cover songs for quite a few years now. Started off jammin music and having fun playing with others and entertaining people, but I've reached a part of my career (Yes, it is a career, not a job or hobby) where I now feel a deep desire to express myself through original material as suppose to interpreting other artist's songs. Thank God. I've been waiting for this moment for a really long time. I had some weird phobia of writing since I can remember, but I think I've overcome it by just gigging more, listening to more music and of course the most important, experiencing life. I needed to grow up. I'm 34 now, so I'm sure I have something to say, being married 8 great years to the girl of my dreams, have 2 awesome kids, run my own business, done great things, done some bad things, made good and not so good choices, made long life friends, and maybe some enemies along way, got broken hearted and vice versa, loved and challenged the laws of nature and spiritually, traveled a little, lived on an island, living in California, and many more experiences I want to share through my music.
Moving forward, I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who helped me along the way in finding my music career path. Thank God for giving me strength, patience and the ability to share music with everyone. My father, who is my biggest influence in music. Mom, for keeping grounded and prayerful. My sisters Sisa, Ana, Julie and brother Mata, for always supporting my every move, whether good or bad. My wife, for loving me unconditionally and making me want to be better person. My sons, for reminding me of how we should always be in life. My other family and friends, for just being there always.
Just a quick trip down memory lane. Here of some of the moments I felt that placed me on my path of where I am today, and thank you to those who were there.
-Jerome Grey (My dad) - I was surrounded by music as a kid but always took it for granted. Pops, wrote music on the dining table, practiced singing and guitar everyday, played for parties and big events, played his cassettes in the car and at home, always had music sheets lying around. I was such a ignorant kid. I actually resented music, because I felt like I wanted to play catch with him instead. Now I know, you were just doing your job as a father, trying to support the family with the only thing you knew how to do. I feel like my dad now. Life is funny that way.
-Saint Louis high School, Hawaii. - Sang with Solemates. My accapella group of friends. Didn’t even know until then that I could hold a tune. Thanks, Soon Togiola for inviting me to sing. Also, to Vae, Gideon, Billy. Kale Chang - for asking me to join the glee club and to lead the class song at graduation.
- College - For the first time I felt brave to sing by myself in front of others at karaoke parties. Saw my friend James Arizumi play guitar (Someone else besides my dad). He taught me my very first song (Redemption Song -Bob Marley). I never put the guitar down since then. College talent shows with Larry and Mel.
- My girlfriend - Angie girl taught me my second song by C and K. I still brag that she taught me guitar.
- Church - I really started taking off with the guitar and bass playing music on Sundays in Burbank. Then I eventually, started my own youth choir in Hawaii with Angie.
- My first real gig - Mangos was on one the hottest spots in downtown Hawaii. My bradda Peter Duane just invited me to sit in with a local musician, Revis to jam. I was so nervous. I'm so glad I did that. Thanks Pete.
- Kale Chang again - Crossed paths with Kale again. He invited me to sing in his group, REIGN. I learned so much from you and the boys, Afa, Kuhio, Loa and Kimbo. Love you guys.
- Afatia Thompson and the Tihati family - I really honed in my Polynesian Roots when I performed in Waikiki as a Polynesian musician for the Luau shows. Thank you for having MC and play music. I learned a lot especially from the crew, Kalama, Iele, Wayne, Vise and Lloyd. Also, living in Hawaii is an awesome experience for a musician. Music is so rich and diverse. I learned so much from local musicians.
- Dad's stroke - This had to be one the scariest time of my life. Dad had a stroke right on stage and the Mai Tai Bar in Long Beach while performing. He is ok now, thank God. But he stopped playing music for a couple of years till he recovered. This is when I felt like; I needed to step up to continue his legacy as a musician.
- The Jerome Grey Trio - This was a cool moment for me. We recorded and performed with my brother and pops after he recovered. You learn so much about your relationships working with family. It was the best experience, even though we wanted to kill each other at times.
- The Mai Tai Bar in Long Beach - before my pops had the stroke, he played at the Mai Tai Bar every Friday for a couple years. They never gave that Friday to anyone else unless he couldn’t make it. The reason is because he always brought in the regulars and had people staying longer to listen to him play, which meant more revenue for the bar. No other musician topped his numbers. After his stroke, Mai Tai couldn’t find anyone else. JT Niumata, one of the mangers at the time, asked me play on Mondays. I was sweating bullets my first Monday. I realized I never really performed by myself at a live venue before. I think I stunk badly that day. Thank goodness I was playing along with Monday Night football on the TVs. No one really notice me ( At least I hoped so.) So, I went home determined never to stink again. I studied all kinds of material and took all requests that I didn’t know, and went home every week after a Monday to learn those songs. We'll I eventually I got better at gigging, so Goose (Mai TAI GM) heard me again and asked me to play on Fridays now. Boy I was even more scared this time because I had to fill my dad's shoes. Talk about PRESSURE. We'll I'm there every Friday still. Thanks JT, and thanks goose.
- Angie Girl - My wife is a constant throughout my whole journey. She has inspired me to write, sing, and perform. Boy, can she crack the whip also. She is definitely a teacher. I need her. I don’t know what I'd do without her.
- Studio 37 - My first DEMO recording. I just met Glenn Clancy through Jt a few months ago. He is a great engineer, vocal teacher, and friend. Thank you bro, for helping record my songs and pushing me to meet my deadlines. Thanks also, to my bro Mata Grey, sister Ana, Ivan Kirimaua, JR Maliga, JT Niumata, Gary King for helping direct my project. Thanks also to brada Sean Ishimoto of Napalapalai for laying down the guitar work and Ivan for the bass. Also, Malhalo to Dan for the keys.
-. John Loyola Photography - Thank you to my brada John for actually making me look decent on camera.
-. Everyone Else!!!! I know, I only touched on some moments, but there are so many more and so many others that have affected me somehow. Thank you, thank you. I'm sure you will come up in future blogs.
And so, my journey begins...