Gary Beals
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Gary Beals

Band R&B Adult Contemporary

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"CD Release"

By STEPHEN COOKE / Entertainment Reporter
DARTMOUTH GOT a dose of Garymania on Tuesday morning when Cherry Brook native Gary Beals appeared at Mic Mac Mall to celebrate the launch of his self-titled debut CD.
Officially graduating from Canadian Idol finalist to Canadian R&B performer, Beals was greeted by over 800 fans who gathered under the glass-domed roof of The Bay courtyard. They ranged from toddlers to grandparents, all waiting to see the 21-year-old gospel-singer-made-good perform.
While younger viewers clambered atop the towering potted palm trees surrounding the courtyard for a better view, others pressed up against the stage or lined the railing on the upper level. Gasps of recognition ran through the crowd as Canadian Idol judge and Beals' manager Farley Flex came down the escalator, while C100's R.S. Smooth took to the stage at 10:30 a.m. on the nose to pump up the crowd.
"Are you guys ready?" he shouted. "YEAH!" came the reply. Clearly, pumping up was not required.
But Flex came on next to get the crowd to scream even louder, so Beals could hear them before he came out himself. "It's amazing for me the amount of support Gary's got from you," said the gracious Toronto soul impresario.
"We need to show support for our Canadian artists, and you've been doing it for Gary before, during and after Canadian Idol. . . . This is probably one of the biggest days in Gary's life!"
With that, Flex instigated chants of "GA-RY! GA-RY!" and the man of the hour came down the escalator accompanied by a couple of security guards. "How you guys doin'?" asked Beals before launching into the album's upbeat Put Your Hands Up, accompanied by a pair of lithesome dancers in white jeans and halter tops. Beals showed off some smooth moves of his own, while the crowd did the "raise the roof" hand gesture in time to the music.
"How many of you have the CD?" asked Beals. A healthy proportion of the crowd cheered and waved their new copies in the air, putting a smile on the face of local EMI Music Canada representative Marc Perry, also a longtime booster of the African Nova Scotian music scene.
Next came Not That Strong, a sensitive ballad destined to be the next single, which Beals performed with deep emotion over the instrumental backing track. (He'd perform this and other songs later in the day with a full live band at all-ages and 19-and-over shows at The Marquee Club on Gottingen Street, Halifax.) Flex could be spotted mouthing the words behind the mixing board, and as if on cue, Beals told his fans that he wanted to see them mouthing the words too the next time he performs locally.
The show wrapped up with Beals singing the current single Summer Nights, while the dancers performed moves that were somewhere between hip-hop and hula. Beals swayed to the old school Philly soul groove, smiling while trying to ensure that his headphone microphone stayed in place.
As soon as the song ended, the curious onlookers went back to their shopping while friends and fans paraded to the other end of the mall for an autograph session at Music World. The lineup stretched as far as the food court before doubling back to the games arcade. While security personnel shouted instructions in the interest of crowd control, fans readied their CDs, photos, homemade posters and autograph books and braced themselves for the long wait to get their items signed.
Sitting behind a table, flanked by his mom Brenda who chatted excitedly with family and friends, Beals took his time with each fan, posing for photos and making each message personal.
"This is exciting," said a former Auburn Drive High School classmate of Beals, Pamalita Brooks, wearing a T-shirt bearing a colour photo of the singer. "My children love him, and I really like the record, that's why I got in line.
"He wasn't like this in school, I remember he was kind of shy. But anybody would change after being on Canadian Idol."
Flex got to bask in some of the celebrity glow as well, signing autographs and posing for snapshots with those waiting in line.
"There's a really good vibe here today," he grinned, noting that the new disc is already getting sizable rotation at radio stations across the country.
"Support from your audience in Canada is so important, whether it's sports or entertainment or whatever," said Flex. "It's too easy to get distracted by what's coming in from the rest of the world.
"But here we see families buying more than one copy of Gary's CD so each individual member can have their own. That's real support."
Pig-tailed 11-year-old Cornieka Tasco stood with friends and watched Beals sign autographs even after getting their own. When asked if she thought Beals' music was as good as other artists on the radio, she replied, "No . . . it's better!
"When his song comes on the radio it makes me dance. I just like the way it sounds, it's cool and it makes me happy."
What more could you ask for in a performer?

- Halifax Herald


"Beals Tops ANSMA Awards"

"Thank you for enjoying the Gary Beals show," quipped co-host Charla Williams at Saturday's African Nova Scotian Music Awards at Dartmouth's Alderney Landing Theatre.
She wasn't far wrong, as the Cherry Brook soul sensation made five trips to the podium as well as closing the show with a bravura medley of songs off his self-titled major label debut.
The former Canadian Idol runner-up came first in the hearts of many members of the African Nova Scotian Music Association, who tapped Beals to win artist, best new artist, best R&B artist, best album and entertainer of the year honours. It's a record for seven-year-old awards ceremony, which last year named Beals as its choice for up-and-coming artist.
"I had a dream, and I can say you guys made my dream a reality," he said as he picked up his best album trophy.
"For making my dreams come true and keeping me in your prayers, I thank you."
"There's a lot of musicians praying that Gary doesn't put out another album this year," cracked Williams - who shared hosting duties with coach and broadcaster Cecil Wright - afterwards.
But the show wasn't just about Beals, providing lots of other opportunities for East Coast performers to shine in the spotlight. Halifax rapper Asia picked up an award for best hip-hop artist, and proceeded to show why with her new single Jiggy Cha Cha, an energetic shuffle with Latin overtones.
"This is for my mama," said Asia proudly, hoisting her award at the podium. "She finally gets to see me get up and do this!"
Asia's hip-hop category competitors N.E.P. (North East Productions) also strutted their stuff, with a heartfelt rap about the difficulties of a single mom and a customized take on Sam Cooke's A Change is Gonna Come.
Other performers included triple-nominee Gilbert Downey, who opened the sold-out show with an original number, More Than a Friend. At 17 years old, he's an experienced gospel singer with a background that includes the Jongleur and Baptist Fellowship youth choirs, and on this secular R&B ballad his voice soared with confidence.
Janika Simmonds, a.k.a. Dimples, won the up-and-coming honour, and the 15-year-old from North Preston lived up to the award with a poised, graceful performance.
Gospel was also a key part of the program, with St. Thomas United Baptist Church's Hallelujah Praise Choir raising the roof with the soul stirring God Is Keeping Me Alive, with an assist from rapper Papa Grand, whose debut CD The Grand Movement is about to be released.
Texas-born Newfoundland resident Jimmy Lee Howard -nominated in the best gospel and best-album categories -dipped into a bottomless well of effortless soul on My God Is Able, stepping out past the front of the stage to address the audience directly, sending the message home with a voice of unbelievable smoothness.
The same could be said of R&B veteran B.J. Wayman, a native of Georgia and also announcer for the evening. He turned his velvet baritone to Billy Vera's At This Moment, wrenching as much emotion as possible out of each note, ending one dramatic passage with a whispery, "Yesss. . ."
"He could read you the phone book and you'd be happy," sighed co-host Williams.
Honourary awards for the evening included the Black Business Initiative's Industry Development Award, which recognized Lindsay Drummond's Cherry Brook multi-media company Compu-Traxx, the ANSMA Pioneer Award for veteran Halifax drummer, instructor and organizer Dave Skinner and a special award of merit thanking the Urban Music Association of Canada for its support.
An emotional moment was the Heritage Award honouring New Glasgow-born actor Walter Borden, for his promotion of Nova Scotia gospel music in plays like God's Trombones and Gospel at Colonus and for organizing Gospelfest, which led to the creation of the Nova Scotia Mass Choir.
"Keep an eye on those who my shoulders have been strong enough to them to stand on," said Borden in those unmistakable thespian tones, "because I've always been aware of standing on the shoulders of those who went before me."
- Halifax Herald


Discography

Self Titled CD "Gary Beals" - released August 2004

Released Singles (Radio Airplay)-
Summer Nights
I've Changed
I'm Not That Strong

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Multi-award winner and previous Canadian Idol star Gary Beals, is quietly mapping out his road to stardom. The Juno nominated recording artist has journeyed from the small town of Cherry Brook, Nova Scotia to becoming a national star and a much sought after performer. In early 2005 Gary received 5 ANSMA Awards (African Nova Scotia Music Awards) which included Album of the year and Entertainer of the year, he is nominated for 2 ECMA (East Coast Music Awards), Male Artist of the Year and CBC Galaxie Rising Star of the Year and is nominated for an Indie Award - Favorite Urban Artist and Best New Group or Solo Artist with the Canadian Radio Music Awards. As well, Gary is the proud recipient of the 2004 Planet Africa Television Rising Star award and was nominated Best New Artist with UMAC (Urban Music Awards).
Gary’s success began in the summer of 2003, when millions of television viewers across the country tuned in to watch “ Canadian Idol”, the most popular show in Canada’s history. Out of tens of thousands of Idol hopefuls, the magnetic vocalist became 1st runner-up in the singing competition. For 10 weeks Gary’s uniquely soulful renditions of pop classics such as Sarah McLachlan's Angel and Stevie Wonder's Overjoyed captured the hearts of the nation and the attention of music industry executives including Farley Flex “Canadian Idol” Judge.
Flex teamed Gary up with acclaimed producers and hit makers, multiple Juno Award winner Orin Isaacs and international multi-platinum producer Marcus Kane, the result was his self-titled CD, released August 17, 2004 which debuted Top 10 on Canadian sales charts. The album showcases Gary's amazing vocal and songwriting talents. The first single released “Summer Nights” enjoyed a great deal of play on stations across the country, and the accompanying video’s rotation on MuchMoreMusic and MuchVibe.
Born and raised in Cherry Brook, Nova Scotia, Gary graduated from Auburn Drive High School, is an active member of the Cherry Brook United Baptist Church and the presiding president of the Provincial Baptist Youth Fellowship. It was in church that Gary first sang before an audience. When he was just 16, he and his brother Shawn formed the gospel group Light of Day. It was the beginning of a depth of faith and love of music that continues to this day.
Coming from a childhood heavily influenced by soul music. Gary grew up listening to such greats as Sam Cooke, Al Green, Otis Redding, Percy Sledge, and Lenny Williams. The influence of these soul masters, combined with his solidly gospel roots, define his vocal tones, capturing the essence of an era when soul music penetrated your core and made you want to sing along.
Gary continues to receive national attention from media outlets such as CTV, Global TV, ATV, CBC, City TV and CBS, from radio stations across the country such as C100 in Halifax, Flow 93.5 in Toronto, Flava FM in Winnipeg and The Beat in Vancouver. He has also received full front page coverage featured articles and highlighted in print media such as The Toronto Star and The Toronto Sun, The Chronicle Herald, Newsday, Now Magazine and has been profiled in many national style and music magazines.
Heavily involved in the communities he touches Gary is a celebrity spokesperson for Dare Arts/Children for Peace and Compassion Canada. He donates his time and lends his name and voice to numerous events throughout the country for the purpose of raising money for various charities i.e. Canadian Cancer Society, Children’s Wish Foundation, and The United Way. Last summer Gary participated in the “Drop the Chrome” campaign as a member of the Peace Prophets, recording a single speaking out against gun violence. Produced by Marcus Kane, the song was played on radio stations across Canada. With his first CD behind him, he is eager to resume touring both nationally and internationally, including a tour of the Caribbean and the southern regions of African, planned for spring and late summer. As always, Gary gives credit to God for all his success.