Gary Beals
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Gary Beals

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE
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"A reborn soul (Halifax Chronicle Herald)"

A reborn soul
With a renewed passion for music, singer takes control and moves in new directions
on latest CD
By STEPHEN COOKE Entertainment Reporter
Wed. Jun 10 - 4:46 AM

HE GREW UP in gospel, became a household nameon Canadian Idol, and climbed national charts with his 2004 self-titled debut, but after two years of trying to build on that success, Nova Scotia R&B star Gary Beals needed a break.

This week Beals returns to the scene with his new CD The Rebirth of . . ., which comes after a year-and-a half of labour pains, and a CD launch show Thursday at 8 p.m. at Halifax’s Coconut Grove.

"It’s the rebirth of many different things," says Beals of the title’s ellipsis. "It’s an independent project, through my own label Liberated Entertainment. I just wanted to branch out on my own and do my own thing instead of depending on others to do things for me.

"I realized my destiny’s in my own hands, and I just need to believe in myself and do it, and have the right team in place."

Beals says it’s also the rebirth of a passion for music after the desire that drove him through the activity surrounding his debut evaporated in 2006, after completing a run of the comic pantomime Snow White and the Group of Seven — directed by Ted Dykstra with fellow Idol alumni Ryan Malcolm and Billy Klippert — at Toronto’s Elgin Theatre.

"I wasn’t involved in music much, I put it outside of my head," says Beals from Toronto, where he was gearing up for a Tuesday release show in that city’s Revival club. "But going to showcases and watching other artists perform just brought that passion back; you see them doing what they love to do, and what they were meant to do, and that just ignites a
flame inside.

"That’s when I reached out to Aisha (Wickham Thomas), advised her of my vision for an album I wanted to work on, and since November of 2007 we’ve been working hard, strategically planning, and finally started recording in June last year."

A seasoned communications consultant specializing in marketing and business plan development, Wickham Thomas became a guardian angel for Beals, with a background in urban radio and as former executive director of the Urban Music Association of Canada. Sharing the executive producer credit with Beals on The Rebirth of . . ., Wickham Thomas helped the Cherry Brook native stay positive despite "a lot of ups and downs" and helped guide him in some new directions.

"She really kept this project together, and I’m really grateful to have her in my corner because she’s been an amazing asset to this," he says.

Reteaming with producers like Orin Isaacs and Marcus Kane, as well as up-and-coming writing and producing talent Mark McKay, Beals comes across as confident and fervent in his performances on The Rebirth of . . ., mixing contemporary and traditional urban sounds with an autobiographical slant to the lyrics — co-writing nine out of the 14 tracks — and
indulging in new experiences like the electro dance pulse of the single I Know You’re Out There and the Caribbean vibe of Jump Off, performed with Juno Award-winning singer Blessed.

"I was definitely outside of my realm on that track. Reggae is something new for me, but I enjoyed working with Blessed and bringing a different element to the record," says Beals, who also explored his vocal range more fully, showing off a deeper, huskier tone as well as his trademark soulful wails.

"I learned a lot about stretching past my comfort zone; the first track I Know You’re Out There, I listened to the beat Marcus had created, and I wasn’t really feeling it, but Aisha and Marcus persuaded me to write for it, and two weeks later he played me the finished song, and I fell in love with it. It’s interesting how you can surprise yourself like that."

While working with Wickham Thomas and his studio producers and co-writers to craft an album that would combine the R&B sound that Beals grew up around with radio-friendly tracks and a touch of gospel on songs like Simple Life and Giving You All, Beals says his guiding light was the thought of friends, family and fans back on the East Coast.

Despite the urge to move forward on The Rebirth of . . ., that rebirth wouldn’t have been possible without the people and life experiences that shaped Beals as a performer in the first place.

"Throughout the whole process I was thinking about it," laughs Beals. "Even the reggae track, I was saying to Aisha, ‘I don’t know, maybe we should wait to release that one,’ because it’s so different and I don’t know how people are going to react.
"But the whole time I have the people back home in my mind, and how they’re going to receive the new songs, but sometimes you just have to step outside of the box and come up with something that’s still you, but also something that’s different.

"Nova Scotia has been very inspirational, I can’t put into words how supportive people there have been, and that’s why I was able to make this album, because they encouraged me to keep at it, no matter how hard it is or how hard it will be. This is my passion and they’ve shown me a tremendous amount of love and I’m truly grateful for that."

’I realized my destiny’s in my own hands, and I just need to believe in myself and do it, and have the right team in place.’ - Halifax Chronicle Herald (June 10, 2009)


"Almost famous, freshly excited (Toronto Star)"

Almost famous, freshly excited

Canadian Idol 's first runner-up found new
passion after a break

Jun 09, 2009 04:30 AM

ASHANTE INFANTRY
POP & JAZZ CRITIC

Five years between albums can be a career squasher for nascent pop musicians, but Canadian Idol runner-up Gary Beals's
absence couldn't be avoided.

"I lost the passion for music," explained the 26-year-old vocalist, who said he worked at regular jobs – call centre,
mutual funds – after wrapping the promotion and tour of his 2004 Juno-nominated debut. "I was frustrated (with the music industry)," said Beals. "I had no direction. Instead of me going back into it again kind of lost, I said `Let me just back up.'"
For several years, the Toronto-based Nova Scotia native, who honed his smooth, pliant pipes in church choirs, only sang in the congregation at Sunday services. Eventually, the singer, whose current full-time gig is desk job in the Ministry of Community and Social Services, concluded "I was blessed with a gift and I can't sit idle on it."

The Rebirth of ... is a primarily self-financed endeavour on Beals's label, Liberated Entertainment. With dashes of reggae and dance music, the disc, which fans of Ne-Yo and Usher will appreciate, is typical R&B – lots of begging and apologizing that the singer/songwriter says is and isn't autobiographical.

The album closes with "Giving You All," a straightforward gospel tune, but it's difficult to discern whether some other songs address spiritual or human love.

" I didn't want to be real specific, because I want everybody to be able to relate – if it's between you and God, or you and a girl, or you and a guy, or you and your mom," Beals said. The disc was recorded in Toronto over six months last year with five different producers, including Marcus Kane and Orin Isaacs, who worked on the singer's last record.

The strongest track is the Positivibes-produced "Excuse Me," which showcases his lush, layered vocals over a strings-bolstered groove sexy enough to give depth to potentially icky entreaties like "Did it hurt when you fell from heaven, angel?"

Asked about a standout track, Beals reacted like a parent reluctant to name a favourite child but cited "You Never Left," an ambiguous song of gratitude, among his highlights. "One of the reasons I did come back is people were always on me, encouraging me to reach toward my dreams. This song is dedicated to those supporters who showed me genuine love."

When the Star caught up with the entertainer last week he was on his way into rehearsals with a seven-piece band for tonight's show. The shoulder-length braids are gone, but the endearing manner that engaged 2003 Idol viewers remains.
He copped to being "nervous and really excited" about performing again but maintained, "I can still hit all the notes!" - Toronto Star (June 9, 2009)


Discography

Gary Beals - "The Rebirth Of..." (June 2009)
Radio singles: "I Know You're Out There", "Jump Off"

Gary Beals - self-titled debut album (summer 2004)
Radio singles: "Summer Nights", "I've Changed"

Photos

Bio

Recording artist Gary Beals is sharing his musical evolution with his fans! His latest effort, "The Rebirth Of…" truly lives up to its name, representing an impressive musical progression for Gary. "The Rebirth Of..." was released on Tuesday, June 9, 2009.

Gary is a Juno nominee, a five-time African Nova Scotian Music Award winner, Canadian Independent Music Award and East Coast Music Award winner, a Canadian Urban Music Award nominee , Canadian Radio Music Award nominee and a Planet Africa Rising Star recipient.

His successful debut, self-titled album debuted Top 10 in August 2004 and featured the hit single, “Summer Nights”. Gary earned a 2005 Juno nomination for R&B/Soul Recording of the Year, and a 2004 Canadian Urban Music Award nomination for New Artist of the Year.

"The Rebirth Of..." combines Gary’s soulful R&B gospel sound with layers of musical influences, including pop, reggae and hip hop and showcases a range of tracks that are smooth, inspirational and vibrant! The first single from the album, "I Know You’re Out There", is a high-energy dance floor track that can still be heard on radio stations across Canada, and the current single, "Jump Off", featuring Blessed is sure to be a hot summer jam.

Gary is back and better than ever!