January 30, 2017

Center Stage - Brooks MaGuire

Meet Brooks MaGuire, our latest Center Stage artist and the Grand Prize winner of the 2016 Holiday Song Contest! 

Brooks Maguire breathes new life into Americana music by summoning his Gulf Coast roots with that southern touch of gospel, rock, blues and country and possesses the versatility to perform a wide variety of music genres. Born/raised in Texas, Louisiana into a family heritage of singing gospel in church combine with 30 years of living/ performing in Hawaii, Brooks weaves together their histories into his uplifting music that exudes his spirit of optimism, hope, and faith born out of a life of overcoming life’s most difficult circumstances and challenges! Brooks says, “It’s my utmost desire to touch the hearts and lives of my audience through well-crafted songs that offer a message of faith and encouragement to “press on” in the face of what life “throws” at you!” Drawing inspiration to write/perform from listening to the music of Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, J.D. Souther, Eagles, Little Feat and a myriad of Texas singer/songwriters, Brooks began honing his craft early in his career in Austin TX. Traveling throughout Texas/Louisiana, his audience grew as he showcased his versatility and engaging style both as a solo performer and as a frontman of his band. Relocating to Maui in late ’87, Brooks rapidly became a featured performer on Maui's world renowned Front Street in the heart of historic Lahaina town and was soon performing throughout the Hawaiian islands.

Having independently released two CDs, "Dream Of A Girl" (1994) and "Pieces Of A Dream" (1999), Brooks signed a record deal with A.C.T Music Group - Nashville in 2013. His first Nashville recording, "The Road I Never Chose" debuted in 2014 and Brooks’ newest Nashville recording, "Comeback King", released in May 2016, were both co- written with Joe Beck and produced by Joe Beck/Jim Frazier. Joe Beck, a veteran Nashville singer/songwriter/producer/record executive, amassed over 65 hit songs, over 780 cuts by major artists in Adult Contemporary, Rock, Country, Inspirational, Southern Gospel and Black Gospel markets garnering both prestigious Grammy and Dove Awards during his 40 year career!

Brooks’ Nashville releases showcase collaborations with a roster of legendary and iconic songwriters and musicians including Pop icon/guitar virtuoso, Phil Keaggy, Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section member/former Bonnie Raitt guitarist - Will McFarlane. Brooks co-wrote with legendary multi-platinum songwriter, Bill Shore (wrote Garth Brooks' hit single, "Wild Horses") The incredible rhythm section consists of “A-list” Nashville session/touring musicians Duncan Mullins - bass, Steve Brewster - drums, Gordon Mote - piano. The amazing backup/harmony vocals of Drea Rhenee', Wendy Moten and Debi Selby contribute to the overall excellence of Brooks Maguire's Nashville projects! 

What was the inspiration behind writing and recording your song "Surfin' with Santa"?
In October 2015 while I was in Nashville recording my latest release, "Comeback King", I got word that a friend of mine in Maui was coproducing a feature-length Christmas movie titled "Aloha Santa” that was to begin shooting on location in Maui within a couple of weeks. I called him to ask him what the basic storyline of the movie would be and ask if I could submit something to be considered in the soundtrack of the movie. Within a couple of days, my friends Billy Sprague and my producer Joe Beck and I put together "Surfin' with Santa and cut the tracks on the spot. Though the movie project has been put on hiatus, "Surfing with Santa" was added to my CD as a bonus track.

Describe your sound in one ramble on sentence.
My "sound" would best be described as an amalgam of rock, blues, country, gospel, and rhythm and blues infused with heartfelt passion and emotion delivered to touch the hearts and lives of the listener at a visceral soul level.

What's your earliest music related memory growing up?
I think my earliest musical memories would definitely be centered around my family singing in church. Everyone on my mom's side of the family sings and the fact that her dad
(my grandfather) was a pastor, much of my musical background is rooted in gospel music and singing in church. It was in this environment that my mom taught my sisters and I how to sing three-part harmony. I also have many fond memories of my mom singing around the house as she went through her daily tasks. I find myself doing the same thing now as I go throughout my day.

If you were to cover another band's/artist album, which would you pick and why?
The unequivocal choice would be Jackson Browne's iconic breakthrough album, "Late for the Sky". It was this album and particularly the song, "Fountain of Sorrow” that first inspired me to pick up a guitar and teach myself to play in order to become a singer songwriter. Start to finish, every song on the album touches me deeply and speaks to me even after all these years. The depth and eloquence of Jackson Browne’s lyrics evoke a deep emotional response that I aspire to achieve in my own writing.

Do you write/composure own songs? Briefly describe your songwriting process
I do write and compose my own material both individually as well as in collaboration with other artists/writers. The process, for me, either begins with a lyrical idea, thematic concept or a musical idea generated by experimenting with chord changes and rhythms on my guitar. Usually a thought or idea generates a phrase in my mind, then I will usually take it and build around or expand on that idea. It can be anything as simple as something said by someone in a conversation I’ve had or overheard. It can also be a description of a circumstance or an experience that I have had. Usually, the lyrical subject matter will dictate the style, tone and tempo of the music that will then support the feeling or emotion of whatever the lyrical idea is trying to portray. In more recent years, I have enjoyed collaborating with others because it expands the possibilities of saying something in ways that I might not come up with on my own. Obviously, others can have a different take on a subject or idea that expands the possibilities of what and how an idea can be expressed.

What was the highlight of 2016, either for you personally or for your music career?
What was the low point?
Clearly, the highlight of 2016 for me was the release of my second Nashville CD, "Comeback King". It is my second Nashville release, co-written with Joe Beck, Phil Keaggy and
other iconic Nashville songwriters, produced by Joe Beck and Jim Frazier and recorded with the legendary Keaggy and the iconic Muscle Shoals guitarist, Will McFarlane.

The low point of 2016, no doubt, was the personal loss of my hero, my stepfather, Dr. Loren Rohr days before his 97th birthday.

Can you give us a little hint on what to come in 2017?In 2017, I hope to expand my audience through performances in house concerts as well as public venues throughout the U.S. as well as continue to perform here in Maui! It is also my desire to get back to Nashville before the year is out to begin work on my next recording.

What do you like more: performing live or recording in the studio?
When it comes to performing live or recording in the studio, I'm not sure that I can pick one over the other. I love them both and they are very different forms of creativity and enjoyment. Performing live, fueled by my love of interacting with people, provides instant gratification and feedback by connecting through interaction with the audience. The joy of creating something out of nothing, experimenting with different instrumentation and arrangements that recording in the studio provides, creates a different type of personal enjoyment and satisfaction born out of a team effort of the musicians, vocalists, writers and producers. I enjoy both performing live and recording in the studio equally but for different reasons.

Any embarrassing onstage moments you'd like to share? Come on don't be shy!
Fortunately, I don't have any extraordinary stories of embarrassment on stage other than forgetting words at exactly the wrong time but it does provide a unique opportunity to see just how creative I am to write lyrics on the spot!

What's one thing people should know about you?
One of the main things I would want people to recognize about me and my music, is that it's not about stardom or glorifying myself but more about my desire to touch people's hearts and make a difference in people's lives. By sharing a positive message in music that uplifts and encourages, it’s my desire to give people hope and the determination to "press on" in face of life's challenges.

What do you enjoy doing outside of Music? Does your hobby rejuvenate your creativity?Being a water person, I enjoy spending time in the amazing beauty of Maui, whether it be surfing as well as long distance open water swimming with a group of friends known as “The Mermaids and Mermen”. The highest form of enjoyment is just being with my 16-year-old daughter and my 13-year-old son, both of whom are incredible people. Spending time with friends and sharing a meal with them is right up there at the top of my list.

What do you like most about Radio Airplay?
The fact that Radio Airplay has an international audience and can be accessed so readily by anyone anywhere, and it provides a mechanism for the listener and independent artist to connect, makes it most appealing to me. I'm truly grateful and honored for the opportunity that Radio Airplay has given me to expand the reach of the music that I have created. 

Land Of Regrets