My RI Life: Singer & Songwriter Greg Lato
Maybe you know our friend Greg Lato? He's written songs for a laundry list of films and tv shows. You're probably sung along to one (or more) of his songs, without realizing it. He also writes for himself and other local and national recording artists. Motif magazine has called him 'Rhode Island's next great pop recording artist'. And he even founded this weekend's Southern New England Music Expo (at the Crowne Plaza) in Warwick, RI. So, move over Adam Levine (Yeah, we went there.) because here's an inside look at Greg and his 'fabulous RI life'.
Food And Restaurants
Coffee Shops: Any Brewed Awakenings is a great place to have coffee and dessert, but I prefer the Wakefield one. Java Madness also in Wakefield is a cool, hidden spot by the water, and Pastiche on Federal Hill is an old favorite.
Ice Cream: A summer indulgence for many, myself included, is Brickley’s in Narragansett. It is the best!
Date Night: Trio and Spain (Try the twin lobsters!) in Narragansett are two of my favorites. After a fantastic meal at either of these places, you are conveniently close to Narragansett Beach for a nice evening walk along the wall.
For Kids: Having a one year old, I am getting to know some excellent kid friendly spots for a meal, including The Barking Crab in Newport, Filippou’s Twisted Pizza on Main St. in East Greenwich and T’s in Narragansett.
Shopping And Style
Signatures: My spring/summer go-to outfits usually include jeans (from Express, Banana Republic or American Eagle) or shorts (from Banana Republic or J.Crew) with a polo shirt, t-shirt or buttoned up long sleeved shirt (Never tucked in!) from those same stores. For shoes, it's Aldo, Converse, Vans or Abercrombie sandals.
Favorite RI Record Store: In Your Ear in Warren has a great collection and gives you an authentic feel of being in an independent record store. Part of that record store experience is having someone there who knows music and can answer your questions. The owner Chris really provides that full experience for you.
Advice for Aspiring Artists and Musicians:
1. Be Familiar Yet Unique
You have to stand out but also be comparable. Be original but don't confuse people.
Find creative ways to get yourself out there, whether it be original concepts for music videos, how you look, mixing genres, etc...but you want to be able to give a cross of artists that you sound like.
2. Learn How To See Yourself From The Outside In
Knowing how others perceive you is very important. For example, just because you can sing/perform a certain style doesn't mean you should. It may not be a good fit for you as seen by others, and that is not easily seen by the artists themselves.
3. Don’t Get Discouraged by Rejection
Remember that this is normal and it has happened to everyone, even the best of all time. Most of this business is one person's opinion at a time so keep going until eventually it becomes the right person. And, generally for every 100 no's you'll get a yes.
4. Develop Your Craft
You are either born to sing or not. It’s not something you can learn from the ground up.
But if something is there, work on it to make it better...take lessons, and/or rehearse constantly! If you’re a songwriter, work on writing great songs. This may seem obvious, but is the most critical part of being a successful artist. Without great songs nothing else matters!
5. Think Outside The Song: Explore Other Avenues For Your Songs (TV/Film, Other Artists Placement)
You need to find whatever means possible to get your songs heard. Don't be opposed to your songs being placed in instrumental form, or a piece if it being placed in a commercial, TV show or film. Artists need to get away from the mentality that they are the only ones who can or should perform their songs, gaining a cut on a major artist’s record could fund and shed light on your own artist career!
This weekend (on Sunday, May 3rd) find Greg at The Southern New England Music Expo (which, again, he founded) at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick.
The Expo features:
- Hit songwriter moderated workshops and a keynote panel featuring music executives from Coca-Cola, Music Dealers and The Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music. (See photos above of Greg promoting The Expo on local radio.)
- Guest speakers and celebrity meet and greet/book signings, including a special presentation by Ken Caillat, Grammy winning producer of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’ and signing of his book ‘Making Rumours’. (See photo above of Ken Caillat, with his daughter, singer Cobie Caillat.)
- Resources for musicians including artist development, publicity, graphic design, instruction, equipment, booking and more.
- Used vinyl and other music memorabilia for sale.
For more info, go to www.snemusicexpo.com.
Btw, Greg is on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Soundcloud. Follow him.
Photo Credits: All photos courtesy of Greg Lato