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Jerry Velona

Jerry Velona

Jerry Velona

How did this new album and overall concept for it come about, and what are your ultimate goals with it?

Most of what I’ve done up to this point musically has been on the rock, blues and soul side. When people ask me what kind of music I play and write, I generally just say “American music.” I attended Berklee College of Music and also was raised in a family of jazz musicians and jazz lovers. I’ve played drums and sung with jazz groups so I’ve always been influenced by jazz and am familiar with the musical language.

As a writer, I generally associate certain feelings and concepts with a particular musical style. So when I came up with the songs Dream Girl and Wishful Intuition, the musical style just flowed naturally from the ideas. Not sure I could tell you why but that’s just how it works with me.
Although I don’t really consider myself a “smooth jazz artist” insofar as I write and perform in many different styles, I’m hoping that those who like that style of music might become aware of me through these particular songs. It all flows from the same source!

How would you describe what inspires you to do what you do?

Physical beauty; symmetry; the wonders of nature; perseverance, struggle and sacrifice toward an ultimate goal; the search for truth and the freedom and potential of the human spirit are all very inspiring to me and supply most of the raw material for my creative efforts in music and otherwise.

At what point in your life did you make the decision to become a professional musician and actually record your own albums?

At the age of seven I began studying the violin with my grandfather who emigrated from Italy when he was fourteen and became an accomplished musician. I also studied piano with my grandmother who played very well as an amateur. Just about everyone in my family played an instrument; many professionally at a high level. Later I took up drums and guitar and voice. I was playing in bands when I was 12 years old. It really never occurred to me that I would do anything else besides play music! My first CD with original compositions was released in 1994. Dream Girl is my fifth release.

Outside of your musical career, what else in your life gets you excited and fulfilled?

I love sports and fitness activities and reading. I grew up in New Jersey and New York but have lived in Boston most of my adult life so I’ve become a huge fan of the Red Sox, Celtics and Patriots. Needless to say this doesn’t please many of my New York and New Jersey family and friends! I love going to the gym, riding my bike and body surfing at the beach. California has become sort of a second home to me which satisfies my lust for the ocean. I also have an ownership interest in a company that makes and prints envelopes where I do most of the sales and marketing which I find very enjoyable. Last but not least I have a beautiful family and love spending time with all of them.

If you were magically allowed to spend an hour with whomever you chose in history… alive or dead… and really be able to get inside their head, who would that be?

I’m a huge admirer of Benjamin Franklin. I’ve read biographies of him and the range of his interests and accomplishments is just astounding. He was a scientist, philosopher, tradesman (in the printing industry which is maybe part of why I identify with him), newspaperman, statesman, diplomat, the main founder of the US postal system and, oh, by the way, one of the Founding Fathers of America. He was beyond brilliant but his intellect was always grounded in simple, practical truths and common sense. He was an amazing guy. An hour wouldn’t be enough but I’d take it!

What are some of the most interesting things you’ve done musically?

I’ve done some studio work mostly as a vocalist and I’ve always enjoyed working on other people’s projects and trying to come up with something creative that works for them.

I recorded a deliberately cheesy commercial jingle for “The Lotto Line” which was a parody of the tune 634-5789 and it was run for many years on TV and radio all over New England and achieved the level of a local cult classic. I sung the theme song for an independent film entitled “Lifestyles of the Poor and Unknown”. I often joke that it was the story of my life! Once I provided a voice for a musical theater production put together by a fundamentalist Christian minister which was an evolution versus creation debate. You never know what your next studio call will be!

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