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Daily Inspiration: Meet Jack Gaffney

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jack Gaffney.

Hi Jack, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today.
I am a composer, producer, pianist, singer-songwriter, teacher, and music theorist. I could never pick a single genre of music—in the last twenty years I’ve studied classical, rock, pop, jazz, and electronic music. I’ve even studied Balinese gamelan. My musical curiosity is unquenchable. I graduated from CU Boulder in 2020 with a Bachelor of Music, Composition. I now teach, study, collaborate, and write in a plethora of genres at my music studio in Nederland, CO.

My mentors include American composers Carter Pann and Daniel Kellogg, elite jazz keyboardists Erik Deutsch and Erwin Helfer, classical pianists Jennifer Hayghe and Peter Friesen, master vocal coaches Scott Martin and Cody Qualls, and renowned bluesmen Otis Taylor and Bob Margolin.

I began playing piano when I was four and singing/songwriting when I was eight. Back then I just wanted to be like Bono from U2. Writing little songs about crushes with extended piano intros. In the following years, as my family went through some hardships, I learned how to express my feelings through music: harnessing emotion and turning it into art. In middle school, I released two singer-songwriter EP and performed at dozens of open mics.

From 2013-2019, I busked on the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, CO hundreds of times—perfecting my craft as an entertainer. At CU Boulder I studied classical composition, theory, piano, and choir. I had eight compositions premiered at the Pendulum New Music concert series. I spent my second-to-last semester abroad at the University of Sydney, Australia, where I studied composition and advanced theory courses, premiered original music, and performed in choral and gamelan ensembles.

Since graduating from CU, I have been laser-focused on jazz piano and music production—further expanding my skillset as I create music that sits somewhere between indie rock, dubstep, and symphonic genres. I’m always working on new music and have many releases on the horizon.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I spent most of 2021 unable to play piano with severe thumb tendonitis. I could barely use my hands for months without pain. After lots of bad advice from different physical therapists, I finally found a therapist who was able to cure my hands. Mainly through avoiding certain activities and hot/cold contrast baths. It was a long road, but I am back to playing hours on the piano a day!

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I specialize in piano performance and music composition, especially in regard to fusing different genres. I’m known for my ability to improvise and for my robust understanding of music theory. I’m most proud of my new singer-songwriter EP, ‘Empath’, set for release this fall.

Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years?
In the next 5-10 years I plan to collide electronic and classical genres. Think of symphonic music in the dance hall. I’m not the only one interested in this mash-up. There’s a rising movement of classical performers in the EDM scene, and I intend to be front and center come time.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Sal DeVincenzo and Scott Rowland

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