(PHOTO: Greg Lee played to a crowd of friends, family and fans at Gaia Java on April 21.)
MARIE TOOK A FIVE DOLLAR BILL OUT OF HER WALLET and with a wide smile dropped it in the large round mason jar with a black sign that says “support the artist.”
Of course, she wasn’t just supporting the artist who was playing at Gaia Java on a Friday night last month. She was supporting her son – Greg Lee, 17, who was playing to a house of friends, family and a few strangers who walked in to hear the sweet chords emanating from his acoustic guitar.
Lee played dozens of songs, ranging from the old (Classical Gas) to the familiar (Viva La Vida) to what he said was a bit overplayed (Closer) – all of them memorized and played by ear. He’s been playing the guitar for six years and has a memorized repertoire of about 60 songs.
“I started with video tutorials,” he said. “What I would do is repeat parts of the song… repetition really helped.”
Lee lives in Kanata but says Stittsville’s Gaia Java is the only place he’s able to get regular gigs outside of his high school. “It’s huge,” he said. “I’m hoping this will kick off my career.”
During the show, which started at 7 p.m. and wrapped up just after nine, he takes a few requests. His friend Mark requests Wonderwall – several times. It’s a joke between the two and Lee declines to play it that night.
“It’s kind of the stereotypical guitar song,” he said. “It’s also very overplayed.”
Lee likes the acoustic guitar because he doesn’t have to rely on cables, speakers and amps. As well, he enjoys slapping the body of the instrument to add to the music.
“I think it makes me a little unique,” he said. “Sometimes I find that adding thumps allows me to keep time (as well).”
Lee attends Earl of March and hopes to study criminology with a minor in music. Hopefully his music career will take off, he said.
“(But) I gotta start writing originals.”
(Gaia Java hosts music nights most Friday evenings, and they often feature young musicians from our area. You can find event listings on their Facebook page.)