Submitted by andrewmriv on Thu, 02/27/2014 - 00:00

When I was in high school, my dream was to be in a rock band. I had been writing terrible little songs all throughout high school during my classes and dreamt of being the lead singer of a band. In 2010, I finally had my dreams come true when I started Game-21 with my friend Chris Ray.


My first band was Game-21 and it started in 2010 and ended in 2012 when my drummer and fellow founding member Chris Ray left the band.

This band was a load of fun because it was my gateway to being an actual musician. In this band, I was able to play with a group of people that also loved to play music, have a photo shoot, get on stage like I had dreamed, meet so many new friends, and more.

The down sides to Game-21 were the little bits of drama here and there and I had to get used to “haters.” You can’t please everyone. While it was and we definitely did get a lot of support, it was a bit tough adjusting to the criticism at first.

Eventually it all got better and we were rehearsing more often and could practically play our songs in our sleep.

The band only ended when Chris went to college.

So Far Away

My good friend Bryan Anilao and I still wanted to play music together so we started So Far away and recruited friends Omar Lopez and Ian Galindo. This band was also a load of fun. Omar and Ian were in another local band called Daily Drive before joining up with Bryan and I, so the four of us already had a bit of experience coming into this band.

We were able to learn from our previous mistakes in other bands and this band turned into something great.

Ian left the band eventually and from then on it didn’t quite feel right. I couldn’t get into the music without him. We played with a few other drummers that we are really good friends with but it was never quite the same and I had lost all interest and passion for being in a band so I decide to quit.

Freedom and Confidence

I love playing music still wished to do so but was not confident enough to go solo. I felt that I needed the band behind me in order to be successful. Selling presale tickets to shows isn’t always easy but it is definitely easier with the help of band members. I just could not imagine myself playing acoustically.

After a lot of thinking, it hit me that I had learned a lot from the bands and had enough confidence to go about playing as a solo artist. I will always miss playing with my friends but I am curious about starting this next chapter as a solo artist.

Different Approach to Songwriting

As a musician, my main instrument is my voice. I have been singing since I was a little kid and I spent an extensive amount of time exploring my voice and all of its registers and connecting it all into on voice.

I also learned how to play the guitar but I never really explored it beyond playing chords and catchy riffs. I would never be able to play lead guitar unless the band was a complete joke.

Both of my bands that I was in were very guitar-driven. I was the main composer of both bands and wrote guitar-based songs because my favorite bands that influenced me (blink-182, Sum 41, All Time Low, Green Day, etc) all were that way.

In my time as a musician in a local band, I found that my greater strengths in songwriting were in writing catchy melodies and heartfelt lyrics. Writing guitar parts didn’t come as naturally.

Rather than trying to sound just like my favorite bands, I am attempting to do what feels most naturally to me. I am going to be writing songs centered on vocals with simple acoustic guitar to accent that. I am not a guitarist. I am a singer. The guitar is a tool I use for songwriting.

I am very excited to finally be getting my solo music act together and I hope that it will be as fun as I expect it to be.