If you’re looking for the perfect music to relax to with a glass of wine in your hand, Irish violinist Gregory Harrington may be the thing you’re looking for. On June 7th, Harrington released his album Without You featuring covers of “Hallelujah” to “With or Without You”, all of which he “had something personal to say in them and that I felt a really great connection with.” If you’re looking for another way to appreciate your favorite songs with a different take or, perhaps, need to venture in a completely new genre of music in general, we recommend Without You.
Continue on to read our interview with Harrington to learn more about his album and his future goals.
The Young Folks: For our readers hearing about you for the first time, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Gregory Harrington: Hi guys, thank you so much for having me. Well, I was born in Dublin, Ireland and I moved over to New York about 20 years ago and I am a rugby loving, tennis-loving, wine enthusiast who adores playing the violin, communicating and performing music on stage in front of others.
TYF: What do you think you’d be doing if you didn’t pursue a career as a violinist?
GH: I probably would have stayed living in Dublin and continued a career in Finance.
TYF: Where do you find your musical inspiration?
GH: I find musical inspiration when I try and push the edge of musical possibilities to see what happens. At times, when I am creating something new, I start with the base idea of what is considered not possible or can’t be done and it can migrate from there. If nothing else, it gives you a creative edge and a vision that you might not have thought of before. Without doubt, I find inspiration most definitely when I am on stage and in the moment. Sometimes the most creative ideas flow from that because of the interaction with the audience.
TYF: What do you do to get out of any creative funk you may have?
GH: I think the easiest thing to do is try and find a way to reset whenever you’re going through a funk and realize it early enough. I always have about 10 or so different projects going on at the same time so if after 25 minutes I’m not getting something done, I switch to another one that I’ll feel better about and in a more creative the mood to take a bite at it. So at least I’m being productive and progressing something! Eventually, you will find the flow again!
TYF: Tell us a little bit about your album that was released last Friday. What was the process like for putting it together?
GH: It’s a beautiful album of 11 standards and love songs re-imagined for violin and it’s dedicated to my dad who is the inspiration behind a lot of my musical choices. It’s that Miles Davis sound of jazz quartet with violin as a lead instrument along with piano, bass, and drums. In terms of selecting the repertoire, I started out with pieces and standards that I loved from Frank Sinatra to Michale Buble and from Ella Fitzgerald to Duke Ellington and went from there. We came up with a final list about 30 songs ranging from “At Last” to “With or Without You” and we then narrowed it down to and recorded about 18 of which 11 of those made the final cut.
TYF: How did you go about deciding what songs (U2, Norah Jones, etc) you’ll be recreating in your own way? Were there any songs that almost made the cut?
GH: I think I chose songs that I had something personal to say in them and that I felt a really great connection with. There were some songs that I loved the final recording but it just wasn’t the right fit – two that come to mind, in particular, were “At Last” and “Became Mucho”. Almost made it!
TYF: What do you hope your fans will take away from the album after listening?
GH: The feeling that this is something that they have never heard in this manner before and it sounds incredibly beautiful on the violin in a way that they’ve never imagined it. If I get that, then that’s the first step in word of mouth spreading bit by bit. Just a sense of organic growth and an album someone wants to come back to hear again.
TYF: You’ve already accomplished so much but what more would you like to achieve in the next few years or so?
GH: I think simply just to get my music out to more and more people, to collaborate with some incredible musicians, record a few movie scores and a few more albums, and just have some amazing musical experiences along the way and stories to tell.