Larry gEE has found his voice again. The acclaimed singer-songwriter has been a staple of the Dallas music scene for nearly a decade, and he has two Dallas Observer Music Awards to show for it. Fans may know him best for his fun-loving, party-ready soul-funk anthems, but his new EP, “Love Things” is a departure from anything gEE has done previously--and that’s by design. “This is the kind of music I want to make,” he says. His artistic and personal journey led him to this new sound: right where he’s supposed to be.
Larry grew up in a strict religious household in Abilene, Texas. His family supported his interest in music--but only if it was confined to the church. Nevertheless, he found ways to pursue his love of the art that has defined much of his life. “Michael Jackson was the one,” he says, thinking back on his upbringing and the artist who, alongside Earth, Wind and Fire and New Edition, influenced him the most. “Watching him moonwalk--that sealed the deal for me. I knew I wanted to be on stage one day.”
He would get his first big taste of performing in college at the Christian-based Southwestern Adventist University. He won the college talent show as a freshman, but the real prize was the rush he felt--and the affirmation that gave him.
“I loved the energy I got from performing. It was a complete high. I’ve always felt like I had something I wanted to share, and that was it--I shared it with a large group for the first time.”
Larry bounced around for a while after college before landing in Dallas. While working at a clothing store, he performed at open mic nights, in coffee shops and virtually anywhere, any time he could. That led to a gig with the band Odis--a group Larry with which he honed his craft for a few years, touring the country on a run that included a stop at Edgefest. When the band broke up in 2010, Larry started pursuing a career as a solo artist. What started with nothing but a laptop and GarageBand resulted in a collaboration with a crew of rising Lone Star luminaries.
He released his first EP Weekends in 2011, with the help of producer Beau Bedford and many other gents who would go on to form the Texas Gentleman. That landed him on Jimmy Kimmel Live! a year later, and Larry had his first taste of solo success.
Over the course of the next five years, he experienced the high peaks and low valleys that come with life as an independent artist. Personal and professional challenges--including disagreements with labels and his father’s illness--all threatened to permanently derail his career. But rather than fold under the pressure, Larry rose to the occasion--and used those challenges as fuel.
His new, EP, "Love Things", produced by Esteban Flores of the band Feeves, is a melting of pop, soul and R&B that touches on love, his battle with depression and topics that gEE has yet to cover in previous songs. It also features collabs with some of Dallas’ most talented stars, Sam Lao and LEV. But above all else, it's a sign that the West Texas-bred soulster is capable of even more than we thought possible.
“These songs are a new direction; a way for me to just be me.” It’s Larry gEE like we’ve never seen him before--and he’s just getting started.
Jimmy Kimmel Live!
SXSW Music Festival
Vans Warped Tour
Center of the Universe Music Festival
Larry gEE has shared with stage with Imagine DRagons, G-Eazy, David Guetta, Erykah Badu, P. Diddy, Leon Bridges, Alabama Shakes, Ghostland Observatory, Washed Out, OneRepublic, and many more.
Emerging Artist: Red Bull Sound
Best R&B/Funk Act (x2): Dallas Observer Music Awards ‘13 & ‘14
Photo: Karlo X. Ramos