Bryan Frates may live in the Cottonwood Heights area, but he spent his youth in New England building his singer-songwriter chops.
Born in Vermont, Frates attended a New Hampshire prep school, where he began playing the guitar and writing lyrics, eventually singing in a high-school band.
While attending Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, he played solo shows around campus and joined a hip-hop group called High Flow, singing hooks and verses for the Boston-based group.
Today the 28-year-old — a program coordinator for Utah Lacrosse Association — says his unique style stems from his love for folk, country, R&B, hip-hop, pop and jazz. His influences include Amos Lee and Brandi Carlile.
He answered questions about his inspirations, living in Utah and his idea of a perfect day.
What inspires you?
I am very inspired by my family and friends. They are what drive me to be the best I can. I also become extremely inspired after attending a great live show. After watching somebody like Martin Sexton or a band like the Zac Brown Band, I am always inspired to write new songs.
When did you start making music?
I first started writing music when I was a junior in high school. I was asked to sing a song called "Plush" by the Stone Temple Pilots at a school concert and I said "Yes," figuring I would wiggle my way out of it before the day of the concert. I was not able to do that, [but] we got an amazing reaction from the crowd. That was the first time I knew that music was what I wanted to pursue. Soon after that, the guys in the group asked me if I wanted to be the lead singer in their band, and we started writing songs for our first-ever album.
Why do you continue making music?
First, I love making people smile and have a good time. If people are enjoying themselves during one of my shows, it is the best feeling in the world. Second, it is a great way to express yourself and to put this crazy world aside for a second and let everything out. Anytime I have a bad day, I just grab my guitar and belt out some of my favorite songs and everything seems better. Finally, I believe I was given a gift that not too many people were given. My voice is what drives my music and I want to utilize this gift and not let any opportunity pass me by.
Do you have a day job?
I work at the Utah Lacrosse Association in Sandy. We are the local chapter of U.S. Lacrosse, the governing body of lacrosse in the U.S. We oversee all of lacrosse in Utah and make sure that it is growing in a healthy and safe way. I am the boys program coordinator, so I oversee all of the youth, high-school and men players. Lacrosse is a great game and if you are reading this and you have never heard of it, do some research — you will get hooked.
Where do you see yourself in five and 15 years?
In five years, I would love to be touring around the world and extensively in the U.S. I would love to be driving from city to city in a tour bus with a killer band backing me up, making people dance and smile. In 15 years, I hope my touring career was successful enough to help mentor young artists that are chasing the same dream that I am chasing today. It is hard to find a good mentor, and I feel like a good mentor in this business is critical to one’s success in music and entertainment.
Talk about your first album.
My first album, "From the Ground Up," was released on Sept. 22. I have been wanting to release my own album for probably eight to 10 years now, and I finally got that chance. I love driving from place to place listening to Amos Lee, James Taylor, James Morrison and singing along. I wanted my album to be a CD that people could listen to again and again because they love belting out the melodies. I have a very wide range of music influences including country, hip-hop and folk music, and I think this album has all of that intertwined into my own original creation. Steve Phillips at Full Fidelity records is a genius producer and has helped me create a sound that I am very proud of. The album has me on rhythm guitar and vocals, and many of the songs have been mixed and mastered with electric guitar, bass, drums and keys to make a huge-sounding masterpiece.
Describe a perfect day.
Getting together with my entire family and all of my best friends on a sunny summer day and putting on a live performance, followed by a performance from Jason Mraz, Amos Lee, Martin Sexton, James Taylor, Eric Hutchinson and Zac Brown. The night would finish with me sitting in and jamming with all of the musicians above. Man, what a dream.
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