The Artistic Wisdom of Christian Vegh

The Artistic Wisdom of Christian Vegh

By Tom McDonough

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A young guitar prodigy with an old soul, “type of young artist that will shape Canadian music for the next 50 years,” and the “hottest young guitar player in the nation.” These are just a few of the ways native Detroiter, Christian Vegh, is described. Vegh is a graduate of the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston and has been awarded the American Federation of Musicians “Charles McDaniel Award” for Diversity, Creativity, Innovation & Excellence in Music.  He received scholarships from the Berklee College of Music, Long McQuade and the Generation Blues Scholarship from the Blues Society of Memphis. Vegh was also named to the “Brotherhood of the Guitar” which recognizes the top 16 guitarists internationally and is sponsored by Ernie Ball and Guitar Center.

After his numerous accolades and two albums, Vegh released his third album “Portraits of Sentiment” just weeks before the pandemic hit, cancelling any launch parties or tours. The first two songs off the new album released by Mi5 Recordings-Universal Music Group has done well. The song “90’s Movie” charted for 13 weeks hitting #26 on the DRT Global Rock Charts and he charted 9 weeks with “I Think I’m Gonna Die Young” hitting #13 so far. He also reached #99 of DRT Global Top 150 Independent Airplay Charts. Vegh has reached the #4 Ranking on ReverbNation with over 320,000 fans and has had over 3 million views on some of his YouTube original & cover videos. Since the release, Christian patiently waits to greet his fans and play in front of a crowd again.

Original Rock Song – I Think I’m Gonna Die Young
Released by Universal charted #13 DRT Global Charts

In this edition of Music Player Magazine, we had a chance to catch up with this talented young artist for an interview and learn more about his music journey and how he is adjusting to changes in the music industry.

Music Player Magazine (MPM)
You are known as a guitar prodigy you start playing extremely young?

Christian Vegh (Vegh)
No, a prodigy can play very young around 3 to 5 years old I didn’t even have a guitar until grade 6 and only played for about 30 minutes at my weekly lesson. In grade 9 when I went on stage I got more serious and started to practice all the time. There may be some innate propensity for music in my genes as we have composers Schubert and Sandor Vegh in our family line but I think I just had great teachers and worked really hard, it’s like they say you have to put in 10,000 hours to master something.

MPM
How did you get started, what were your early gigs or favorite gigs?

Vegh
My first performance was at Lucky’s Bar, at 15 with my guitar teacher Pete Palazzalo. I wasn’t supposed to perform but he called me up and when I walked off the stage I told my parents that this was what I was going to do for a living. My first band gig was Long & McQuade “Battle of the Bands” we put a band together practiced 2 weeks and we won thousands of dollars in gear. When we played at Lucky’s a promotor saw us and booked us on a napkin for $400 to open for Sonny Rhodes Induction into the Canada South Blues Hall of Fame. So we started off really lucky with paid gigs playing at huge festivals. I have been fortunate to play at over 300 Festivals-Events some favorites are Hart Plaza (Detroit), NAMM (California), BB Kings (Nashville), The Hughes Room (Toronto), Windsor Bluesfest, Berklee Performance Center (Boston), Music Messe (Germany)…

MPM
Who have you shared the stage with or worked with?

Vegh
I’ve shared the stage with Steve Vai, Victor Wooten, and Robben Ford to name a few. I was very grateful for these opportunities to play with some of my heroes. I also got to record with Tony Franklin (The Firm), Gregg Bissonette (Ringo Star), Matt Bissonette (Elton John), Greg D’Angelo (White Lion) and was lucky to work with producers like Jack Endino (Nirvana/Sound Garden) and Stacey Heydon (David Bowie) Warren Huart (Aerosmith) and Marty Bak (The Tea Party) and Glenn Fricker (Spectre Media)

MPM
How important is it to build a fan base?

Vegh
It’s very important to have a fan base; I’m trying to build mine by increasing my social media presence and add more merch to the site. We just made facemasks which we are sending to our best fans and giving away in contests. In terms of how specific the demographic is, I am unsure of how to focus on one particular group of people. I feel that if I write music to capture the attention of one group, I may neglect the fact that music is for everyone. My favorite fan memory would be having my friends from high school come to Long & McQuade “Battle of the Bands”, I felt like they gave me the strength and courage I needed to win we were the youngest 12-15 years old and we played some Joe Bonamassa songs that were pretty tough.  I am lucky I have some really loyal fans that haven’t missed a local performance since I started and I have had amazing media support over the years.

MPM
What was it like to graduate from one of the most prestigious music schools, The Berklee College of Music?

Vegh
Berklee was a fantastic school, I learned an incredible amount about music. my favorite
professors are Jimmy Kachulis, Pat Pattison, Laurie Monahan, and Alan Levines.
I think what it helped me with the most was it gave me the ability to control all aspects of music and it also gave me the tools to learn new things independently. I met a lot of great music contacts there that will cross paths for a lifetime.

MPM
What makes a great artist and what makes a great song?

Vegh
A great artist has the ability to bring all the aspects of their character into their art.  What makes a great song is a tough question, I would say great songs make people feel things. They can convey a story or an emotion and make people want to come back to it.

MPM
What is your favorite gear, I see you have a signature guitar by King Blossom Guitars, The Christian Vegh “Windsor CV Guitar?”

Vegh
I love my sponsors and I am so lucky to have them. I only partner with them if I love their quality and performance, Thermion makes incredible amps and I am so honored to have a signature guitar by King Blossom Guitars designed with master luthier, Jeff Figley. I also like PRS guitars, I think they can really cover a lot of ground and Two Rock amps, they are extremely responsive.

MPM
What is your music genre, on your website media I saw you put out a Pop-Rock album but I also see that you were the top shredder representing the United States in a video from the Netherlands, teaching Blues in Schools in a video from Canada, featured at “Metal Event” at the Berklee Performance Center, winning Jazz awards in New York, performing with the Symphony and charting #13 on the Rock Charts?

Vegh
Right now, my overall sound fits best in the realm of rock and pop-rock. I think as I grow
artistically, my music might breakthrough certain restraints of genres. To me, genres only distinguish themselves with timbral, rhythmical, and lyrical differences, other than that – music is all using the same harmony and concepts.

MPM
What got you interested in music and what are some of your music influences?

Vegh
I wanted a guitar for Christmas in 2009 after watching the movie School of Rock. Jack Black was my inspiration to start playing the guitar, I’ve since had many other great mentors and inspirations. My musical influences have grown and changed over the years, the first big influence was the Guns and Roses, I loved the aura Slash had, he was immediately recognizable and had a distinct guitar tone. I then really became a fan of Pink Floyd and David Gilmour. However Joe Bonamassa was probably the most inspirational as I really practiced hard after listing to his music. At this moment of my journey I find myself listening to classical composers like Igor Stravinsky, he is the most important contemporary composer of all time, Stravinsky was renowned for breaking the artistic norms and innovating through the constraints of tonal harmony.

MPM
Who are your mentors?

Vegh
My first music teacher Lee Cochrane showed me how to stay interested and excited about playing music, which is the most important thing anyone has ever done for me. I did a fundraiser “Christian Vegh Rocks the Capital” with the symphony to raise money for music scholarships, Lee played rhythm and our cover of the Eagles “Hotel California” has had over 3 million views. Next my guitar teacher Pete Palazzolo – he showed me how to improvise on the guitar which opened up a whole new world for me. Brain Zanier, my high school music teacher, introduced me to many incredible pieces of music and even let me do my own directed study to prepare for my Berklee audition. Vaughn Klugh a Berklee alumnus, who has played with many of the greats around the world showed me so many new horizons on the guitar and music in general, he is a certified genius.

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MPM
Do you have any advice for young musicians?  What’s the best advice or encouragement
someone gave you?

Vegh
My advice is to find out what it is you want to do from the start and it will save you a lot of time and energy. Learn to read music and learn music theory as it is the language of western music. The best advice given to me was by Steve Vai who told me to never lose ownership of my songs and to always keep your masters and publishing. Steve Morse (Deep Purple) really encouraged me to finish university he said that it made a huge difference to have people to work with and during any slow times which has already proven helpful this year as I collaborate with other friends and alumni.
What encouraged me was Joe Bonamassa tweeting about my first festival performance when I covered his song at 15 “These kids rock and are the reason that I play guitar” Alex Lifeson sent me a message to “Never stop playing I’m watching you let me know if I can ever help you” which I was too shy to ask for help and it made me want to pull off every video I ever posted because nothing is good enough and worthy of your idols watching when you are 15. Dick Wagner left me a message a few minutes before I was going on stage with Suzie McNeil in front of 10,000 people at the International Children’s Games telling me he was proud of me and wishing me luck and sending his respect to me as a musician.

MPM
If I could share the stage with anyone who would you pick?

Vegh
I would have loved to perform with Freddy Mercury, Buddy Rich, Igor Stravinsky and Victor Wooten and someday a dream would be to tear up the stage at Royal Albert Hall with Joe Bonamassa.

MPM
You are known as one of the hardest working and nicest musicians to work with, humble, professional and extremely modest, what has shaped your character?

Vegh

I was lucky to have so many music teachers that were also great mentors as well as local musicians in my town who were great role models always giving back to the community like Jeff Burrows from Tea Party, Pete Palazzolo from Greatest Hits Live, Rick Rock from Simply Queen and Jodi Raffoul. The most important advice I read to create confidence and keep a musician balanced and grounded was BB King, he said “when you go on stage you better think you are the best in the world but when you get off that stage you remember that you are no better than anyone else.”

MPM
How do you keep your drive during COVID?  What are your goals for music/career and what’s next for you?

Vegh
It’s very difficult honestly right now I miss playing live, I graduated from Berklee and Mi5 Recordings–Universal Music Group just released my album in February did a bunch of interviews and promotions and I was just about to hit the road when COVID happened a few weeks later. The first two songs charted globally but I haven’t even had a record launch or a chance to play the album live. Not being able to play gigs and share music with people has made a lot of us lose sight of why they do things. But I’m trying to redirect my energy into songwriting and getting out there through social media. I am working on improving my songs, voice and guitar playing. I also work on my ears which are extremely important and try to learn new concepts in music I am still teaching private lessons on-line and scoring movies and I am always looking to collaborate with other artists as well. I am just about to go into the studio with a song I collaborated with Mark Kassa of Slight Return who was just nominated for a Grammy with his song with Andy Vargas. The Music Industry will most likely bounce back after the pandemic is over, I think there will be a lot of pent up demand for live music after everyone has been isolated and I’ll be ready to hit the stage, hopefully even stronger! My ultimate goal is to change the face of music and inspire a generation of people, pretty lofty but you might as well dream big!

According to Mi5 Recordings Detroit President, Thomas McDonough, “Christian, in my opinion, is a rarity in the music world. He certainly has a rare talent and ability to create music that will rival the likes of Hendrix, Clapton and Page. His outlook and professionalism set him apart from most up and coming artists today. We look forward to what the future holds for us.”

Vegh’s strength is in his live performance so don’t miss a chance to see him on tour. Until then, check out this singer/songwriter/guitarist website for all his social media links.

Christian Vegh
www.christianvegh.com
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/guitarguy1691
https://www.instagram.com/christian_vegh/?hl=en
https://www.instagram.com/christianveghfanclub/
https://www.facebook.com/christianveghband/
https://twitter.com/Christian_Vegh

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Author: Tom M

Mr McDonough has worked in the Music Industry for 25 years. 15 years with MI5 Recordings Universal Music Group. He has owned and worked with several Record Labels over the years. Owns Music Player Magazine and hosts Welcome to the D tv show & the Dcap Radio show. He opened Music Addict to give the music community a free place to promote artists work and to make colorations around the world with ours in the Music Industry.

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