Nolan Garrett Discusses Guitar Playing and Fame!
Nolan Garrett is only 15 years old, but he's already achieved big things, being hailed by critics as a guitar prodigy.
We spoke to Nolan recently about his musical inspirations, his favorite moments, and how he got to where he is today!
Nolan didn't come from a particularly musical family. No one in his family played any instruments.
He tried out for sports teams when he was young, but realized soon that they weren't a fit for him.
"I was like, well, if I can't do sports, I gotta try something else out," Nolan explained. "The next thing to try was music."
Lucky for Nolan, it clicked immediately. His mother suggested that Nolan try playing the guitar.
"I picked up a guitar, and I loved it," Nolan said. Taking guitar lessons really solidified Nolan's interest in playing the new instrument.
"My guitar teacher and I just got along really well," he said. "That's part of the reason I enjoyed it so much and I stuck with it."
In 2010, Nolan Garrett put his talents to the test in the "Kids Got Talent" competition. He entered as a solo act, performing with just an acoustic guitar. He also entered as a band with a few friends.
"We rehearsed a lot to prepare," Nolan said. "At the end of the first week, we were in last place."
At the end of the last week, Nolan took home awards for "Best Solo Artist," "Best Band," and "Audience Favorite."
During the school year, Nolan maintains a straight-A average. Summer gives him a chance to do his own thing. Over the next months, Nolan has various shows throughout Oregon and Washington.
"I'm on summer vacation right now so it's a lot easier," Nolan said. "When school is happening, I make sure that my work gets done, even if that means the day before I'll have to stay up all night and do it. It's not a balance, I've got to get it done."
Nolan does his best to maintain a social life when his life is so dedicated to his music.
"I don't have a lot of time for it," he said, "but I try to keep at least a day open a month where I can just hang out with my friends."
Nolan said that his biggest musical inspiration is fellow Washington native Jimi Hendrix, though he said the Washington connection wasn't why Nolan considers him an idol.
"I almost forget that he's from Seattle," Nolan said. "I look at him as the performer he was, because something I focus on is performance and putting on a great show. He's obviously in the top of that category. It's his whole art that I feel a connection to."
Nolan had the chance to do the next-best thing to playing with Hendrix by playing with Jimi Hendrix tribute artist, Randy Hansen.
"When you watch him it's like you're really watching Jimi," Nolan said. "I've opened for him and gotten to play with him a few times."
Other inspirations include Paul McCartney of The Beatles and John Mayer. In fact, if Nolan could collaborate with any artist, he said he'd pick McCartney.
"If I never did anything else musically but I could play with him, that would be my favorite thing," Nolan said.
He's also a fan of 90s Grunge, including groups like Alice in Chains and Soundgarden.
Nolan had a fateful encounter one weekend in 2012 while in Hollywood. He decided to sit on a couch by the pool at the Sunset Marquis hotel, known for its celebrity clientele.
"I was playing for eight hours and nobody had even spoken a word to me, but then Cyndi Lauper approached me," he said. Lauper is well-known musician who reached fame in the 80s for tracks like "Girls Just Want To Have Fun."
"I didn't know who she was at first, but when I heard her name I realized she was a celebrity," he said. "It was really exciting. It's not something everyone has the opportunity to do."
He also gained the attention of Jeff Kossack, who went on to be the producer of Nolan's album, "All The Time."
Nolan released a music video for his single "Don't Criticize Me" just last month. The song came to him a bit at a time.
"I had the riff to a song way before I had the lyrics," Nolan explained. "I played it with my band and told them it was going to be the closer of the first show we were going to play together, and that we needed lyrics by then."
He found the inspiration to write the lyrics after attending a dinner with family friends. He played the song aloud and was met with some harsh criticism by a woman at the dinner.
"I was just like, 'Have you ever played a music in your life?'" he said. "It really rubbed me the wrong way. It was the day before the show, and I just wrote out all of the lyrics."
Many other young guitarists aspire to achieve what Nolan has. He has a few words of advice for them.
"You gotta just get out and play," he said. "Nobody's gonna make it by sitting in their garage. Get out and go to open mics, and make sure you play with people. Playing out in the world is the best thing. That's how people see you and that's how you build connections. That's really what it's all about."
For now, Nolan is focused on promoting his latest album. He wants to make a couple more music videos for the "All The Time" album before getting to work on his sophomore album.
"In the coming months, I just gotta look ahead and work on what's next," Nolan said.
Check out Nolan Garrett on his social channels!