By Jenny Neyman
For someone as dedicated to his music as Conway Seavey — writing, producing and recording his own songs and playing gigs throughout Southcentral, starting when he was about 11 until now at 17 when he can finally drive himself — music didn’t strike much of a chord with him at first.
His neighbor taught piano lessons, so he went.
“I didn’t fall for music just right from the beginning. I was kind of tentative. I didn’t know if it was what I wanted to do,” said Seavey, the youngest member of the dog-mushing Seavey clan of Iditarod fame. The family splits time between Seward and Sterling. Conway has spent time on sled runners, himself, including two Junior Iditarod championships, but these days is chasing his music dream.
He started taking guitar lessons and getting out and playing in the community. Better, but still no real spark. Then he started taking voice lessons, about four years ago. He found his voice, and his passion for music, and he’s been going full speed ahead ever since.
“My passion really started when I got into singing. The more I did it, the more hooked I got,” he said. “I love everything about music. I’m a producer, so I write the drums and the bass and guitar, and I love doing it. But I think for each of us there’s something that really is just easy for us and resonates with us, and something we can do naturally without having to think about it. And for me it was singing. Once I started doing it I just knew it was what I was supposed to be doing.”
He started writing his own songs and playing gigs even more frequently, building both his performance and song-writing skills. And now, at the ripe old age of 17 — which might sound facetious but really means more than six years of intense work fueled by the energy of youth with a passion — his first album is ready for release. Conway will hold an EP-release party for “Paradox” from 6 to 7 p.m. at Kaladi Brothers on Kobuk in Soldotna on June 20.
“These are songs that I’ve written about things that have happened in my life, so they’re pretty close to my heart. I took all my favorite ones, and this is my first original release so this is the first chance the public will get to hear my songs. I’ve been doing lots of gigs just around Soldotna, Sterling and up in Anchorage, but this is the first opportunity I’ve had to perform my original songs, so I’m super excited,” he said.
Kenai Peninsula residents frequenting the coffee shop and summer music festival scene have likely heard him perform and seen him develop his talents and style. The EP-release party is something of a graduation ceremony for him.
“I played all kinds of small gigs, just kind of feeling the water. I started gigging when I was 11, 12 years old. And, honestly, I sucked back then. I was terrible. But a lot of hard work, a lot of gigs later, I’m pretty confident and I think this will be an amazing gig,” Seavey said.
The EP consists of four songs. “Try till I make it” is an upbeat number to kick off the set.
“One I wrote when I was kind of down and I wrote the song as a pick-me-up. It’s kind of like my own personal motivational song,” he said. “And I’ve got one of them love songs in there (the title track, ‘Paradox’). You can’t write a record without one of them.”
He has a cover of “Drops of Jupiter,” one of his favorites, but with the music completely rewritten in his own style. Rounding out the album is “Goodbye 16,” a sort of melancholy song full of the tangled emotions of growing up and moving on.
For Seavey, moving on from his history of getting established as a musician into his new realm of writing, producing and performing music is a happy thing.
“I’m super excited about this collection of songs. I’m finally getting a chance to show them to the public,” he said. “I’ve got gigs lined up all summer. I want to get this album out, and I already started writing the next one, so I’ll be working on that as soon as this is released.”