IRVINGTON, NJ — Listening to a song may give the listener chills up and down the spine, tears sliding down their face or an exuberant energy. A singer’s job is to make the listener feel something.
One singer aims to have listeners go through a full body experience while listening to songs from his upcoming album. These songs are aimed at the heart.
“I always had a passion for writing songs at an early age,” 19-year-old singer and songwriter Steve Garay said on Jan. 2. “It was the way I expressed myself. I started by rhyming words consistently when I was in middle school. As I got into high school, I started writing songs about the problems I had dealt with. As of today, I would say that my songwriting ability improved significantly and my perspective on life changed. I tend to make songs more positive nowadays.”
Garay, an Irvington High School Class of 2019 alumnus, is looking to make a name for himself with his poetic lyrics and by writing memorable pop songs from the heart about love and loss.
“I used music to escape my reality,” Garay said. “I always felt I never fit in with society and no one truly got me, not even my own family. Music was like a friend to me. It’s always been there for me and getting me through life.”
Thinking back, Garay recounted the time when he first discovered his talent for singing and, soon, songwriting.
“I first discovered I was interested in singing at the age of 13,” Garay said. “I remember that I was in Union Avenue Middle School choir class, and we were rehearsing ‘When the Saints Go Marching In.’ … I recall the frustration of our choir teacher, because we weren’t fully prepared for the concert. Meanwhile, I had a smile on my face, because we were redoing the songs over and over.
“I started writing songs at the age of 15,” he continued. “I wrote songs because I needed a way to express my emotions without having to talk about it. I also wrote songs to help me cope with the anger issues I had in the past, with my anxiety and emotions I was repressing for years.”
According to Garay, the first song he remembers singing was Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”
“I overheard this song in a play scene from ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid,’” Garay said. “My favorite line was ‘Turn around … every now and then, I get a little bit nervous. …’ I remember that I kept watching the movie just to memorize that line of the song. After memorizing it, I would sing that part to my classmates in school.”
Garay draws inspiration from a number of musical influences.
“People that have influenced me are Freddie Mercury, Taylor Swift, Eminem and Paramore,” Garay said. “Freddie Mercury has caught my attention with his astounding voice. He has unique vocals that haven’t been heard before, and he was the person who inspired me to want to be a singer. I related to the majority of his songs on a deeper level. I felt Freddie as a person who was sensitive, something I see in myself, something that I have repressed for years.
“Taylor Swift introduced me to her catchy melodies and her delivery,” he continued. “Eminem influenced me to write rhythmic songs. I love rhyming in songs; I guess it’s one of my guilty pleasures. Also, the band Paramore is most noticeably known for its lead singer, Hayley Williams. She influenced me with her catchy voice.”
Love fueled Garay’s debut album, “It Comes From the Heart.”
“My album is about two females that I fell in love with,” Garay said. “The devastating part is that neither of them reciprocated the same emotion I felt for them. So the songs are based on aftermath emotions I felt about them.”
The pop album comes out April 23 and will be available on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, Deezer and SoundCloud.
Through his music, Garay urges listeners to remember one thing.
“I want them to know that I write songs that ‘Come From the Heart,’” Garay said. “I wanted listeners to know that life may be an emotional rollercoaster, but they don’t have to do it alone. We could unite ourselves together by making ourselves bigger, so we could overcome any obstacle that life throws our way.”
Photos Courtesy of Steve Garay