From Bob Marley to Stevie Wonder to Jimi Hendrix, singer/songwriter Kierstin Gray is influenced by many different genres. Next week, she will bring her unique blend of sounds to the Clubhouse in San Luis Obispo.
“I am really inspired by eras and periods of music, so my tastes run a wide gamut,” the 28-year-old musician said.
Gray, who hails from New York, said she enjoys coming to California but the majority of her performances have been in the Bay Area, and she said she will enjoy learning more about the southern California music scene.
With a wide variety of musical influences, she is not shy about covering the work of some of her favorite peers.
“I really get into anything that gives me a new way of interpretation, so I love doing covers,” she said. “I think you learn a lot about song structure and identity through lyrics and melody when you can re-interpret a piece of music.”
Juggling her variety of sounds is sometimes tough for Gray, who plays guitar and sings with a band in New York but will be touring California alone.
“It is a challenge, but a welcome one,” she said. “I like to explore themes with my music, so it keeps things fresh for me and, I hope, for the listener.”
Experimentation is a big part of her sound and she is willing to try new things with the guitar or vocal aspects of her repertoire.
“Sometimes I look to include an element I haven’t tried, or a concept,” she said. “Mostly I try and write songs that are familiar to people, either in sound or in lyric.”
Gray said she stumbled upon the music business a few years ago but has really enjoyed the whirlwind ride.
“I was in college and some friends suggested I go to an open mike,” she said. “After going there for a while, I started actually writing songs for it, and then that sort of just kept progressing to being a professional musician. It was a gradual process, but often it seems like I have been doing this overnight.”
Gray, who describes her sound as “the best music you’ve never heard,” will begin her performance at
the Clubhouse at 6:30 p.m. on July 1. The show is free to the general