Musician – Songwriter
As a young lad, Gary attended Eagle school in the Vumba for three years and then Murray MacDougall in Triangle. He started to play guitar at about age 9 after he bought a home made ‘oil can’ one from a black kid about his own age. After junior school Gary attended Guinea Fowl for a year and then Fort Victoria High School.
Gary joined in a band in high school with Simon Scarff on lead vocals , Greg Marais on Drums and Marco Biason on Bass. Gary can’t recall the name of the band but remembers that, over school holidays , some of the band members would change out due to the fact that there were all living in different towns. As a result, when in Triangle, Chunky Dates would become the bass player, Richard Marais would become the drummer, Greg Marais would play lead . Gary says that he “was always sucked as a singer”, so started writing songs for others to sing.
After school, Gary did his National Service with the Greys Scouts (1980) and used to entertain my buddies at “hollies” with a guitar which he kept at barracks. Having completed his military service, he moved to Kariba for a short while before moving to South Africa to start a commercial diving career. In brief, he worked as a commercial diver for SADS and then joined the SADF and was based in Durban with 1 Recce for a year before going over to the North Sea Oil rigs as a diver. Gary would spend all his time off in London, busking in the underground train stations at Lancaster Gate and Bond Street. After a couple of years of international travel, in 1989 he found himself in America on the Gulf of Mexico oil rigs, but continued to write songs as a hobby.
Never particularly comfortable being an entertainer, Gary’s joy in creating the songs. He was offered a publishing deal by a company out of Nashville in 2003 and one of the first songs he turned in was ‘Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off’. It was recorded by Joe Nichols and rose to #1 on the US Billboard charts. It has now surpassed 4 million radio plays in the United States.
Gary’s next #1 would be ‘Back When I Knew It All’ by Montgomery Gentry. To date, Gary’s songs have been performed by Garth Brooks, (biggest selling solo artist of all time), John Michael Montgomery, Jon Corabi of Motley Crue, Nickleback, Craig Morgan, Brad Paisley and many others. He has also been fortunate enough to have penned a song on Blake Shelton’s ‘Based On A True Story’ album which won the CMA and ACA country album of the year and was Grammy nominated. More recently he had a single out on William Shatner, (Capt Kirk on Star Trek).
Gary continues to tour the States performing mostly in theaters, playing the songwriter’s versions of the hits and telling the stories behind them. I have had several additional #1 songs world wide, 3 of which were in South Africa by country artist, Jason Bradley.
Gary is on Facebook and also has a website at www.garyjhannan.