Musician Gabriel Tajeu’s new album, Finding My Way, is appropriately titled for one who shares two passions: music and academics. The 32-year-old recorded the album while working on his doctorate in public health, forging a connection between his two passions because they both allow him to impact people’s lives in a positive way. Originally from Ithaca, New York, he’s making his mark on the Birmingham music scene with his folk rock/R&B songs that are nothing short of savory.
Tajeu’s process of self-discovery manifests in every song on Finding My Way. From the upbeat “Something It Ain’t,” with the uncertainty life often brings floating on rosy notes, to the more mellow “Self-Righteous,” with the more heartening dauntlessness of a love’s finality, Finding My Way coasts frictionlessly from the speaker into the ears.
His is a voice that melts the space around you, making you forget you’re listening to music because it feels so natural that you should be hearing his songs as you go about your day. It is as though Tajeu’s music is an organic soundtrack to daily activities. With the creamy fluidity of the melodies, it’s nearly impossible not to find yourself in pleasant contemplation about your own life and finding your own way as you listen.
“The album is titled Finding My Way because I’m continuously searching” explains Tajeu. “I think the title also has the connotation that I’m getting somewhere and finding something”
Tajeu had an idea of what he wanted the album to sound like and worked with 14 musicians, 10 of whom were local, including Chad Fisher on trombone and Gary Wheat on tenor sax, to translate his vision. Tajeu’s blueprint for the album was made reality in Birmingham’s own Audio State 55 recording studio, where, in addition to vocals, Tajeu played guitar and saxophone on the album.
“It’s pretty cerebral, coming from a place of inspiration,” says Tajeu. “I wanted to be considerate of my music. I didn’t want it to be too predictable.”
Though the album may sound effortless, five bass players were involved because Tajeu was going for a “particular sound,” which speaks to the meticulous attentiveness with which the album was produced. It goes without saying that “predictable” isn’t a word that comes to mind for Finding My Way.
“I wanted the album to be a straddle between modern pop and analog sound” says Tajeu. “I wanted it to be rich, authentic, and organic. I have so many varied influences and I wanted my music to have my signature. My music is a part of me.”
Through the production of Finding My Way, Tajeu has drawn listeners an atlas with each song serving as a stopping point on the roadmap of his past few years. In listening to his journey, we rediscover our own.
Tajeu is currently working on a deluxe edition of the Finding My Way album, with five songs stripped and re-recorded on an analog machine, and a new EP to debut in fall that will be made into a full length album.
Tajue’s album release party for Finding My Way will be Sunday, June 16 from 1:00-3:30 p.m. at Birmingham Yoga, located at 605 37th St. S., Birmingham. The release party will feature music from Finding My Way as well as the songs off the deluxe edition. There will be complimentary beer and wine, as well as a potluck. Hard copies of the album will be sold at the event, or you can purchase the album online on Amazon and iTunes.
Photos courtesy of Gabriel Tajeu.
Mandy Shunnarah is a freelance journalist and aspiring novelist under the pseudonym Amanda White.