J GRGRY refashions tragedy into majesty and isolation into celebration.
Armed with melodies mighty enough to shake the earth beneath, the songs crafted by the darkly glamorous, shape-shifting alter ego of Joseph Gregory are as intimate as a timid first kiss yet as welcoming as Wembley Stadium.
Everything J GRGRY touches arrives enveloped in an all-encompassing grandiosity, built for arena stages and radio airwaves, aiming at the heavens.
A singer wearing a once broken yet unrelentingly loving heart on his sleeve, J GRGRY makes the type of music that elicits feelings of ecstasy and joyous inclusiveness, while subversively injecting disruptive challenges to the status quo. “When I’m onstage it feels like I got hit by a baseball bat. I’m electric,” Gregory explains. “Afterwards it’s like an hour of coming back to the ground.”
Imagine Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors as performed by the ghost of David Bowie, in an otherworldly postmodern future, sometime in the year 2050, melding the smoky mystique of bygone eras, synth-pop prowess, and an iPhone’s savvy.
The foundation of evolution and transcendence upon which Gregory makes his creative stand was built with genuine struggle and heartache at every turn. As an indie-pop hopeful in Seattle, he signed his first record deal at just 17.
What followed was a perilous journey through the music industry. With the band Dolour (other members went on to join Portugal. The Man and Fleet Foxes) and as a solo artist, it was a decade marked by a smattering of incredible highs (hearing his music on the radio for the first time; the early patronage of Korn singer Jonathan Davis and A-list producer Josh Abraham) and innumerable crushing defeats, broken promises and shattered dreams.
Before he’d left his 20s, Gregory spiraled into self-medication with drugs and booze, hitting rock bottom on the streets of Naples and Liguria in Italy, as he slept in train stations and churches. A death in the family summoned him back to the Pacific Northwest, where he ditched the fifth of Jack Daniels per day habit that had defined his past decade and found a lively clear-eyed sobriety.
As J GRGRY, Gregory fully embraces his past with an eye toward the future, shifting himself back to center with a firm footing in the ideas and images that first moved him. Michael Stipe in the video for R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion.” Kurt Cobain headlining a machismo-infused festival, in a dress. Perry Farrell crawling across the stage, baring both his emotions and his soul to the crowd.
“As grandiose as this may sound, I found my true self and voice,” Gregory explains. “It’s allowed me to explore new depths in style and substance.” This higher level of realization is reflected onstage as well, where J GRGRY channels both Bowie and Bauhaus, classic pop with unashamed vampy Goth.
“When I was teaching myself guitar at 14, I would be like, ‘I have to put makeup on. I have to paint my nails. Alright, now I’m ready to write a song.’ It started that young,” Gregory reflects. “I would get into this vibe, this spirit, and really picture a place. When I think about songwriting, that’s my favorite spot in the universe to be. It’s a whole world of my own, one where I get to run around and use all of these paintbrushes. It’s safe for me there and I love it.”
With that sense of cinematic scope, J GRGRY is no longer haunted by his past. He’s taken those struggles and weaponized them, making universal music never devoid of wonder and awe, built from tireless perseverance. “We
will be the calm amidst the chaos / we will be the smile instead of the mayhem / no one can take my light from me,” he croons in one of his signature anthems.
“Music really does bring people together,” he says. “I’ve been at concerts where strangers are high-fiving and hugging afterward. To be in an arena with a group of people that gets what each other’s feeling and what each other’s been through; that’s what my shows have been like for me and how I want to connect. I walk away bouncing on air, because I know I’m not truly alone.”