Jeff Gorra, a musician himself, founded AW in late 2016 after spending years in and around the music entertainment industry –with the intent of shining a light on positive aspects of the artists’ world and the inspiring messages they are conveying to listeners of all ages.
Artist Waves, launched by Hingham resident Jeff Gorra, is a voice-of-the-artist online publication with the unique mission of inspiring through the arts and a “Behind the art, from the artist” theme. Most of the stories focus on the world of music, but not all.
Gorra, a musician himself, founded AW in late 2016 after spending years in and around the music entertainment industry –with the intent of shining a light on positive aspects of the artists’ world and the inspiring messages they are conveying to listeners of all ages.
“I was aiming for a particular voice when I started AW — one I didn’t feel I saw enough of elsewhere and wanted to capture,” Gorra said. “Our goal is for the reader to feel a sense of connection — they’re moved by what they read or feel inspired to pursue their own passion. What gets me most excited is connecting with those who are touched by what we write about.”
For example, maybe the lyrics written by a featured artist sparked something in their lives — perhaps a memory or an insight from their favorite artist — or encouraged them to follow their own passion after reading an AW article. “Hopefully my kids will be inspired to pursue what they’re interested in as well,” Gorra said.
Each article is treated as if it were “a song being written or an empty canvas to paint,” Gorra said. “Each piece is done with or by the actual artist being featured via an interview, a collaboration, or a guest article. Everything we do at AW involves an artist-to-artist connection as we try to paint a picture together. “
AW’s focus is on musicians and other artists who deliver some sort of positive “wave,” Gorra said, “creating a ripple effect” — hence the publication’s name. “And that ripple effect is doing some beautiful things. There are so many positive messages in many artists’ songs, including being yourself and having a voice.”
In striving to illuminate the positive impact of the arts, AW has featured authentic and inspiring stories about fellow Hingham residents — including Ken Casey of the Dropkick Murphys and the Hingham-based Mad Love Festival as well as Boston Calling, School of Rock, Judd Apatow, the late musician-singer-songwriter Chris Cornell, Spartan Race, Olympian Jonathan Garcia, Shinedown, Newbury Comics, 311, and others across the nation.
AW also spotlights artists who are involved with particular causes — especially ones that provide opportunities for children to experience the arts within schools and in their communities, and in some cases raising funds to pay for instruments for kids.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Artist Waves T-shirts and hats has benefited Team Gleason, which helps to provide individuals with neuromuscular diseases or injuries with leading- edge technology, equipment, and services.
In 2018 part of the proceeds will benefit the Chris and Vicki Cornell Foundation, which helps underprivileged children.
“Chris Cornell, 311, and Pearl Jam inspired me to be a writer who captures artists’ voices and the messages they would like to share,” Gorra said. “I started writing because I wanted to talk with these and other artists to capture what I wasn’t hearing [in other media outlets] — to learn more about their creative drive — why they are creating music, where it comes from, and the ripple effects.”
Cornell had perhaps the biggest impact. “I have always been a big fan of his music and art and his artistic standpoint,” Gorra said. “I met him by chance earlier and he was very inspiring and encouraging to me. I think about that all the time. A number of big-time musicians honored him in May on the anniversary of his one-year passing — to return the love.”
AW provides for the reader insights into their favorite artists — “not what they eat or wear but on what they were feeling when they wrote a particular song and why they wrote it in the first place,” Gorra said.
Occasionally he takes a different track — writing an article about an artist who has been influenced by, for instance, skateboarding or surfing, and incorporates those themes into their music.
Other articles have featured sports figures, focusing on how music drives their sport and the role music plays in their lives and work rather than just scores.
Gorra has a soft-spot for Boston- and New England-based artists that fit AW’s goals. “This is our home turf,” he said.
This creative writer usually writes between four and five new features a week. “I always start my interviews by asking how the artist is doing and how he or she is feeling right now,” he said. “I end the interview by asking, ‘What does what you are doing mean to you?'”
Artist Waves illuminates artists — focusing primarily on musicians but occasionally an artist or photographer — who have had positive impacts on their communities, other artists, and their peers by creating inspiring music and art.
‘Great things happening’
“There’s a lot of good to highlight and great things happening that have ripple effects and create waves,” Gorra said.
He is a busy full-time national partnership manager who often writes articles on the commuter boat to Boston. But AW is his first love as far as work goes and he hopes in the future to dedicate even more time to it.
That said, family comes first. “My wife, Kelly, and I have four children — Jake, 6; Lily, 4; and twin sons, Matthew and Parker, who are a year and a half old — so kids are at the top of my mind,” Gorra said. “I want AW to have an angle that reaches youth so that they know that these outlets are available and to provide encouragement for them. Art and music can be unifying, creating a common ground for everyone.”
Gorra has always been a writer as a form of self-expression and art. “At a young age I was able to express my feelings through words on a page better than I could by talking about them,” he said. “Writing has always been an outlet for me.”
He approaches his work from an artist’s perspective. “I’ve worked for Live Nations (concert promotion) and for radio stations in New York City, have been in bands as a guitarist and singer, and done my own recordings,” Gorra said. “That’s the perspective I come from.”
The next step is exploring how to expand AW — possible podcasts and video content.
For more information check out artistwaves.com and artistwaves facebook, Twitter and other social media or email firstname.lastname@example.org (go under the “shop” section to purchase Artist Waves T-shirts and hats).