Feature Stories

After a Bad Deal With a Record Label, Larry g(EE) Is Back With "Central Valley"

Hear new music from Larry g(EE).
Hear new music from Larry g(EE). Rico DeLeon

Larry Gayao, who performs under the name Larry g(EE), has experienced many of the cautionary tales associated with pursuing a career in the music industry. After taking an extended break from recording, he’s now focused on making a comeback during the final quarter of 2018.

Gayao’s latest single “Central Valley” featuring Sam Lao is the first from his upcoming EP Love Things, which is scheduled to be released in November. Gayao says this project is cathartic because he drew upon past relationships and the roller-coaster ride that has been his career.

In 2000 Gayao was married and living in Modesto, Calif. The song “Central Valley” is about the couple's divorce.

“The marriage lasted a year and maybe two months," Gayao says. "It was one of those things that when it happened, I pushed it aside, never dealt with it and I’ve never written about it. With this new EP, I wanted to be transparent and talk about some things I wanted to get off my chest. 'Central Valley' is me finally finding closure. I didn’t realize how much (the divorce) affected me as a person up until recently. Unfortunately for the girls who dated me after that, they had to put up with a lot of stuff. I had deep-seated issues with trusting people after my first marriage."

Six years ago, on the strength of his debut EP, Weekends, Gayao performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and landed slots on the Warped Tour. A record deal, along with a calendar filled with gigs throughout the country, seemed imminent at the time, but those goals didn’t materialize.

In 2015 Gayao’s then-manager connected him with a production team based in San Antonio. Rejuvenated, Gayao began recording new music, which ultimately led to a deal with the defunct U.K.-based record label DefDisco. Gross mismanagement led to the demise of DefDisco, and its collapse caused career setbacks for most of the label’s roster.

Looking back, Gayao says he knew joining the label was a mistake.

“My manager read the contract and was like, 'No, you can’t do this,'" Gayao recalls. "Given my history with everything that had fell through before, I was so fucking desperate that I signed anyway. Because of that, my manager left. And rightfully so. Signing the contract — although it was a cool feeling at the time — there was something about it that didn’t feel right."

After the record label folded, Gayao’s album was shelved. To make matters worse, he found out his father was battling cancer for the third time.

“I think that’s when the anxiety came, and I really fell off," he says. "I stopped playing music. I got really depressed and disappeared."

"I stopped playing music. I got really depressed and disappeared." – Larry Gayao

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Gayao’s past misfortune has provided him with present-day clarity. He believes his setbacks and time away have benefited his mental health and creativity.

“For me the time away was like self-care," he says. "I’m a people-pleaser, so I felt like for several years I was just trying to make other people happy. I don’t care anymore about pleasing people. I feel free."

Gayao says the main lesson he's learned from all of his career hardships is that everyone’s success is defined differently. He believes he’s on the path to find his.

“The expectations of what my career was supposed to be after Kimmel were so great," he says. "I forgot about the passion for music that got me there. I just got lazy with it towards the end, I’ll admit it. I sat back and thought that everything was just going to come and it didn’t. Everything just feels right now; it’s refreshing. If you can find happiness just playing music and doing what you love, that’s the best thing you can experience."

"Central Valley" is available on Soundcloud and other streaming services. Larry g(EE)’s next single “Losing You” is set to be released late September.
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Roderick Pullum
Contact: Roderick Pullum