Christian Vegh — “A Musician’s Musician”
According to MixMag.net, less than 0.4% of musicians would be potentially able to make a living solely from streaming. So how can an individual make ends meet and still pursue their passion? What makes someone brave enough, (or crazy enough) to tough it out as a musician?
We caught up with Christian Vegh, our 2016 Artist of the Year Biz X Award winner, to check on his progress and to see how he managed to stay committed and passionate after the pandemic cancelled all live music when restrictions were in place.
Often referred to as a “guitar prodigy,” Vegh graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston and four days later he signed a contract with RL Records in Detroit. When Tom McDonough (RL’s President) moved to Mi5 Recordings — Universal Music Group (based in New York City), Vegh was one of the few artists he took with him from Detroit.
New Record Launch Event: April 15, 2023
It is evident that Vegh is gaining attention for his vocals and getting a lot of attention for his song writing abilities.
He is set to release his fourth album — entitled AAA — at a Record Launch Event on April 15, 2023 at the Lakeshore St. Andrew’s Church (8 p.m.), 235 Amy Croft Drive. Tickets are $20 and available on: Eventbrite.com (part of the sales will go to the music program at Lakeshore St. Andrew’s).
Over 500 attended his last concert fundraiser at the Capitol Theatre when the proceeds raised were enough for four local musicians to receive Christian Vegh Music Scholarships.
“I’m excited for the upcoming April 15 event highlighting songs from all four albums, especially since COVID cancelled the Portraits of Sentiment 2020 launch,” Vegh states. “I am also excited to bring Slight Return USA to perform in Canada for the first time.”
He points out: “As an Indie artist I am really hoping for a great turnout. Musicians get .004 cents per music stream so it is difficult to recoup recording costs. Live performance and merchandise are often the main source of revenue to support Indie artists.”
Indie artists sometimes use a Go Fund Me approach to releasing music, but Vegh says he would rather perform and show people what they are investing in through their support.
“I want them to get an instant return for their money — hours of quality, live music entertainment,” he expresses.
Quick Love, the first song of the new album was pre-released and AAA will also come out in vinyl. Pre-orders are available at the Record Launch Event.
“I sent out an email asking for help and volunteers for the launch and I received a response from a supporter living in San Jose, California who offered to sponsor the vinyl pressing, which totally shocked me,” Vegh reveals.
Local artist Asaph Maurer created the AAA album cover art and will be on hand to sign limited edition art prints of the cover. Coincidentally, Maurer is also a Biz X Award winner for Artist of the Year (2019)!
The opening act for the launch event is Slight Return USA of Detroit, Michigan. The band was chosen as the 2022 Midwest USA Band of the Year by UK magazine’s Prestige Awards.
Vegh is part of Slight Return USA, along with: Mark Kassa (guitar and vocals); William Pope (bass guitar and vocals); Ronnie Karmo (drums and vocals); and Tony Mitchell (percussionist and vocals).
Even though Vegh is a member of this band, he continues to perform in North America and Europe as a solo artist and also tours with Billboard pop star, Meresha.
Tom McDonough, Director of A&R at Mi5 Recordings — Universal Music Group (Detroit) has this to say about Vegh: “Christian in my opinion is a rarity in the music world. He certainly has a rare talent and ability to create music that will rival the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page. His outlook and professionalism set him apart from most up-and-coming artists today. We look forward to what the future holds for us.”
Surviving The Pandemic
Two weeks after Vegh’s last album was released, COVID hit, and all tours and events were cancelled, but Portraits of Sentiment continued to gain radio play.
The first song on this album, which was released by Universal Music Group, was 90’s Movie, produced by Jack Endino from Soundhouse who is known for his work with Soundgarden and Nirvana. The song charted for 13 weeks on the DRT Global Charts making it to #26.
“It was an amazing experience to fly out to Seattle and work with Endino — he even played on some of the songs on the album,” Vegh recalls.
The second song, I Think I’m Gonna Die Young, made it to #13 on the DRT Global Rock Charts.
Vegh tells Biz X that the pandemic changed the industry in so many ways and when your strength is performing live it is totally devastating. He explains how he used the time to work on his vocals and guitar chops, but really focused on song writing.
“I strive to make/play undeniably unique and exceptional music, that people crave to listen to and I think all other good things come from this core vision,” Vegh says. “There were times when I felt like giving up, but it was the creative process that kept me going. I worked to pioneer a new genre in my home studio. It was an era of trial and error that led me to discover how I wanted to distinguish myself from other composers.”
He continues: “That’s what really kept me going. Every time I went to create something, the music went further and further into a unique direction. It was exciting to experience and it’s the discoveries along the way that kept me motivated to continue this path. It is essential to have a unique sound and vision — all of humanities most cherished works of art came from an undeniably unique perspective of life.”
Staying performance-ready is also important and Christian Vegh hits the gym and takes ballet classes to stay in shape, improve posture and strengthen his core, which is vital when you’ve been playing the guitar for so many years.
For his mental strength, he likes to put his body through stressful situations like cold exposure, completing a routine three and a half minutes in the cold every time he takes a shower. Vegh finds that spending time in the true fight or flight state of mind can help you tackle performance nerves with ease.
Words Of Inspiration
Vegh credits the support and encouragement from other musicians as a godsend.
A good example of this happened during the worst of the pandemic restrictions when Canadians were not even allowed to sing in church. Vegh was performing with Slight Return USA at a huge Wounded Warriors Fundraiser/Event. He had an opportunity to also perform with legend Billy Davis, an American rock and blues guitarist, singer and songwriter and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee.
He told his parents to try and make it to Michigan for this huge event, which included politicians and military VIPs arriving by helicopter, right in front of the stage.
Christian Vegh was quitting music for good. This was going to be his last performance, so they had to drive to Toronto and fly back to Detroit.
After the performance, Davis changed Vegh’s mind by a few kind words.
“I’ve been around a long time and even taught Hendrix,” Davis commented. “You have it kid. You have an amazing ability to improvise and you’ve got your own unique sound. I know you’re going to be one of the greats someday.”
Vegh first attracted attention as a guitarist who is known for his clean and flawless playing. There is no hiding behind a lot of gain. You hear lightning scales and he bends each note achieving an incredible tone. Looking around the crowd you can see people’s reaction to his performance and musicians shaking their heads as they are mesmerized watching every riff.
When asked what part of his career he enjoys, it is both creating songs and performing.
“I love writing and recording songs, but performing live with a great band and the thrill of hearing a song that started off as just a thought — in a full-fledged mix with real instruments and real players — is just incredibly exciting to hear it all come to fruition,” Vegh responds.
Cover Story continues on Page 18