How ‘Selena Gomez’ made Greg Kurka famous

“How ‘Selena Gomez’ made him famous”
Exclusive interview with Greg Kurka
By Michael Aaron Gallagher

“Greg Kurka’s music represents everything the recording industry should be about – having fun, being yourself, and sharing great songs.”
StayFamous.Net

He may not be on tour with Disney Channel star Selena Gomez (“Wizards of Waverly Place”) when she releases her debut album on Hollywood Records later this year, but one thing is for sure – he deserves to be. After all, she certainly knows who he is and odds are she’s already a fan of his music. The quirky, 21 year-old college student from Milwaukee, Wisconsin has become a YouTube sensation for his original song entitled “Selena Gomez.”

Since he released it in November of 2008, the song (which Kurka recorded in his bedroom) has been covered by dozens of other aspiring musicians, and even attracted the attention of Gomez herself. Shortly after its debut, Gomez posted an amusing response to his music video on her Official YouTube Channel, singing and dancing along to the song he wrote about her.

I had the chance to ask Greg Kurka about his most popular MP3 download, and what’s next for his music career after he graduates from college next year. What I learned from our interview was that, in an industry often more focused on things like money and fame, there are still people out there who enjoy creating music and having a good time sharing their songs with fans. If there is anyone who deserves to be the next Radio Disney star, unsigned singer/songwriter Greg Kurka is at the top of the list.

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “How long did it take you to write ‘Selena Gomez?’”

Greg Kurka: “One night after classes.”

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “What inspired you to write the song?”

Greg Kurka: “I heart ‘Wizard’s of Waverly Place.’ Plus, I figured my friends would find it pretty funny that I wrote a song to Selena Gomez. Plus, it’s Selena Gomez, and she’s pretty awesome.”

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “Did you ever think it would get the attention it has?”

Greg Kurka: “No, I didn’t think it would. I figured my friends would get a kick out of it, and that would be the end of it.”

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “What’s it like to see your song copied and re-recorded in so many other YouTube videos?”

Greg Kurka: “I think it’s pretty funny… I honestly think this sort of attention it received wasn’t about the song I made, or the video I made, but more just about the fact that there’s a large number of people who like Selena Gomez.”

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “How did you feel when you saw Selena’s video response to the song?”

Greg Kurka: “The night that I watched that, I was rolling on the floor in laughter. That was probably one of the coolest things ever. When I randomly made a song and a video about the star of a TV show I watch when I’m tired from school, I never thought she’d end up actually seeing it. That was awesome random. That was probably the coolest thing she could have ever done.”

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “How did you find out that she had seen your video?”

Greg Kurka: “I found out when she favorited my video on her YouTube.”

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “Have you had a chance to meet her or talk to her?”

Greg Kurka: “Nope. I’ve never really tried though (Laugh out loud).”

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “Why did you start making videos on YouTube?”

Greg Kurka: “I have a computer that I make bunches of songs with, and I have a video camera that I made videos with. I started doing it in my spare time as something fun to do.”

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “Did anyone help you write or record your songs?”

Greg Kurka: “Nope. All the songs on my YouTube were all written and recorded by me in my bedroom.”

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “What is your favorite part of the process – do you enjoy writing and recording the songs or making the music videos and putting it all together?”

Greg Kurka: “I enjoy writing and recording the songs the most, but acting ridiculous in front of a camera for a few hours is also my idea of a good time.”

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “What equipment do you use to record your music? Do you play any instruments?”

Greg Kurka: “I play mainly piano, but I also play guitar, and drums. All the sounds on my YouTube were made with computer programs, mainly Fruity Loops, and Cakewalk Sonar and plug-ins like Absynth and Sytrus.”

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “What do you want people to take away from listening to your songs?”

Greg Kurka: “When you are sitting around and you think you have nothing to do, there’s an infinite number of things that you could be doing. With the technology of today, anyone can put creative ideas into motion. Outputting creative ideas doesn’t always have to land you record deals and big contracts. It can be as simple as making an easy song after school and listening to it a few times to relax, or make a quick song for someone. I love making songs for my friends. It’s a good time.”

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “Who are some of the recording artists that inspire you, and who would you like to work with if you could?”

Greg Kurka: “I’d have to say Owl City, All Time Low, T.I., and Journey. I would love to work with just about anyone who understands music, and what it’s about. Bouncing musical ideas back and forth is a good time.”

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “You said you’re interested in teaching music composition when you graduate. Do you think studying music has helped you create better songs?”

Greg Kurka: “It has helped me create better songs. Contemporary music feels like a beast of a different breed, but eventually everything flows together into a musical mesh of what music is to each individual song. Studying music composition has gotten me in touch with ways that songs can write themselves, and come out very easy.”

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “What’s next for you? Do you have any new projects you are working on?”

Greg Kurka: “I’ve mainly been doing piano and vocal songs recently – very acoustic stuff to contrast what I was doing before. I would have wanted to professionally record my electronic songs, but being a poor college student has stopped me…. I used to be in a band, and I haven’t been for two years. I miss playing shows and touring, and with my electronic music it’s near impossible to get a band together to play it, so I’m writing solo piano and vocal songs, that should be out at some point or another.”

For more information on Greg Kurka’s music, including free music downloads of “Selena Gomez” and “Sweater Weather,” visit: www.YouTube.com/gjk4567 and add him as a friend on Myspace at www.MySpace.com/gregkurka.

“How ‘Selena Gomez’ made him a star”
Exclusive interview with Greg Kurka
Copyright © 2009 by Michael Aaron Gallagher

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