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Meet Jon GK

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jon GK.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jon. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My name is Jonathan Golabek Kaye (I abbreviate it to Jon GK for my personal music projects and for some of my string recording work). I grew up in a pretty hardcore classical music-oriented family here in Los Angeles: My mother and aunt were both conservatory-trained pianists and recording artists. Both my grandmother and my great-grandmother were piano teachers as well. Ironically, I was encouraged to learn the violin instead (it was my grandfather’s favorite instrument). Growing up, it felt like I was on a conveyor-belt to becoming a professional classical violinist. I embraced that goal up until I became a teenager. I hadn’t really listened to other kinds of music until that point. Remember those CD box set infomercials on TV? Around that time, my mom gifted me a ‘70s and ‘80s hits collection, and that music changed me. To make a long story short, I went on to study Music Industry at USC and then Film Scoring at UCLA Extension. That leads me to where I am now: utilizing my different skill sets as a composer and multi-instrumentalist in a variety of genres.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The obstacles we face, as frustrating and as painful as they are, can be opportunities for growth. My mom died when I was twelve. She had been my primary musical support: sitting in on my lessons, practicing with me daily, and accompanying me at the piano. After she passed, I wanted to honor her memory by continuing our journey myself. Eventually, that pressure burned me out, and I didn’t touch the violin for some time. It was during that time when I taught myself how to write and record songs at the piano. I realized that musical route was an equally valid way to honor my mom’s memory: as long as the music evoked beauty and joy, I felt the presence of her spirit. That period taught me a lot about loss, introspection, and holding myself accountable for my own growth. There is always more work to be done, and I like to think that I’m somehow approaching a full circle as I develop my ability to straddle both musical worlds in my craft.

Can you give our readers some background on your music?
I perform and record strings (violin, viola, octave violin) for film, TV, and records. I also have a singer-songwriter project that explores different genres. Additionally, I have spent the last few years performing live with a variety of bands around Los Angeles, and I performed at Coachella 2019 with Gryffin. A forthcoming project to look out for is the HBO documentary ‘Alabama Snake.’ Film composer Michael James Lee brought me on board as a one-man string section for his extraordinary score. My workload is always changing, and I love that on Monday I can be tracking strings for a film cue, but then on Tuesday I’m co-writing a pop song in a session. Eclectic projects drive my curiosity and expand my desire for creative adventure, beauty, and joy.

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Image Credit: Alix Fischer

Image Credit:
Jesse Justice, Sam Lee, Kristen Klehr

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