By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
Morgan Ganem was born and raised in the music industry as the son of I.J. Ganem, a member of the Rogues Five. The Sand Springs band saw success in the 1960's, charting regionally and opening for bands like Jim Morrison and the Doors at the Tulsa Convention Center. Fifty years later it's Morgan's turn, and he is seeing major successes of his own.
The Charles Page High School graduate just released the "Only for the Night" music video, the second single from his new album. Paradise dropped Friday, May 12th.
Paradise is Morgan's first full-length album as a solo artist, and third album all-together. Previously he was the lead vocalist for Sownds, which released albums in 2010 and 2012. He released the Breakthrough EP in 2013 and the Somewhere in Time EP in 2015.
Morgan and I.J. co-founded GX2 Records, through which Morgan not only records his own music, but co-writes and records topline vocals for producers and musicians across the globe.
"It's grown pretty vastly in the past few years," said Morgan. "I initially started GX2 to put out my own music. Since that point, about the time that Sownds dissolved, I've had pretty incredible releases. We've signed people in Barcelona, a guy in Mexico, a guy in Malaysia, a lot of cool things are happening at this point."
He also plays in his father's band, the I.J. Ganem Band, and fills in with the Rogues Five when the drummer isn't available.
"It's a full time gig for me. I'm really fortunate to be able to do music my entire life thus far. At this point I've learned how to do so many different things that my plate stays pretty full."
Morgan recently began a radio show, live-streaming Morgan Ganem on the Air through his official facebook page. The hour-long special includes original music, remixes, and yesterday featured a preview of Paradise. More than a thousand viewers tune in for each podcast.
"(My influences) are pretty broad. It ranges from the Beatles and Phil Collins to Hardwell and Steve Aioki. I had been doing rock music when I was a kid, now I've kind of transitioned to EDM. Now what I'm doing is a nice mixture of a little bit of both. The lyrics and stuff now have a little more substance the music has more of a rock edge, but it's not really guitars anymore, it's big distorted synthesizers. I definitely still take influence from the classic. I even put a little ode to The Beatles in my song 'Forever Young,' which is the first track on my new album."
"'Only for the Night' was written for someone else originally, but they didn't use the top line, but I really like what I had done with that and wrote my own music around it. It turned out to be a whole new animal. It's fun to collaborate with other people, but if it doesn't work out I can still use whatever I wrote for them as my own music."
"The next thing is just to go out and perform this new music...I've been working on this for some time. I'm also working on some new music. I just finished a new vocal for a guy in Malaysia...I'm just constantly writing music, it never really ends."
Morgan won't need to tour to promote his new music, he already has a summer residency booked with Safari Joe's H20 water park in Tulsa. He will perform more than thirty concerts this summer at the former Big Splash location, which also features a petting zoo and a bar. The first concert will be June 1st for adult night. On Thursday evenings from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00, patrons must be 21 years or older to enter. There is also a teen night from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 on Tuesdays.
On June 3rd, he will be doing a big outdoor concert at the River West Festival Park as a fundraiser for the Bridges Foundation in Tulsa. Registration for the Dirty Dog 5K/Fun Run & Concert will end at 5:30 p.m. The Fun Run will start at 6:00, followed by the 5K at 6:30 and the concert at 7:30. The Bridges Foundation is a United Way affiliate that provides vocational training, employment opportunities, education, living skills, and community resources for individuals with developmental disabilities.
As far as young and upstart musicians go, Morgan has some simple advice. "Do you. Don't try to sound like anybody specifically, but take influence carefully from artists that you trust. Learn how to do a lot of stuff. Learn how to do it all. There will be a point when no one seems to care, no one wants to help. If you can push yourself past that threshold, then you'll grow and get better. It's not only good for yourself, but it's good for your music. Don't wait on anybody."