PROFILE: John Salaway

December 4, 2020
By Olivia Cameron

Raised on drumming lessons and good music…
BY OLIVIA CAMERON- From The Beatles to Led Zeppelin, John Salaway has drawn inspiration from eras of creative music development and the revolution of sound to cultivate a style of his own. With reminiscent ballads in classic rock at his fingertips, it’s impossible for John to neglect his natural talent. 
John got into the groove of songwriting in his hometown of Englewood, just short of Boca Grande. It wasn’t long after he graduated from Lemon Bay High School when he decided to follow the music scene. 
“With my career path, I don’t think I ever had a choice,” said John. “This was the gift that I was given, and nothing could shake that.”
John’s musical ability was rooted in his childhood.
“My folks raised me on good music,” he said. “When I was about nine or ten, I remember sitting around that summer, bored after I’d played every game I could, and I spotted my dad’s old stack of drums in the garage.”
He arranged the drum set to the best of his ability, and his father taught him a few rudiments to get him started. Naturally, the rest is history. Before John knew it, he was teaching himself new piano and guitar chords. With his talent came a strong mindset to pursue his passion.
By the time he relocated to Nashville in 2003, he felt at home in the heart of the music industry. John obtained a degree in music business with a minor in music studies after attending Middle Tennessee State University in Nashville. After earning an education in the recording industry, he began to develop his craft. His music style is coupled with an ear for evolving taste.
“All of my albums have their own vibe based on what I was going through during the times they were created,” he said. 
Most are a mix of Americana and classic rock, but his upcoming music falls under what he calls “psychedelicana,” or Americana mixed with a bit of 1960s inspiration.
“There were pockets of amazing energy in the 60s, early 70s and in Memphis in the 50s, when musicians made magic,” John said. However, in an evolving industry, music studies changed with the scene. “They had to change the textbooks and lessons back at the university classes because things changed so much.”
Along with studies, music platforms were re-imagined. Streaming music became a more popular way for consumers to get their hands on new releases. 
“Streaming music is a blessing and a curse,” said John. “Music has become both easily accessible while also having been devalued.” 
Nonetheless, John doesn’t take his environment for granted. In fact, he is able to create songs with a variety of instruments and songwriters’ input. 
“There are ways to find your own niche and artistry.”
He enjoys creating a piece with many layers of instruments. When John listens to other artists, he values the intricacy of various chords and the craft of blending sounds into a perfect harmony. When he draws inspiration from legends of music’s past, he values songs from the heart. 
Before the pandemic paused his ability to perform live, John expressed delight in the creative city that is the nation’s music capital. 
“Nashville has the most incredible live music everywhere you go,” he said. “Not to mention that the countryside on the outskirts is a beautiful sight.”
While in Nashville, John was involved in a project producing a music album with multiple artists. John was speechless when he was notified that the album was being considered for a Grammy award.
However, John often gets the feeling he used to when he performs live to this day. 
“Nerves always set in before I would get in front of crowds to perform,” he said. 
It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that those nerves became less distracting. He conceded that “over the past few years, I’ve felt way more comfortable.” 
He doesn’t worry whether people will like his music or not, but just creates to inspire and bring people together. 
“Music is the best form of therapy the world has to offer,” he said. “It brings out emotions and helps you get through your most difficult trials.”
His debut album was made with little production means at his disposal, but he is proud nonetheless. After one album, he was inspired to make more, each with a unique style.
John’s self-produced songs in his 2019 album entitled “Americana Dreams” captivate the right blend of rock and soul. From his debut solo album in 2013 to his latest mixes, John’s voice has evolved, but his heart has remained in the same place.
As a producer and CEO of Music First Productions Inc., John experiences the aspiring artist’s process of creating first-hand. When he sees potential, he follows his intuition. 
John wears many hats, from music teacher to booking agent to producer, but he values his time spent with his family. John shares his heart and patience with his 18-year-old daughter. As a single father, he’s proud of her and her natural pull to her passion for visual arts. 
But this December, he’s back to his roots. John looks forward to performing again in his hometown. On December 11 John is set to bring the night to life at The Temptation with a few of his classics. Then, on the evening of December 12, he will perform live at Ricaltini’s toy drive in Englewood. John encourages locals to drop off items for the toy drive and embrace the gift of giving.
As for the spring season, John is eager to release his new record, which may tug on a few heartstrings. The album will feature guest artists and his personal flare. 
“As with each album, this one will hold a special place in my heart,” he confessed.
John may not have had a choice when it came to his career, but he’s glad he didn’t. 
“With the gift I was given, I’ll never give it up.”
For more information or to check out John’s music, visit johnsalaway.com.