Ron Gallo is a rock musician, singer, and songwriter known for his contemplative and honest lyrics. He began a solo career in 2014, and has released several EPs and two albums: “Heavy Meta,” and this year’s “Stardust Birthday Party.” His popular song, “Young Lady You’re Scaring Me” has been streamed over 16 million times on Spotify.
If you were to peruse over the schedule for Grand Ole Opry, you’d know that Ron is currently touring his newest album, and performed in Indianapolis last week. I met up with Ron and his band while they were eating dinner before the show, and we talked about his background, his inspirations, and the importance of taking time to be alone with yourself.
Julia Bluhm: So this album focuses a lot on self reflection and paying attention to the moment that you’re in. What inspired you to make an album about this?
Ron Gallo: Well, I guess just from my own experiences of doing those things, which were pretty unfamiliar because most of my life I’ve kind of avoided that. I kind of avoided myself forever. And then life just kind of gets to a point, or at least for me it did, where you have to stop and look– like really look– for the first time at yourself. Sometimes that involves questioning your whole idea of what reality is and being open to the idea that maybe it’s not what you thought it was. That kind of begins this life long process. It’s interesting to turn inward like that for the first time.
JB: Was that a sudden awakening for you? Did an event spark that, or was it gradual?
RG: Sort of. It began with a friend of mine who went to South America to live in a Shamanic community for a year. So I just sort of started looking up stuff, stuff to read about turning inward like that, and it peaked my interest. When you witness a transformation with someone else, you realize that maybe there’s more than what meets the eye. Every person in your life can kind of serve as a mirror, if you’re paying attention. But it was a combination of things.
JB: I read that you meditated too?
RG: I’ve been toying with that for the last couple of years. And I actually ended up going on a retreat committed to silence and meditation which was really good for me. Shutting up and turning off your phone for a week is really eye-opening, especially in the modern day. It really starts to show you what’s there underneath all the noise. That’s where the good stuff is. It also helped me realize that human beings in general are a complete mystery. That’s the weird truth that no one wants to admit, so that’s why we cling to our false identities because it’s easier than accepting that our world and life and everything is unknown and it will always be unknown. I think that’s why people run from meditation and taking time to be alone with yourself. I still do. We all do.
JB: Is that what your song and music video “Do You Love Your Company” is about?
RG: Yeah. Kind of the discomfort of sitting with yourself for a minute and fearlessly looking at the situation. It’s like looking into a void. If you really, really break it down you realize “I have no idea what’s going on besides that story that I’ve created and tell myself every day.”
JB: What was the process of making this album like?
RG: It was crammed between tours. We didn’t really feel like we made a record. We toured forever, were home for fifteen minutes and recorded an album and then went back on tour. There was no romantic, fun, creative story. A lot of the songs were just written over time, while we were on the road. We didn’t overthink it. We kind of just did it.
JB: How do you like touring? Are you in your element right now?
RG: This is great. I think this tour is and will be great, and our tour in April was amazing. I’m with friends, visiting beautiful places. Sometimes it can be tough though. We did a European tour that was like a month long, and that was tough for me for sure. Touring can be so taxing, so if you don’t allow that time to rebuild, it can break you down pretty quickly.
JB: Can you tell me about your background? Have you always wanted to be a musician?
RG: I don’t know how I got started. I don’t really have any idea. I asked for a guitar when I was like twelve years old for Christmas. For no reason at all. There was no big ah-ha moment, I just got one. And I didn’t know how to even hold it correctly or play it. Then I decided that I was fit to be a singer and guitarist in a band in high school, and neither of those things were true. The first time I ever played in a live setting was at an open-mic and my friend did an acoustic medley of Dave Matthews songs. There was never a realization that it was what I should or shouldn’t or even wanted to be doing. And I didn’t have any natural ability so it didn’t really make sense but I just kind of stuck with it. With my previous band, that was the first band I toured with, it started to become a little more clear. I liked touring, and I always liked writing songs. That’s always been the main thing for me.
JB: What’s your favorite song from the album?
RG: I really like the song “Love Supreme (Work Together!).” I feel like that’s becoming the main part of the show, like the sentiment of that song, especially now. It has this general vibe of unity and bringing people together, especially in a time where there’s so much chaos. I think it’s an important thing to remember.