Zac Brown is the founder, front man, and lead vocalist for the multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning, southern rock group Zac Brown Band. In addition to being the founding member of Zac Brown Band and leading it through its overwhelming success, Brown is also credited as an impactful songwriter, producer, record label head, business man, and philanthropist – making him one of the sharpest minds among today’s generation of artists focused on shifting the paradigm of the music business.Read More
Zac Brown is the founder, front man, and lead vocalist for the multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning, southern rock group Zac Brown Band. In addition to being the founding member of Zac Brown Band and leading it through its overwhelming success, Brown is also credited as an impactful songwriter, producer, record label head, business man, and philanthropist – making him one of the sharpest minds among today’s generation of artists focused on shifting the paradigm of the music business.
Brown was born in 1978 in Atlanta, Georgia and grew up in a family of 12 children. Later on, Brown attended the University of West Georgia and in 2002, founded Zac Brown Band. Since then, Brown’s passion shifted to music and he went on to start his own label, Southern Ground Artists, in 2003. From there, Brown’s first widely distributed studio album with Zac Brown Band, The Foundation, sold more than 5 million copies making the album 5x platinum following its release in 2008. The lead song off The Foundation, “Chicken Fried,” the band’s first national release, also went 5x platinum with over 5 million sales and over 255 million streams. Brown has released four studio albums, two live albums, a greatest hits album, and an extended play produced by Dave Grohl, all with Zac Brown Band - now completely made up with Brown along with Jimmy De Martini, John Driskell Hopkins, Clay Cook, Chris Fryar, Coy Bowles, Daniel de los Reyes, and Matt Mangano.
Zac Brown Band’s success can largely be attributed to Brown’s interest in pushing creative boundaries through collaborations with top artists across genres including Avicii, Chris Cornell, Jimmy Buffett, Foo Fighters, Sheryl Crow, Sara Bareilles, and Jason Mraz to name a few. Most recently, Brown worked with Shawn Mendes on writing his latest single with Zac Brown Band titled “Someone I Used To Know,” which debuted on Billboard’s Hot Country Song Chart the week of its release in Nov. 2018. The new material helped the band kick off its spring “Down The Rabbit Hole Live Tour” which toured through April 2019, and followed 2018’s 31-stop summer tour of the same name. “SIUTK” also marks a new era for Zac Brown Band, including the bands current summer tour, “The Owl Tour,” in support of the upcoming new album.
In December of 2018, Brown announced the launch of his new entertainment and lifestyle branded parent company, Zac Brown Collective, formerly known as Southern Ground. The reimagined company expanded its brand portfolio; further rising Brown’s artistic and entrepreneurial pursuits to new heights. Zac Brown Collective brings together the best in music, film, food, fashion, custom design, and American-made gear to form a company made up of brands that are fully grounded in the “American experience.”
Brown’s commitment to giving back has also been at the forefront of his career since day one when he founded Camp Southern Ground. The camp, Brown’s biggest passion, is an inclusive camp serving children ages 7-17 with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), ADHD, dyslexia, social or emotional challenges, and typically developing children. The camp’s off-season programming supports post 9/11 veterans in their readjustment to civilian life. Zac Brown Collective allocates funds and resources to the camp – making all of Brown’s work beneficial to a cause dear to his heart. In 2017, Brown was honored with the CRS Humanitarian Award, presented annually to musicians who use their careers to serve others in need and contribute to the greater good. The award was presented to Brown for his work supporting our nation's veterans and for his nonprofit passion project Camp Southern Ground.
Zac Brown Band is represented by William Morris Endeavor, SB Projects, communications and branding agency JONESWORKS, & Zac Brown Collective.
When I was a kid, I had a room that was next to my bedroom at my parent’s house. Actually, it was part of the attic. It was my world and secret passageway into music and all things creative and awesome. The walls were filled with photos of my favorite bands, musicians, and skateboarders that had been ripped out of magazines and stuck to the wall with thumbtacks and Scotch tape. There was a hammock in this musical, isolation chamber that was filled with sleeping bags and old pillows. I would sit in the hammock and listen to music everyday.Read More
When I was a kid, I had a room that was next to my bedroom at my parent’s house. Actually, it was part of the attic. It was my world and secret passageway into music and all things creative and awesome. The walls were filled with photos of my favorite bands, musicians, and skateboarders that had been ripped out of magazines and stuck to the wall with thumbtacks and Scotch tape. There was a hammock in this musical, isolation chamber that was filled with sleeping bags and old pillows. I would sit in the hammock and listen to music everyday. I would sing as loud as I could and fill my body with music. It gave me the feeling that I was connected with a force that drives all things amazing. I would picture myself on stages playing for people that were there for only one reason - to get away from life and become part of this connection with all things amazing. I dreamed of being in a band with other musicians that were so in tune with each other that when united we could soar to musical places that no other combination of people could reach. We would sing and play songs about life, struggles, and love. This imaginary stage, fans, and band were and have always been all I ever wanted. About five years ago, I opened my eyes and looked out at a sea of people who were connecting to the music playing. I looked up from my guitar and saw a stage full of my best friends, who are the most incredible musicians I know. I was living my dream. I am still living my dream. I am Coy Bowles and I play guitar, organ, and write songs in the Zac Brown Band.
I started playing guitar at age 11. By the time I was 13, I had a band called Betty Doom. We played punk rock and rock-n-roll music at churches and at friend’s birthday parties in my hometown, Thomaston, Georgia. It still seems ironic that we played punk rock in church. We had rehearsal at my house so all the instruments stayed set up in my bedroom. I taught myself how to play bass, drums, and write songs. Something always happened when a guitar was in my hand. I would start playing for what I thought was 30 minutes, but when my parents hollered up the stairs for dinner, hours would have flown by like some sort of time abyss. I was addicted to the feeling of being in on the know. By that I mean I was and have always been totally consumed with feeling like I am connected to this crazy energy by being able to play the guitar lick or sing the song that makes me feel like I’m alive.
I went to college for biology at West GA College where I met Zac. I later shifted gears right before graduating and decided that, do or die, I was a musician and that was all that mattered to me. During this period, I started tinkering with the piano as a different method for writing songs. I took a year off and practiced eight hours a day in order to get into Georgia State University’s Jazz Studies program. I played guitar everyday, all day, for four years while in college, totally consumed with the music of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and many others. I graduated and started my own band, Coy Bowles and The Fellowship. We opened for Zac Brown Band at the Sky Bar in Auburn, Alabama, and a week or two later, I got a call from Zac saying, “I like what you are doing with music. If you want to open for us full-time, the spot is there. Or if you want to leave your keys on stage and play keys with us on the next few shows then come on.” Years later, here I am! Still sitting in and loving every minute of it.
Oh yeah, I have also written four children’s book called Amy Giggles - Laugh Out Loud, Will Powers - Where There's a Will There's a Way, When You're Feeling Sick and Behind the Little Red Door.
I was born on April 20th, 1978 (send cash, not presents) in Atlanta, GA. Had a relatively simple, suburban upbringing. My interest in music was a little out of the ordinary for most 5 year olds. I was actually PLAYING guitar by 7. While everyone else was playing video games, I was practicing scale fingers & chord changes. I am still good at Tecmo Bowl though.Read More
Hello, Internet. This is awkward so I'll make it quick.
I was born on April 20th, 1978 (send cash, not presents) in Atlanta, GA. Had a relatively simple, suburban upbringing. My interest in music was a little out of the ordinary for most 5 year olds. I was actually PLAYING guitar by 7. While everyone else was playing video games, I was practicing scale fingers & chord changes. I am still good at Tecmo Bowl though.
Fast forward 10 years. They don't let you take 'guitar' in public school. Soooo, I gave up on being a 5'8" white boy in the NBA. I picked up drums in the fine arts department in high school. By the time I was auditioning for Berklee College of Music, I changed my principal instrument BACK to guitar.
Berklee was great. You get out of it what you put into it. I met some life long friends there as well. I spent two years there & decided to leave school with my then current bandmate, John Mayer. John & I moved from Boston to Atlanta & started writing songs together. That faded away & I joined my Uncle's band: The Marshall Tucker Band. I learned SO much while touring with them.
I left that group to play bass in the first line up of Sugarland (a line up that looks almost nothing like today's duo). During this time I also started producing & engineering records in the Atlanta area. Throw a nice long run with Shawn Mullins in the mix & fast forward to late 2008: I join Zac Brown Band full time. ZBB allows me to stretch out on a bunch of different instruments. It's funny, but I feel that my whole life has been preparing me to be in this band.
Anyway, I REALLY enjoy being in ZBB. Not sure how life could get much better... but nothing will surprise me at this point - well, maybe if Zac's head opened up & an alien popped out... actually, never mind. That wouldn't surprise me.
Where to start... I have been playing drum set and percussion instruments as far back as I can remember. I think I was probably banging inside my mother's womb until she could stand it no more and said "you're out of there" like an umpire in a baseball game. But on a serious note, from the day I was born I heard many different styles and rhythms of music due to the love my parents have for music. My mother is Puerto Rican/American and my father is Cuban/American. I clearly remember my mother always singing beautiful Puerto Rican melodies to us all the time when we were growing up. She loves to sing.Read More
DANIEL DE LOS REYES
Where to start…I have been playing drum set and percussion instruments as far back as I can remember. I think I was probably banging inside my mother's womb until she could stand it no more and said "you're out of there" like an umpire in a baseball game. But on a serious note, from the day I was born I heard many different styles and rhythms of music due to the love my parents have for music. My mother is Puerto Rican/American and my father is Cuban/American. I clearly remember my mother always singing beautiful Puerto Rican melodies to us all the time when we were growing up. She loves to sing.
I am honored to say I was born into a family that for three generations has been making a living at playing music. My grandfather, Walfredo de los Reyes II (trumpet player and singer), laid the family musical foundation by co-founding the famous Cuban orchestra in Cuba called Casino de la Playa. My grandfather lived in both Havana and New York City. My father, Walfredo de los Reyes III, went on to become one of Cuba’s most successful and well known drummers/percussionists before moving on to Puerto Rico and then the United States. My father’s musical credits range from Josephine Baker, Celia Cruz, Israel "Cachao" Lopez, Bennie More, Paul Anka, Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Bennett, Debbie Reynolds, and more. The list goes on and on. He is one of the first drummers to incorporate the drum set with congas and other percussion and take it to a level recognized throughout the world. My father blazed a wide path that many would follow. He continues to wow crowds with his drumming and percussion ability, extensive musical history and incredible enthusiasm. I am constantly in awe and learning from him every day. My grandfather and father both grew up and participated in the golden era of music, especially in Havana, Cuba, where they were involved in the creation of styles of music such as son, cha-cha-cha, mambo, and rumba. They both contributed to the evolution of Latin Jazz around the world during the free-form descarga years. Music has been flowing through my veins since the very beginning of my life.
So you can see how with the musical family that I come from, I did not have any choice in becoming a musician. Just kidding of course! I was surrounded by all different kinds of drums in our house growing up and was instinctively drawn to them, especially hand drums, as early as two years old. You know how you see kids banging away on kitchen pots and pans with a spoon and how excited they get? Well, that was me except I had access to real drumsticks, drum sets, and percussion instruments and used them to bang on anything within my reach. The minute I started hitting on things the way little children do, my father took the drumsticks in my hand and said, "This is the proper way you hold them." Drums have always been part of my life. When I was young I used to get bored very quickly just sitting and doing one thing at a time. Telling me to sit still was like telling a mosquito not to buzz! That is why drums and percussions are perfect for me. I get to use all four limbs at once. And by the way, to this day I am still like a mosquito always buzzing!
As for my early drum instruction, my dad was my first teacher. He always wanted to sit me down (the buzzing mosquito) to study technique and go over books like the drumming bible, George Lawrence’s Stick Control Book. I was 11 years old and would get very restless sitting there in front of a book and pad, All I wanted to do was go wild on the drums! So being very wise, he decided to put me with another drum teacher by the name of Irv Klooger. That was a great thing for me. Irv, being the cool Jazzer that he was, helped me a lot but with my family and amazing extended musical family around all the time, how can you turn into anything but a musician? At any time we would have these great musicians around our house: Joe Morello, Alan Dawson, Billy Cobham, Alex Acuña, Rogelio Darias, Roy Burns, Armando Peraza, Marcelino Valdez, Cachao, Louie Bellson, and on and on. Sometimes I would play alongside them when I was a young adult. By participating in their jam sessions, I was fortunate to absorb through osmosis the amazing feeling of expressing yourself musically with no restrictions. Those impromptu ‘lessons’ with these music legends were priceless to me. In addition my father would always take me to work with him. My childhood playgrounds were the backstage of theaters. I was always right next to him on stage while he would play the shows. A typical day would be the musicians would get to the rehearsal, they would see the written music for the first time, play the songs in the show one time through, and play two shows that night like they had been playing this music all of their life. It was amazing! In these back stages I was fortunate to have seen and met many incredible entertainers throughout my youth.
As a young adult I could not get enough of the drums and percussion instruments. I literally lived and breathed drums/percussion because I loved them so very much. I would take them apart, rebuild them, change the color of them, and build new instruments from scratch. I would practice all day long whenever I could. Sometimes I would fall asleep and wake up with the drums at my side. I know that sounds really crazy, me and my drums. What a love affair!
I definitely knew when I was in the 10th grade performing in front of a large crowd that I would go on to pursue a career as a professional drummer and percussionist. One of the funniest early moments that come to my mind was when I was in my late teens. I was playing drums in front of an audience in Las Vegas and we were playing Kool and the Gang's "Celebration" song. And yes, before you say anything, it was the disco days! Well, I think I was getting into the music and celebrating a little too much because when the band finished the song, I kept right on playing, oblivious to the ending. There I am playing drums on stage in front of a large crowd and the vocals and music stops. Dead silence. And then guess what? My very first DRUM SOLO!
Of all the hand percussion that I love to play, my favorite hand drum is the tumbadoras or congas as they are called in the United States. I have a very special love for hand percussion instruments in general because it is just your hands and the drum making the music. Tumbadoras are a very physical instrument and it takes a special devotion to get through the pain that you go through to get your hands in shape and to build your stamina when you first start playing. But what an incredible feeling you experience when you reach that point. What most people don't realize is that playing a whole night of hand percussion is a serious physical workout!
People often ask me what I personally like to do when I am not drumming or doing music of some sort. It probably won’t surprise people to learn that I love to express my creative side in all sorts of ways. I especially love to work with all different types of materials and tools. If it were left totally up to me, I would have an incredible workshop where I could build anything that I could dream up. I don't think very many people know that I also enjoy cooking and am actually pretty good at it or so I have been told. Plus give me a few power tools and I am also quite the handyman!
On the professional level, one of my most popular and successful inventions I have developed is the One Shot Shaker series from LP that provides a downbeat shake without the inevitable back-shake. Others include an innovative utility beater by Regal Tip that attaches to pedals for play on cowbells, woodblocks, and tambourines without sacrificing their natural sounds as well as the Daniel de los Reyes Signature Pro pad by DW (Drum Workshop) that incorporates timbales, cowbells, and congas all in a portable practice rig that easily fits in a backpack. Always creating and thinking of new ideas!
To switch gears, one of the most rewarding activities I have been doing a lot of in the last few years is reaching out to others in a variety of ways using the drum and rhythm programs I have created. Whether I am working with children, teens, adults, elderly, or special needs clients, I believe there is a drummer in everyone! I have been honored to create rhythm programs and events for a variety of clients such as Cirque du Soleil and NBA’s Miami Heat’s Alonzo Mourning and Dwayne Wade. In the future I look forward to taking my rhythm outreach programs to a more global audience.
And now I am very proud to be playing with the Zac Brown Band. Everyone within the organization and all the fans has been so welcoming to me. I am really looking forward to this journey together. Nothing but great things are created when you share music with a person who shows you his heart. And Zac’s heart is pure gold.
In addition to my current schedule with the Zac Brown Band, I have been incredibly blessed to perform on tour, record, TV, movie and video over the years with a virtual who’s who of music giants including Chicago, Don Henley, Earth, Wind & Fire, Sting, The Killers, Sheryl Crow, Patti LaBelle, Peter Frampton, Jennifer Lopez, Don Omar, Stevie Nicks, Louie Vega, Ricky Martin, Shakira, Lionel Richie, Kenny Ortega, Steve Winwood, and many others.
With all my years in the music business, if there is one thing I would like people to feel and take away when they see and hear me perform, it would be how happy one feels when you have the freedom to express your individuality in whatever way is right for you. It doesn't have to be through music like it is for me. It can be anything that you love with a passion and choose to pursue with all your heart. The greatest gift I could ever hope to share with another person would be to always encourage you to strive toward your dreams and enjoy the heck out of it. When people share their own personal stories with me and say I have inspired them in some small way … wow … now THAT makes me smile!
Music has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. While my parents didn’t play any instruments, they would always have music playing around the house and anytime we were in the car. The Police, Led Zeppelin, Paul Simon, The Beatles, Grateful Dead, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, and many more were all shaping my musical taste from an early age.Read More
JIMMY DE MARTINI
Music has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. While my parents didn’t play any instruments, they would always have music playing around the house and anytime we were in the car. The Police, Led Zeppelin, Paul Simon, The Beatles, Grateful Dead, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, and many more were all shaping my musical taste from an early age.
My interest in performing music didn’t begin until around the age of twelve. When attending middle school orientation I was introduced to the violin, which I was lucky enough to learn through high school. There I learned to read sheet music and play classical violin. But my heart was in being in a band, not an orchestra, so on the side, I was teaching myself to play guitar.
After high school I moved to Athens, GA to attend college. But, college was short-lived after joining my first band The Hill. That was the first time I fell in love with performing music. The Hill was a rock/jam band of original music and it was then I learned about the recording process, touring, and writing music.
After The Hill had run its course I found myself looking for a new project which landed me with the Dave Matthews Cover Band (DMCB) out of Athens, GA. Playing in the tribute band was a great experience for me. I was already a big fan of the Dave Matthews Band when I joined, as DMB was a big influence in my music. Also, it was my first time regularly touring nationwide. I built many memories with a great group of guys, but we all knew it was a temporary gig, as everybody felt unfulfilled without writing and performing original music.
After 4 great years with DMCB, we split up, and I found myself again looking for the next opportunity. During this time was when I met my then future wife Stacey. She has been the rock of my life and since then has blessed me with two beautiful boys, James and Joseph.
About a year after DMCB, I was playing one of my odd gigs around town, when the greatest opportunity of my life found me. I was playing in a small bar/restaurant with a fellow musician in Atlanta. After the gig, then bartender, Wyatt Durrette called me over to the bar and asked me if I knew Zac Brown. I told him I had heard of him, as Zac had begun making a name for himself around town. Wyatt passed on Zac’s number to me and I gave him a call. He had me out the next night to play a gig in a sports bar with him and I was blown away by Zac’s performance. It was a treat to be able play with such a talent and a no-brainer when he asked me to continue to play with him.
Soon after John Hopkins joined the band, we thought of naming the band Zac Brown and the (insert band name here), but decided to go with Zac Brown Band. I’ve always felt this shows great homage to the rest of us lucky enough to play with Zac, and his philosophy of this being a team effort. The band we have now are not only some of the best musicians in the world, but guys I will have as friends for life. I count my blessings every day to be in such an amazing band.
James (boy), Joseph (boy), and Jackson (boy) are Jimmy's babies. Jimmy will be having a little girl in April.
I hit things! That's what I do. I guess it makes me one of the most laid-back people I know. I suggest you try it...hitting drums, that is! When you see me onstage with a smile on my face, it's because I LOVE what I do. I was born in November of 1970, and according to my mom, I was an easy-going, laid-back, happy child. She also claims that I was singing and banging on pots and pans at a very early age...but I don't really remember any of that.Read More
I hit things! That's what I do. I guess it makes me one of the most laid-back people I know. I suggest you try it...hitting drums, that is! When you see me onstage with a smile on my face, it's because I LOVE what I do.
I was born in November of 1970, and according to my mom, I was an easy-going, laid-back, happy child. She also claims that I was singing and banging on pots and pans at a very early age...but I don't really remember any of that. I got my first guitar at the age of six, and my first pair of drumsticks at the age of eleven. I joined the junior high school band program which is where I began learning my craft and really developing my love for making all kinds of music. I continued to musically grow and learn all through high school. During high school I decided to really pursue a career in music. My parents wanted me to go to college. You know, "just in case". After high school, I attended North Texas State University briefly, as well as the Mississippi University for Women. No, seriously. Go ahead and finish chuckling...I'll wait. Apparently, my professors at MUW saw something in me that I couldn't see in myself at the time, because they advised me to quit school and get out on the road with a band. So I did. I quit school and began pursuing the life of a working musician.
My journey has been long, sometimes easy, sometimes difficult, but always very fun... I have played in more bands than I can recall, in more bars than I care to remember, and have made lots of music along the way. I can honestly say that playing with Zac and the guys is one of the most (if not THE most) enriching, fulfilling, and challenging musical ventures I have ever been a part of, and I am very grateful to be able to make music with them.
All in all, I can truly say that I absolutely love what I do for a living and that I feel extremely blessed to be able to do it. I still consider myself an ardent student of music and drumming. I hope I never stop learning about it. I have always been fascinated by music and its ability to transcend, communicate, express, and affect.
The only thing that fascinates me as much as music? My wife and daughters. Without their love and support, I would be truly lost. They are the "yin" to my musical "yang". They give me balance and keep me very grounded...and I love them more than words could ever express.
Hopefully one day I will truly understand what makes music so special...probably about the same time I truly understand the manifestation of an estrogen-driven wardrobe crisis.
Howdy, folks. John Driskell Hopkins here. I was born in San Antonio, Texas on May 3, 1971 at Lackland AFB and I was raised in Gainesville, GA. (Go Big Red)
I have been singing since I could talk. Like a lot of us who grew up in the South, my earliest musical experiences were in the church choir. Choir was a great place to gain a real understanding of vocal harmony and musical structure.
JOHN DRISKELL HOPKINS
I have been singing since I could talk. Like a lot of us who grew up in the South, my earliest musical experiences were in the church choir. Choir was a great place to gain a real understanding of vocal harmony and musical structure. In fifth grade, I started piano lessons and began to learn about music theory in it's simplest forms. Later, I applied what I had learned to my Dad's old Martin guitar knock off that I found under the bed. I started playing guitar and bass in high school and formed my first band with my buddies. We were called Only For Tomorrow and we played mostly U2 and REM covers. Poorly...
Having always been heavily involved in the theatre throughout high school, I went on to graduate Florida State University with a degree in General Theatre in 1993. My band at FSU was called The Woodpeckers. We played every bar in Tallahassee, I think, and later released a CD under the name Distant Relatives. I was the lead singer. I will always treasure that experience and the guys I played with. Being in that band showed me that a life in music was not only possible, but attainable and sustainable.
After college, I moved home to Atlanta and formed the band Brighter Shade with great guys that I still play with today. We have released two independent albums and played countless gigs. When Brighter Shade's gig schedule slowed down in the early 2000s, I began to focus more on producing and writing in my studio which I named after the band. I recorded, produced and performed on many different records with many different artists during those years. One of them was named Zac Brown.
I met Zac at CJ's Landing in Buckhead in 1998. I was hosting their Tuesday night open mic night and Zac came to perform. I met Sonia Leigh there as well, coincidentally. It was a fabulous platform for new talent. Borrowing from Eddie's Attic, we made the open mic a small competition and I awarded winners a small cash prize and a song in my studio. Sonia actually won one of them...
Zac and I remained friends over the years and in 2001 we began recording together on what would eventually become his Home Grown album in 2003. We chipped away at it piece by piece as he was already very busy with gigs both in the Atlanta area and regionally. It was in the studio with Zac and Shawn Mullins in February of 2005 that I heard the beginnings of "Toes". Zac had come in to demo the song and work through some of the kinks. I'm a pretty good kink straightener. It was then that I learned that Zac was in need of a bass player. I volunteered to sit in until he found a permanent player.
I truly believe that my intentions at the time were merely to get out and have some fun with my buddy and step aside when he found someone to play bass. I have always known that singing harmony comes very naturally to me and I'm a very meat and potatoes bass player that loves following the kick drum. What I didn't really expect is that we would all play together so effortlessly. After a few weeks, I said to Zac "If you're not still looking, then I'm staying." The crowds were becoming rabid. One time, this huge guy got so into our performance, he repeatedly smashed his hand into an already broken glass on the front of our stage. We played six nights a week and packed the bar every night. Jimmy and I exchanged glances while opening for Angie Aparo and I remember thinking, "Damn. We've really got something here."
The next three years were sometimes brutal, sometimes hysterical, sometimes glorious, but always magical. We were going to call it Zac Brown and The Grit, but instead we named it Zac Brown Band. We played over 260 shows in 2006. We recorded half of The Foundation at my studio and half in Nashville. Some weeks we made negative money and other weeks we made up for it. We rode in an airport shuttle death trap up into the Rockies and back down to Miami. Guys got divorced. Guys got married. Babies got born. Families got built. Dreams got realized. When Chicken Fried made it to the radio in 2008, the sky opened up.
Being in this band has taught me so much about myself. It has made me realize a lot about who I am and who I want to be. It is a band where anything is possible and there are no limits to what can be achieved. The music that we write and perform has a Southern identity, but is in many ways without genre. We never come to the table with a preconceived notion of what the music should or shouldn't be. We debate. We disagree. We celebrate. We rejoice. In the end, we stand together and we often marvel at what has come to pass this far. It's an incredible journey filled with incredible people, and it has only just begun.
Hello everyone. My name is Matt Mangano and I play the bass. I'm honored to be the newest member of Zac Brown Band. Having been the director of Southern Ground Studios, I've been around the gang for a few years, so it already feels like home. Since you may not know me yet, I'll share a little bit about myself.Read More
Hello everyone. My name is Matt Mangano and I play the bass. I'm honored to be the newest member of Zac Brown Band. Having been the director of Southern Ground Studios, I've been around the gang for a few years, so it already feels like home. Since you may not know me yet, I'll share a little bit about myself.
I was born May 12, 1976 in Visalia, CA, the heart of the San Joaquin Valley. My parents raised my two sisters and I well, and have always been supportive of my musical journey. At a young age, I was exposed to my dad's Martin guitar and my grandmother's baby grand piano, both of which I now have in my home. When I was 10 years old, I learned to play the saxophone and the guitar. As a freshman in high school, in order to join the school's Jazz Band, I learned to play the bass. I'm thankful for my years in the high school band. Our instructor, Mr. Dennis Bettencourt, provided a safe and nurturing environment for us to explore our musical abilities. I feel that music education is very important and should be promoted in schools.
After high school, and a brief stint at Visalia's College of the Sequoias, I enrolled in the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. It was here that I met many important people in my musical life, including Clay Cook, John Mayer, fiddle-virtuoso Casey Driessen, and bassist Mark Kelley. I engaged in a variety of studies, from music theory to audio production. But it was what I did out of the classroom that had a real impact on me. In my dorm-room "recording studio," I helped my friends record their songs. Among these was John Mayer's "Comfortable," which is a trademark song from his early years.
I graduated from Berklee and moved to Atlanta, GA, where I began playing the local bar scene. Soon after, I was hired for my first real tour as the bassist for Michelle Malone. It was also around this time when I met Zac Brown. I began occasionally playing with Zac at bars around West Georgia. In 2001, I had the opportunity to tour as a guitarist with John Mayer on his Room For Squares tour. I got to see, firsthand, the making of a pop music sensation, and learned about the crazy inner-workings of the music business.
Once in a while, when you're young, you can get carried away with the way you live your life. In 2002, I decided to leave John's band and move to Nashville, TN, return to life as a bass player, and hone my skills in recording music. I became immersed in the bluegrass and singer/songwriter scene. I found myself playing bass for some fantastic songwriters such as Darrell Scott, Dave Barnes, Matt Wertz, and Shawn Mullins.
In 2008, Zac and I reconnected when he asked me to help him work on the three records that would be the foundation of Southern Ground Artists. That job led to a full-time position working for SGA, recording and producing music. In early 2012, I helped Zac with the founding of Southern Ground Nashville, one of Nashville's finest recording facilities.
On a personal level, I love spending my free time with my wife Emily, our son Elliott and daughter Maia. I enjoy gardening, cooking, and Wikipedia surfing. I don't follow any sports, but enjoy watching a game from time to time. I'm fascinated by autonomous motion and electricity, and I'm just beginning a pocket watch collection.
Thanks for reading, and always ENJOY MUSIC.