Toronto-Based Singer-Songwriter Gary Beals Shares Thoughts On New Single “I Like That” + More

Kat Harlton

Photos: Fabian Di Corcia

Toronto-based singer-songwriter, Gary Beals, recently released his new single “I Like That” on August 18th via all streaming platforms.

Produced by Frizzy Astro, “I Like That” is a collaboration with the incredible talents of JUNO Award winner JRDN and KAYO. The song explores themes of love, self-assurance, and the pursuit of genuine connections in a world filled with distractions, and follows the success of Gary’s two recent singles, “Good People, Good Vibes,” and “All of Me,” released earlier this year. 

The official music video dropped on August 18 also. Directed by Joel Jennex (JRDN, KAYO), the video was filmed in his home province of Nova Scotia and is a visual representation of Gary’s mission to uplift spirits and encourage others to embrace their own potential and the blessings life has to offer. 

Gary’s musical journey began two decades ago when he, a small-town kid from Nova Scotia, burst onto the national stage as part of Canada’s inaugural season of Canadian Idol. This September marks the 20th anniversary of the finale where Gary was crowned as the “runner up” on the show. The experience ignited a transformative period of self-reflection and discovery that propelled Gary toward personal growth, shaping his life and musical career in lasting ways.

Fast forward through three albums and twenty years, Gary’s work and talent have made a remarkable impact and received widespread critical acclaim. Some of his achievements include debuting in the top 10 of the Canadian sales chart, being nominated for a JUNO Award for “Best R&B/Soul Recording,” winning an East Coast Music Award and seven African Nova Scotia Music Awards, as well as scoring nominations for an Urban Music Award and a Canadian Radio Music Award. Due to his success, the Premier of his home province even proclaimed November 22nd as Gary Beals Day.

With his return, Gary is poised to make a positive impact on the ever-expanding global community as he prepares to release his new album The Melody Within this October. 

I had the opportunity to chat with Gary about his musical journey so far, his new single, and what’s next.

Kat: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your music journey so far?

Gary: My name is Gary Beals, originally from Cherry Brook, Nova Scotia, now based in Toronto, Ontario. My musical journey started in the church, where I discovered my passion for singing. Further immersed in melodies, my parents’ vinyl collection introduced me to artists like Al Green, James Brown, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, and Gladys Knight, shaping my musical style along with the likes of Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. Away from the stage, I cherish time with friends, making memories and sharing laughter. Nature shaped my youth, fostering my love for outdoor activities. My desire for travel has taken me to places like vibrant New Orleans, serene Hawaii, captivating South Africa, enchanting Amsterdam, stunning Amalfi Coast, and romantic Venice.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have released three studio albums, each a testament to my musical journey. This path has also led me across borders, gracing stages both nationally and on the international scene. I’m super excited as I prepare to unveil a compilation of new songs that make up my 4th music release. The excitement is truly unparalleled.

Kat: Can you talk about the inspiration behind your new single “I Like That”?

Gary: The new single’s inspiration came from my wish to do an artist collaboration and team up with talent who I felt could add a fresh touch to the music. I clicked musically with JRDN during a song writing session, and then later I was introduced to Kayo’s music. I felt both artists were just the right fit for the song, and it all fell into place naturally. It was also important to me to collaborate with artists from Nova Scotia, like JRDN. The song is a bit of a tribute to Nova Scotia, an ode to the people of my home province who have been supportive of me personally and professionally. Lyrically, I aimed for a positive vibe, celebrating life and the great people in it.

Kat: What do you hope fans take from the track?

Gary: I hope fans feel the lively spirit of the single and enjoy the wonderful vibes it brings this summer. It’s a feel-good song that’s all about appreciating the special people in our lives who make everything better. It’s a celebration of the amazing connections we share.

Kat: What do you find is the most challenging part of your creative process?

Gary: The trickiest part of my creative process is starting out and finding the right people to collaborate with. It’s like dating – meeting different producers to see if we vibe. The biggest challenge is connecting on an energy level, not just being impressed by their talent. Once I find the right collaborators, though, the rest is a blast. Creating the magic becomes pure fun!

Kat: What has been a career highlight for you so far? What have you learned along the way?

Gary: A major highlight in my career has been working on my fourth studio album. As an independent artist, I’m proud to release music my way, staying true to my vision. Having control over the creative process and making sure the music reflects my current journey is truly a blessing. I had the chance to collaborate with over 7 producers and oversee the project’s direction. This made sure the album has a consistent, enjoyable sound. Through this experience, I’ve learned to trust the process and be intentional about every release. Meaningful music is always my goal.

Kat: What else are you currently working on now, and what can fans expect from you for the remainder of this year?

Gary: I’m getting ready to release more new singles soon, followed by an album later this year. We’re planning an album release party for the new music, and I can’t wait to hear what fans think. I’m also working on music videos for each single, which I love doing. Collaborating with others and bringing the music to life visually is a process I enjoy. Keep an eye out for more music and performances!

Gary Beals Upcoming Show Dates

August 28, 2023 – Scarborough, ON – Clark Centre for the Arts

September 23, 2023 – Windsor, ON – Legends Of Motown Show: The Chrysler Theatre 

September 29, 2023 – Guelph, ON – Legends Of Motown Show: River Run Centre

October 27, 2023 – Montreal, QC – Legends Of Motown Show: Place des Arts – Théâtre Maisonneuve

October 28, 2023 – Quebec City, QC – Legends Of Motown Show: Palais Montcalm

November 4, 2023 – Toronto, ON – Legends Of Motown Show, Roy Thomson Hall

Instagram: @garybealsmusic
Facebook: garybealsmusic

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