Concordia graduate kicks off solo tour and debut album Notes from a Bedroom
Greg Halpin is coming to a bedroom near you. The singer-songwriter and guitarist kicked off his North American tour on Sept 30, following the release of his first solo album, Notes from a Bedroom, on Sept 23. Before heading to New York City for his first tour performance, Halpin performed his complete new album for the first time at Concordia’s Oscar Peterson Concert Hall on Sept 30.
The musician’s “Bedroom Tour” is not your typical music show. Halpin will perform his tunes in different people’s bedrooms in cities across North America. People have invited Halpin to perform in their rooms, where they can invite friends to be part of the intimate audience. This concept was inspired by his new album, which was recorded entirely in Halpin’s bedroom.
Halpin graduated from Concordia in 2010 with a liberal arts degree and a minor in music. You might have heard him busking in front of the Guy-Concordia metro or performing with his previous indie-pop band.“My first band was called a lot of different things, but mainly it was known as HonheeHonhee. We toured across Canada a few times,” said Halpin. Stefan Fudakowski-Gow, a Concordia mechanical engineering graduate and former HonheeHonhee band member, is the person who first inspired Halpin to venture into guitar-playing and songwriting. “I started playing the guitar when I was 10 years old with Stefan,” said Halpin. “He lived down the street from me and he wrote songs—I never tried to write any songs until I met this friend.”
Halpin’s solo debut was inspired by one particular song he wrote back in college called “Notes from a Bedroom.” Ever since he wrote it, Halpin said, he had been pondering the idea of developing the song into a solo album.“I liked the title, and I knew it was an idea that I could explore further,” he said. “I was really getting into Bob Dylan’s earlier albums at the time, where it was just him and his guitar. I liked the idea of music all coming from one person.”
It was in 2014 that this idea flourished, when Halpin met producer Howard Bilerman. He had wanted to record with Billerman ever since his HonheeHonhee Canadian tour. “I met Howard two years ago, and talked to him about this project that I had. He was on board from the beginning. He lent me his equipment and advised me through the recording process,” said Halpin.
Two years later, Halpin achieved his goal of releasing a solo album. He said the process of creating Notes from a Bedroom was as personal as it gets. “It was a really raw creative process,” he said. “I wanted people to feel like they are in my bedroom, and that they are coming into this intimate space.” Some of his new songs are a bit graphic, and most of his lyrics are unfiltered thoughts. “You might be shocked when hearing some of the songs, and that was intentional. I wanted to invite people into my private state of mind,” said Halpin. He said he wants his music and lyrics to connect with the minds of his listeners. “When someone expresses a thought that has been in my mind and I hear it in a song, that’s when I connect to the music,” said Halpin. He tried to further this connection with the bedroom tour concept— a room where you can be your naked self and reveal your natural thoughts, where you can see if you can truly connect with someone. “There are some things that I’ve thought about but I’ve never really said out loud, so I want to dive into that as deep as I can with my lyrics” said Halpin.
He said he wrote one of his songs when a bunch of random words popped into his head during a soundcheck. The words came along with a melody, and he bounced off stage to jot them down so he wouldn’t forget. “I read Bob Dylan’s autobiography where he said that writing a song is kind of like trying to remember a dream. You have an idea, you don’t know what it is exactly, and you’re struggling to remember it,” said Halpin. Those words and that melody became one of Notes from a Bedroom’s hit singles, “One Last Love.” The song took two years to complete. “I was happy that I got through it but it was a long process,” said Halpin.
When Halpin toured in May 2016, before the album was finished, he played a few songs from Notes from a Bedroom. He played in Toronto, Ottawa, Kingston and some cities in the US. During that tour, he also performed in people’s bedrooms. “For the first tour I mostly played in people’s houses that I knew. I also found a few strangers. It’s all about reaching out to friends and friends of friends,” said Halpin. Along for the ride was Matthew Raudsepp, a former HonheeHonhee band member, who filmed Halpin’s first bedroom tour performances. Raudsepp is using the footage to create a documentary called The Bedroom Tour, and will be submitting the film to various festivals.
Halpin’s latest tour is much bigger than the last. He’s visiting more bedrooms across many more cities, including New York City, Denver and Los Angeles. “I’ve never been anywhere in California, so I’m very excited to be playing in LA,” Halpin said. The tour will wrap up in Toronto on Nov 6. Halpin said he hopes to play for as many people as possible. “I’m still looking for people interested, if anyone knows of a bedroom in need of some music,” said Halpin.
If you’re interested in having Halpin perform in your bedroom, contact Halpin through his facebook page “Greg Halpin Music.”