Hello! I’m Gary McDowell, a session musician based in UK
Like all musicians, I started off in my bedroom playing along to my favourite records, trying to master every note and pretending I was playing in front of thousands of people, when in fact, it was usually just my bedroom wall. Through the years, I crafted my skills in guitar, developed my own ways of playing and learning and in my late teens and early 20’s, was focussed on writing my own music. I had a particular writing style which in the UK at that time was not sought after. It was a blend of John Mayer ft. Ben Howard. I personally enjoy writing in this style and still do so to this day.
Being a session musician was brought to my attention from a friend who I had worked with previously on a music project. I accepted and to this day, has been one of the best decisions I had ever made.
My first big session job was in late 2017 playing for a country act supporting The Shires at a festival called Fyvie live playing to 4,000 people. I remember while on stage thinking, yeah this is it, this is what I want to do.
For the next year, I played for multiple artists from all parts of the UK with all different musical backgrounds. This really set the bar for me in a sense of how to play depending on the genre. Some would call it an eye opener, I thought of it more as a “ah yeah, I get it”.
Fast forward to 2019, I was going on tour supporting Sir Rod Stewart, 12 dates around the UK and Ireland. It was a lot of pressure, I mean, it doesn't come bigger than opening up for one of the biggest music legends of all time. The band I was playing for were virtually unknown but specifically requested from Rod himself so it helped win the fans over. In the space of 7 weeks I would play to over 200,000 people in stadiums and arenas.
I am so blessed to call this my job and to be able to make a living from doing exactly what I did when I was a kid in my bedroom. I just play a little better now!
My ambition is to just enjoy, take in and appreciate every damn second of every job I do. I truly believe that is the key to success.