For many of us, we pursue a career path after choosing a career we think is best. Sometimes those choices seem to be perfect, while other times it is clear we made a mistake. Then there are the moments of an unexpected calling for some. For middle school teacher AJ Gatio, a career in music seems to have chosen him.
With the recent release of his debut EP Music City Mixtape Vol. 1, Gatio is discovering more about the music industry than he ever planned to. During our conversation we tackled topics such as playing football in high school and college, teaching and bartending. I also discovered that we do not root for the same team; however, he was a great sport about it considering my team beat his team the day of our interview. Go Steelers.
All joking aside, I found that Gatio is a very fun and down to earth artist. Listening to him tell the story of how music found him was inspiring. Though he may not share this new path with his students just yet, I have a feeling that the cat will be out of the bag soon. Music and education simply belong together.
For anyone, making a big move to chase your dreams can be scary yet exciting. I am often told by the musicians I speak with that for them, moving to Nashville is not just a choice it is essential for their overall success. While speaking with Gatio, he indeed concurred with the other artists. Hearing him recall the story of how his move to Nashville took place and how he found his first roommate was fun. Trust me, not everyone has such a positive outcome when it comes to moving in with a total stranger.
While speaking to Gatio further, we discovered that we both have a love for Belcourt Taps in Nashville. I immediately asked him if he had ever been to its affiliate Alley Taps and as it turns out, not only does he love it there, we both know the owner and consider him a friend. Tom Kiermaier has been an amazing friend to Center Stage Magazine and many of the artists that call Nashville home. While discovering this information, both Gatio and I realized that we missed our opportunity for an on-camera interview while attending this year’s CMA Fest. After sharing some laughs, I realized I was glad I had the opportunity to get to know this artist.
His newest single “Roll With It” is on Spotify and iTunes. You can also find him on social media, so send him a shout out and tell him that I sent you. ~Missy