Working construction and other odd jobs in the beach community of Oak Island about 15 years ago, Bryan Mayer was told he had a good voice and should try giving music a shot.
Today, he’s making trips to Nashville, Tenn., has shared the stage with some of country’s and southern rock’s top acts and has a video out for his song “Leaving Town.”
Mayer is scheduled to perform beginning at 9:30 p.m. Saturday at Kegs on West Main Street in Havelock.
Mayer said he was encouraged to play bass in his middle school band because of his height.
“I fell in love with it,” he said. “I ended up getting a guitar and started a garage band in the eighth grade.”
Mayer, the son of a former Harrier pilot who spent many years at Cherry Point, went to East Carolina University after graduating from New Bern High School in 1995.
“Maybe I was spending more time playing guitar than I was going to class,” he joked of his time at ECU. “College didn’t work out so well for me.”
He ended up in Oak Island and was playing guitar on a pier when a bartender encouraged him to play inside for tips.
“I played for maybe an hour or an hour and a half and made 40 or 50 bucks in tips,” Mayer said. “She asked me what I was doing the next weekend, and I said ‘nothing,’ and she told me she just canceled the band and I was going to play Friday and Saturday night.
“Once I got that taste of someone actually paying me to do something that I really enjoy and love, I was bit there. After some odd jobs of working in a fish market, delivering pizza and bartending and waiting tables, I became a full-time singer and song writer in 2005.”
Mayer, who some may know by the nickname “Stretch,” has performed across the Southeast. He’s opened for performers such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, Trace Adkins, Edward McCain, Craig Morgan, Colbie Caillat and the Marshall Tucker Band. He opened the WRNS Guitar Pull for Jana Kramer and Thompson Square Wednesday at Cherry Point.
Mayer’s CD, “Long Story Short,” has been out since late 2011 on QAM Records and is available through iTunes and Amazon, among others.
He later wrote the single “This is Me,” which has reached No. 127 on the country music charts mainly through local play on WRNS.
“I hope one day it will be a top 40 song, but to get to that you need to get that song spun on multiple radio stations,” Mayer said. “That’s not the end of it. The hope is that I can get some national spins in the near future and make it a top 40 song.”
He went to Nashville over the summer and with the help of Stokes Nielson of The Lost Trailers produced a video for the song “Leaving Town” that was released last month.
“It’s on YouTube and the hope is that it will get some airplay on CMT and GAC,” he said.
Mayer said the music business can be difficult.
“Unfortunately, I’ve realized it’s not always about talent,” he said. “I’ve seen karaoke singers in little dive bars who are teachers, construction workers and blue collar workers who have incredible voices. It’s about politics and it’s about people spreading the word about you.
“It’s the toughest business in the world. You can’t go get a degree and become a signed national artist. There’s no formula for you. You can go to law school and become a lawyer. There’s no rock and roll school that will give you the answers.”
Mayer believes the answers lie in continuing to write and play songs that people enjoy.
“To me, as long as I write good music that people love, that’s my goal,” he said. “If along the way it gains some national or worldwide attention through the Internet or through a record label, then that’s great. But, my goal is to deliver good music to my fans who appreciate the music that I write.
“I think that’s the focus you have to have. I think you have to keep that one foot in reality.”
Meanwhile, he’ll use the other in an attempt to kick in some doors in Nashville, where he’ll be going in December to record a new single, “I Want You Back Again.”
“All I can ask is for people to check out my music, download it and share it with their friends and family through social media and keep this train rolling,” he said.
To view Mayer's "Leaving Town" video, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtRsoGhYPds