Gavin O'Brien

BETHALTO - A local artist is climbing to new heights with an upcoming show at Busch Stadium.

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Gavin O’Brien, a 21-year-old musician from Bethalto, will participate in 105.7 The Point’s “Battle at Busch” on May 20, 2024. This is his biggest show so far, and he can’t wait to watch his career expand.

“It’s been my biggest passion, my biggest dream for as long as I can remember,” O’Brien said. “It still is.”

O’Brien said he has been playing music since he was a little kid. He began writing in high school, and he released his first song in 2020. Over the years, he has taught himself how to play guitar, bass and keyboard, and he learned how to play drums on his brother’s drum kit. He prides himself on producing his own music and playing every instrument in every song.

While it’s difficult for him to categorize himself as an artist, O’Brien noted that he takes inspiration from artists like The Beatles, Tame Impala, Mac DeMarco and Alvvays, a band he recently saw live. He pointed out that technically, all of his music is considered indie since he produces it himself.

“I’m all over the place in my genres. I don’t know if it’s a curse or a blessing,” he laughed. “It’d probably be categorized towards rock but it also is folksy sometimes. It also can have influences from pop music. My biggest influences are mostly The Beatles or experimental artists or a lot of the newer artists in the indie scene. I’m really into that stuff.”

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For O’Brien, music has served as a means of connection. He said he always felt like an outsider because he was busy “doing [his] own thing.” But music is a way for him to share his passion with others, whether he’s enjoying a local band, jamming out at a concert, or playing his own shows.

The Bethalto native said that it can be difficult to break into the music scene, especially when you’re from a small town. Most venues are interested in cover bands, not new artists. He has been thankful for the chance to play different venues throughout the Metro East region so he can share his work with audiences.

“I think it’s definitely harder to pursue a music career in an area like this,” he said. “It is interesting. It is kind of a challenge when you are from a really small town, like in the Midwest, and you’re trying to pursue a music career. Most of these big artists, they come from places that are more open to new artists and stuff.”

With that in mind, O’Brien is interested in taking his act on the road. He hopes to tour with another band soon so he can “branch out from the local scene.” His music and social media pages have already reached people around the country, and he has enjoyed connecting with new fans and music lovers.

In addition to the Busch Stadium show, O’Brien will be back in Alton soon for a show at The Conservatory on June 21. He’s also opening for The Foxies in St. Louis later this summer, which he’s looking forward to.

“That’s a big deal, playing these bigger shows,” he added. “It’s been really exciting. It feels like I’m definitely moving up the ladder from where I used to be.”

For more information about O’Brien’s performance at Busch Stadium on May 20, check out the Facebook event page. To follow O’Brien and learn more about the local indie artist, visit his official Facebook page or Instagram profile.

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