WVU alumnus makes his mark in the music industry
Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2013 23:02
About four years ago, a close group of friends were on their way to a vacation at the beach. The group had grown up together in Braxton County, W.Va. Among them was musician Kevin Hamric.
The beach, family and friends were all the ingredients Hamric needed to write a song for his young nieces called "Solar Powered Love." Of course, the newly released Jack Johnson album may have added some inspiration, as well.
"I think Jack Johnson had just released a new album, so that was resonating in my head," Hamric said, "It wasn’t the first song I had written for (my nieces), but it was probably the most accessible to other people. This was one that everybody could kind of gravitate toward."
When he wrote it, he knew he had a good song on his hands, but he had no idea that "Solar Powered Love" would win him a first place trophy. Sure enough, years later, the judges of the 2013 WVU faculty/staff talent show crowned him this year’s winner for his performance.
Of the 14 competitors that night, Hamric was easily one of the fan favorites. Even co-host Daryn Vucelik couldn’t resist his charm on stage.
"When I asked him to play the soundtrack to my life, I wasn’t joking. I was so impressed," she said.
By the time he was 10 years old, Hamric was already writing and playing the guitar, and by age 14, he was beginning to share his passion with anyone who would listen.
In 2005, he graduated from WVU’s Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism and did marketing work for a physical therapy company in Morgantown. He also did some freelance writing for the Dominion Post, covering the bar beat and sometimes music. After a short time, he was back at WVU, working as a Public Relations Specialist for WVU Healthcare at Ruby Memorial Hospital.
Making a career out of music has always been a dream for Hamric, who just recently turned 30, and though he picks up his guitar for at least a few minutes every day, he never wanted to become famous.
"A career in music, yeah," he said. "Maybe not so much fame and spotlight, but songwriting is really fun ... All these artists we love can’t even go to the grocery store. I could never imagine that. So I don’t think that’s ever been the dream, but a career in music, yeah, that would be cool."
Aside from music, the WVU employee has a number of other hobbies.
Hamric has traveled the country backpacking; his favorite places are Yellowstone and Arches National Park in Utah. He said one day he would like to hike the Appalachian Trail.
As for his future in music, Hamric is content to play, write and perform for pure enjoyment. However, he would like to do some more recording in the future.
"For a while now, for quite a few years, its just been fun to do," he said. "I would like to record a little more often. I play live, and I write songs, and while I might record them at home, I don’t really go into the studio."
Hamric often plays shows at Black Bear, both Downtown and on Evansdale, as well as other places around town and across the state. Depending on the venue and his audience, Hamric’s shows usually consist of 80-90 percent original tunes, influenced by everything from the old time country and bluegrass he grew up on to classic rock to the grunge bands of the ‘90s.
"There were so many influences from the get-go," he said. "The one that’s my personal favorite, probably, is the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Those are just guys who make music for the right reasons. But, I mean, I listen to everything from metal to bluegrass."
Recently, Hamric got together with friend and drummer Leo Schlosnagle, as well as a bassist and lead guitarist. They make up a band called The Roils.
"We’re trying to work out the kinks and set up shows for this spring," he said. "(The Roils) have a lot of the same feel as my acoustic stuff. There’s some alternative country in there, but I think it leans more toward the indie rock and indie folk side of things."
Hamric takes the stage at Black Bear again tonight from 6:30-9 p.m.
"I’d be a terrible PR man if I didn’t encourage people to find me online (Twitter, Facebook, ReverbNation) and come out to hear me when I play around town," Hamric said.