For Astoria singer/songwriter Bryce Larsen, music has always been a lifelong interest.
Larsen, who was born in Virginia and grew up on Long Island, said that he’s the only person in his family to be a musician. As a child, he remembers plunking out tunes on his grandmother’s piano and memorizing children’s songs.
As Larsen’s interest in music grew, he started writing his own songs as early as elementary school and added that he needed to do that before learning other people’s songs.
“I developed my own style that way,” said Larsen, who described his style as “soulful rock.” “I take influences from so many different places and there’s not really a style of music that I dislike. To me, if it came from the heart, if it feels like it was real, then I like it.”
Even though Larsen has always been involved with music, he said it took him a long time to realize he wanted to do it professionally. While a sophomore in college studying biomedical engineering, he would spend his weekends touring as a member of the band Stealing Jane and teaching music and realized he liked those aspects as much as writing music.
“I knew that I loved it [music] and I knew it was something that I never wanted to stop, but I didn’t think I was going to be able to support myself with it,” Larsen said. “I realized it wasn’t worth it trying to get a job I don’t like to support something I do.”
Once admitting to himself that he wanted to make a career out of music, Larsen began taking voice lessons, working on his songwriting and learning cover songs.
When writing his songs, Larsen said he puts a lot of emphasis on the lyrics and that he wants people to feel like they know him after they hear the songs.
“I want them to take away the same thing they would if they were to sit down next to me at a bar and have a conversation,” said Larsen, who also plays the guitar, among other instruments.
Last year, Larsen auditioned for season nine of “American Idol” and made to it Hollywood and the top 90. In between the initial audition and heading to Hollywood, Larsen put in six months of preparation, which he said had the biggest impact on him.
Since Larsen had already spent his whole life working on being a good musician, he decided to spend his six months taking an acting and dancing class and going to art museums.
“I tried to expand where all my influences were coming from,” Larsen said. “That just changed my whole outlook on what I wanted to do with my career.”
Larsen said he enjoyed every second of his entire “American Idol” experience and that it really motivated him.
As soon as he got back to New York, Larsen “just went right to work.” He went on a three week road trip to play his music and meet people and then kept on writing music afterwards.
Larsen, who now performs mostly in the New York area, released the album “Sport of Kings” in September 2009. He is currently focused on his songwriting and getting another record together. Larsen is hoping to start recording by the end of this summer and release it in the spring of 2012.
Every Tuesday, Larsen performs at Memories Bar and Grill at 121 Hillside Avenue in Williston Park at 6 p.m. He also is at Sutton Place, at 1015 2nd Avenue in Manhattan, at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays.
For more information on Larsen and to keep updated about additional performances, visit www.BryceLarsenMusic.com.