zach's bio

We should manifest ourselves in exquisiteness every chance we get.

The Troubadour of Peace.

“We should manifest ourselves in exquisiteness every chance we get,” Zach professes his life’s philosophy on his latest release, The Antidote, his 15th release is as many years.

This mantra is not only something Zach sings, but something he lives. In 2010, he started the Akron Peace Project, an organization working to educate and inspire nonviolence in the community. This project works with numerous organizations to increase compassion and peace in our daily lives. Recently named “Humanitarian of the Year” by Akron Life Magazine, he is also a yogi, Kingian Nonviolence Trainer, and a World Peace Diet Facilitator. In 2014 he helped to start the Big Love Fest, the Big Love Network, in 2015 the Yoga Summit, in 2016 the Summit of Faiths, and in 2017 the Heart Mela.

Yet, perhaps his most powerful impact is through his music. “Music is so powerful. It can touch a soul at such a level as nothing else can,” Zach says. Lending his music to compassionate causes and events, he performs across the US nearly 200 dates annually for everything from yoga classes and veggie and peace fests, to house concerts and music festivals.

His latest release is his 17th, a Voice in the Wilderness, is a special record with Zach performing all the parts except for the drums and bass on 3 songs. It is a record for healing, featuring the mantras of "strength to Love" (Conscience Calls), "Open my heart" (Sun and Moon Together), "We're all here to love" (This I Believe), along with Shero (the empowerment of Women), Illusions (calling on us to seek something "Bigger than ourselves"), a message of zero waste in Only Use What We Need, and a collaboration with playwrite John Burton on an update to I Want a Future Too.

Getting Started

As a kid, growing up in Northeastern Ohio, my big dream was to be a basketball player. But it wasn't meant to be. During the summer of 9th grade my appendix ruptured, landing me in the hospital and nearly killing me. The hospital and recovery time was long, and friends brought me music to cheer me up, especially the White Album by the Beatles, and everything changed. By the time I left the hospital, all I wanted to do was play music. My aunt and gramma got me a beginner guitar from JC Penny, with an amp built in to it. The guitar came pretty easy. Music is definitely my path, my puropse. After a few months of writing songs and learning songs from the radio, I was talked into going to an open mic, where I was the last performer of the night. I sang my three songs, two of which were originals. My set was met with a standing ovation and bookings for a year. After attending a Jewel concert, I decided music was what I wanted to do forever. Music is who I am. By the time my second CD came out in 2000, I was performing 100+ shows a year, and I had begun touring around the region. When my 21st birthday rolled around, my 3rd CD was coming out, and I had jumped up to 200 shows a year. As 2014 clicks in, I just released my 15th official CD (with 3 more slated for release this year) and tour coast- to-coast. In fact, my van (The Buffalo) and I are on the move someplace in the country more often than not. Nothing makes me happier than writing songs and singing them for people. Everything from house concerts to yoga classes to amphitheaters to charities to cafes to theaters are on my touring schedule.

The last few years, I have been in the midst of a spiritual and personal quest that lead me to the works of Gandhi, Tolstoy, and in turn, Martin Luther King. A new door opened inside me as I read about the work for nonviolence within and without. With a friend, I created the Akron Peace Project to spread nonviolence in the self, the home, and the community. It has made leaps and bounds in its short existence. Coupled with my Love Initiative movement, my music which is naturally very hopeful and optimistic has been able to lend its voice to the power we all have to change ourselves and the world.

His last bright lights release, The Antidote, reflects his vocation and passion for creating a better world. He hopes it can “inspire people to their highest goodness, to encourage us all to manifest this goodness in some way in our lives.” This idea echoes in “Ignite the Soul,” when he sings, “Give, give, the gifts you give. Ignite the soul." With themes of believing in our own power for kindness (Manifest), peace building (Peace By Piece), social politics (Ohio Breaking), and veganism (Plants), this record is a spiritual journey and social statement. One song takes on fracking (I Want a Future Too), which has been a winner in the Artists Against Fracking Video Contest, chosen by Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon; while songs like “Hymn” remind us that, "when the world comes to drag you down, light your smile, it keeps the darkness out."

Provenance was a co-writing collaboration with 17 artists from 5 states. Released as duets, this project brought much of the northeast Ohio songwriter community together.

Additionally, all proceeds from this record are creating the Love Initiative Fund, a fund which will help area nonprofits create programs to educate and inspire nonviolence in the community.

His voice and guitar will be touching lives across the country day in and day out, and his life and smile will be spreading compassion and kindness.

awards

Humanitarian of the Year (Akron Life);Best Performer by Akron Life Magazine; Best Band by the Akron Life and Leisure Magazine; 5 time Best Singer/Songwriter Nominee in the Cleveland Music Award; a 3 time winner of Best Pop Act in the Cleveland Music Festival, 2 Golden Viking Awards, Best Singer/Songwriter Nominee in the Free Times Music Awards 5 times, Best Pop Song (Garageband.com); over 3,000 Spins on WAPS 91.3 The Summit; was a finalist in the national Soul City Cafe Music Quest; a finalist in the Unisong Song Contest; receives over 150,000 hits and growing per month on the website, and over 360,000 views (and over 220,000 plays) on his MySpace; named in the TOP 3 Artists spun on WAPS 91.3 The Summit Radio (6 places above the Beatles); performs over 200 shows a year nation-wide, was featured in a national campaign for the Akron Canton Airport; "Upon Your Dreams" was played on commercials on the Travel Channel; had his song "On Christmas Morning" spun on over 130 radio stations; wrote the jingle/theme song for the nationally syndicated radio show "Into the '70's with Tom Kent;" had music featured in several independent films and an Extreme Home Makeover Documentary.

I also have the privilege of working with a stunning band featuring the finest musicians in the region. Charlie Trenta plays guitar, sings, and has good jokes. Michael Marotta is a keyboard and organ wizard. He wows us with sounds all the time. Neil Keating plays bass and sometimes sings. His jokes don't tend to work on stage, but he's a good guy anyway. Chris Maneri plays the drums with majesty. And he has a fine beard.

I started a new project recently called the Poplars, with the lovely Emma Shepard. We sing happy indie - folky songs. Our record will be out in the summer of 2014, and we are currently booking shows. 

quotes

I am so appreciative of your energetic contribution to Spring into Awareness. When you play guitar, it is something transformational! The difference I saw in the room when you would play was amazing! People were up, socializing, and energized. Your music truly was the spirit of the event, especially during yoga. Everyone, the organizers especially, felt your light guitar and singing was the perfect tool toward reaching peace in our yoga, especially during savasana. I love how you have this ability to joyfully energize the room, but also to be so meditative. I look up to you for this and all the energy you contribute to the Akron Peace Project in paving a way for endeavors such as the holistic student group forming and hosting a successful event.
Kevin James Karas, Spring into Awareness
Zach is an awesome talent! John Lennon's compassion courses through his veins. I'm very impressed with this kid and believe he is a star! He is also a down to earth, level headed decent human being willing to do whatever it takes to make it. Also, I've seen him live and he's just as good live as his recorded presentation and a charmer as well.
Tom Kent, Elektra Records
Truly the most memorable Yoga class I've ever taught and your voice, presence and music was profoundly powerful.
David Courtenay, Yoga Instructor (Santa Barbara, CA)
Zach, thank you for being a part of Swell Jam. The music during the yoga practice was perfect, and everyone enjoyed your performance.
Colin Brightfield, Jai Rhythm
Zach's performance is in a word, INCREDIBLE! I have never seen a solo performance like it. If you've never seen one of his solo shows you gotta go.
Rick Reich, Rudedog Music Promotions
Zach beautifully marries the magic of both yoga and music to create a transformative space in which your soul can open fully.
Julie Norman, Body Karma Healing
If Zach's intension was capturing the power of his live show, he succeeds on 1.19.2007.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer
The very definition of 'working musician,' Zach performs more than 200 shows a year, playing onstage with both classic and contemporary performers ... Zach channels smart and sensitive James Taylor-esque lyrics and melodies, peppered with the contemporary zing of Gavin DeGraw or Jason Mraz. His spunky live shows are mostly Zach originals, and his goose-bump-inducing cover of john Lennon's 'Imagine' is worth the price of admission.
Bill Gruber, 91.3 WAPS The Summit
What followed was a true celebration of spirituality, life and love. There was a mixture of Kirtan-based chanting and Zach’s original music. Zach’s music is far from the pop-based content one hears on commercial radio, preaching endless parties and jilted love. He spoke of the deeper meaning of what it is to be human and act from a heart filled with an appreciation for life. He reminds the audience that we are empty vessels, with a lifetime of knowledge to be learned. He spoke of guides along the path, namely his father, who had recently passed away. You know that all over chill you get when the air around you is electric and full of passion? I could feel that chill rush over the entire audience as Zach serenaded us with his music. http://akronist.com/zach-ignites-soul-kirtan-based-concert-article-video/
Jeff Marras, The Akronist

openers

2001 Farm Aid
Michael Thompson
Red Wanting Blue
Don Dixon
John Oats
Michael Glabicki (of Rusted Root)
Bo Diddly
John Eddie
America
The Fixx
Johnny Ciao
Tripping Billies
Chicago
Bad Company
Blessid Union of Souls
Steve Poltz
Any Ray(of Indego Girls)
Vanilla Fudge
Sonny Gerci
Jen Chapin
Mountain
Kyle Vincent
Damien Horne
Hotel California
Gin Blossoms
Michael Bolton
Jason Reeves
Shawn Mullins
Trevor Hall
Catie Curtis
Maia Sharp
Michael Stanley
Buckwheat Zydeco
Maia Sharp
Coldplayers
Elevation

reviews

Buzzbin Magazine

by Anthony Cirincione

This born and bred northeast Ohioan has made his mark on the music industry by playing with the likes of Chicago, Bad Company, and Bo Diddley. This is his ninth album in the past eleven years which is another great expression of his musical talents. His songs are catchy and encapsulate a perfect folk-rock blend. The opening track "A Way Through" leaves you singing along after only one listen. He mixes memorable lyrics with great harmony that makes for a triumphant sound. The album has a Kings of Leon feel with the vocals that mirror Maroon 5. Zach does an amazing job mixing pop with folk. If this is your first listen to Zach you can definitely see why he has played with such prestigious acts. He even participated in Farm Aid. The album has that cozy feel just like a warm blanket on a snowy Ohio day. And we can all relate to that right now.

Huffington Post

by Phil Ramone

Akron-based alt-rock singer/songwriter Zach is a dedicated road dog, faithfully touring no less than 200 days a year. Whilst in his teens, Zach collided with an almost fatal appendix rupture, turning aside his high-school basketball dreams. The upside: He picked up the guitar and jump-started his career. Zach's songs have been featured in a handful of indie flicks as well as MTV's Real World. Get "Some Love," from his 2009 release What I Meant to Say, recorded with Nick Chawala. Currently on tour.

The Akronist

by Jeff Marras
What followed was a true celebration of spirituality, life and love. There was a mixture of Kirtan-based chanting and Zach’s original music. Zach’s music is far from the pop-based content one hears on commercial radio, preaching endless parties and jilted love. He spoke of the deeper meaning of what it is to be human and act from a heart filled with an appreciation for life. He reminds the audience that we are empty vessels, with a lifetime of knowledge to be learned. He spoke of guides along the path, namely his father, who had recently passed away. You know that all over chill you get when the air around you is electric and full of passion? I could feel that chill rush over the entire audience as Zach serenaded us with his music.

press kits

Poplars Press Pic

Bright Lights Press Pic

Zach Promo Pic 1

Zach Promo Pic 2

Poplars Promo Pic 2