The road to Nashville has been a winding one for Bryce Larsen.
The 28-year-old musician produced three albums with different bands before switching gears from performing to teaching. He started teaching music at North Shore High School two years ago and loved it. Then something else happened.
"That's when people started listening," Larsen said of his music. "It became fun again because it stopped being a job I was trying to create for myself."
The pop rock singer described his sound as a cross between Gavin DeGraw and The Black Keys. It's a style he's been building since he was young, eventually touring as frontman of local rock band Stealing Jane during college.
He enjoyed some success as a contestant on "American Idol" in January 2010, surviving for the first two rounds of Hollywood Week.
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Larsen ran a kickstarter campaign in August that raised $24,000 to pay for production of an album in Nashville, Tenn. That's where he's headed in two weeks, thanks to eight weeks of time off granted by North Shore High School principal Marc Ferris, one of the hundreds of supporters who donated to make the album possible.
Larsen is keeping a blog where his students can follow the production process. The goal is to have a 12-song album entitled "Here's to You" available before Christmas, Larsen said.
With two weeks of pre-production in Nashville under his belt, he is back on Long Island with a few gigs to play before he departs.
Larsen will peform at the Social Sports Kitchen in Uniondale from 6-10 p.m. for the next two Thursdays. He will also play North Fork venue A Lure in Southold from 5-9 on Tuesday and again on Sept. 11.
For those who like what they hear, the album can be preordered on his website. That money goes toward the album's production, Larsen said, which translates to more recording time.
More time in the studio means more time to get it right for the followers who funded the project, said Larsen.
"The support has been incredible," he said.