Young Shelton musician: 'I want to make a name for myself as an artist'
At age 19, Alec Chambers knows more about the world of a recording artist than most people his age.
Chambers, who has lived in Shelton his entire life, sings and plays the guitar, piano, drums, and harmonica. He’s made an EP — an extended play “miniature” album — that’s coming out in February.
Chambers recorded the EP in a studio in Brooklyn, N.Y., and the young songwriter has just released one of his own songs, "Whole Again," which is on the EP.
Chambers collaborates in his songwriting with Sarah Nagourney, a singer/songwriter/producer who currently is his manager and attended high school in Trumbull with Chambers’ father, Chuck Ciambriello.'I believe in him'
'I believe in him'
“I believe in him, and I’m helping him get to the next place,” Nagourney said. “We collaborate very, very well.”
She’s impressed by the number of different instruments he plays. “He’s a natural,” she said. “He picks up anything and plays it.”
And she also notes his vocal abilities. “He’s got a very unique and distinctive voice,” Nagourney said.
In terms of their songwriting, “I lean more heavily on lyrics,” she said, although she also plays the piano.
Family gave impetus
Chambers credits his father, a guitarist, for sparking his love for music.
“My dad was in and out of bands his whole life,” Chambers said. “He toured the United States at my age. He was the one who got me interested in pursuing music.”
As a child, Chambers learned how to play piano from YouTube and started playing the guitar at age 12. “My dad taught me a few chords and then I did it by myself,” he said.
He first performed his music at an open mic night at the Huntington Street Café in Huntington Center when he was 14. “It was a lot of fun,” he said. “It was like a show. That was cool.”
But he wanted to form a band, so he recruited his older brother, Ryan Ciambriello, who plays guitar and drums, and other relatives. The band members stayed together for two years.
When the older boys went off to college, Chambers decided he wanted to pursue music as a career and started writing his own songs at age 15.
At 16, he began recording them and put his song Ridiculous on YouTube.
But when he realized a lot of people were doing the same thing, he looked for a way to showcase his talents. “I asked myself, ‘How do I take this to the next level?’”
That’s when he reached out to Nagourney. “We’ve been working together ever since,” said Chambers, and they now have written 40 songs together.
“She’s very good with lyrics, and I take care of the music and melodies,” he said. “I’ll play a few chords that I like, and then I look for the melody. I feel I have a good ear for what is really cool and what is not cool.”
He wants his fans to appreciate his music because they can relate to it. “I want to play to people who really listen to it,” he said. “My hope is when I play, people will say, ‘I know what he’s talking about.’”
'Determined and motivated'
Chambers’ brother still lends his support. “I think he’s very determined and motivated in pursuing his musical career,” Ciambriello said.
“He puts a lot of personal time in," Ciambriello continued. "He felt it was something he wanted to do on his own.”
Ciambriello graduated from Southern Connecticut State University and is an EMT for the New York City Fire Department.
Chambers, who is a graduate of St. Joseph High School in Trumbull, attends SCSU as a communications major.
Career in high gear
Chambers plans to release another single, Bleecker Street, at the end of January, and an EP release show will take place on Feb. 3 at The Bowery Electric in New York City.
He performed Bleecker Street at the New York Songwriters Circle at the Bitter End rock club in lower Manhattan in January, and his tour also included a gig at Rockwood Music Hall in the city.
Chambers has been playing his music locally for several years. He performed at Shelton Day this past October, has played at Toad’s Place in New Haven and Toquet Hall in Westport, and opened for the band Sum 41 in Hartford.
He’s also played at local restaurants, including Two Boots in Bridgeport, and at pumpkin festivals and apple festivals.
Upcoming shows, the future
Upcoming events include a Feb. 4 gig at the Fez restaurant in Stamford and a performance at Toquet Hall on Feb. 13 at 7 p.m.
Meanwhile, Chambers continues to write songs and plans to put together another EP.
“My goal is to get more people to hear about my music, develop a fan base and get the recognition I feel I deserve,” he said. “I want to make a name for myself as an artist.”
Nagourney sees good things ahead for Chambers. “Everything is falling into place,” she said. “We’re going to hear a lot more from him.”