Galen and Compendium to take stage at Good Hurt
By Helga Gendell
Galen, a multi-talented singer, songwriter and producer, and his band, Compendium, will appear at the Good Hurt nightclub in Mar Vista at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7.
He just completed a music video that will be out on YouTube this month for “I Believe (When I Fall in Love),” the Stevie Wonder song that garnered Galen and his award-winning band several Downbeat Magazine awards in 2009.
Galen Bostian-Kentes uses only his first name as an entertainer. He was born in San Luis Obispo in 1986, and his family moved to Ann Arbor, Mich. when he was five years old. He hails from an artistic family, describing his childhood as being “life as a musical.” Both of his parents were professional touring dancers and singers, and his grandmother was a dancer in the original cast of Oklahoma on Broadway.
After receiving a standing ovation in a high school performance of “In the Still of the Night,” he thought, “I should probably keep doing this.”
Galen won first prize in the highly regarded 2009 Downbeat Critics Poll twice for Blues/Pop/Rock Soloist and Jazz Arrangement categories. He has sung on stage with jazz legends Kurt Elling, Bobby McFerrin, Chick Corea, Johnny Mathis and Darmon Meader.
Galen said he has divided his time between solo performances and establishing, leading, composing and arranging music for the band, which earned first place in the Downbeat category Blues/Pop/Rock Group. The group also won four additional awards for three of its members, including two for Galen’s performance on their debut album, “How to Find You,” for which he won best vocalist.
The Argonaut interviewed Galen about his feelings for music, how he and his band began, the different music genres he embraces, what’s coming up for him professionally and his biggest challenge.
How would you describe your sound and music?
A: I want to make people feel the passion I feel when I listen to a song I love. The right song in the right moment can take you away, make you feel something everyday life can’t. I think of my voice as a trumpet, putting out this strong, far-reaching sound.
When did you start your band?
A: When I attended Western Michigan University, Darrin Carney and I started a band in late 2006, Compendium. The name means it’s influenced by other things, and we began adding other band members as we found people who we thought complemented the music we were creating and performing. Each time we perform together, we create a unique sound.
We released our first album, “How to Find You.” I took two years of classic music and three years of jazz, but I’m in between everything, not just focusing on one genre. There are 12 scales and 12 notes, and a lot of different ways to put them together. My music ranges from R&B, pop, jazz, gospel, and Middle-Eastern. In college, studying scales and minor harmonics, my interest in Middle-Eastern music came from studying it.
On one of your early albums, you sing “A Song for You,” the 1971 hit by Leon Russell. What is your decision-making process on choosing classic songs to include with the songs you write?
A: When we first started as a band, we performed a lot of cover songs, and chose the ones that we really liked. I write about 80 percent of the songs that we performed, and when we had enough of our own music, we put out our album. Compendium will be joining me on a lot more tours coming up.
What do you want people to know about you?
A: I want them to know that I’m really excited to be here. I love the Westside – Santa Monica, Venice – and my musical journey in Los Angeles. I moved here about a year-and-a-half ago. I always wanted to come back to California.
What has been your biggest challenge?
A: When I moved here, I was working as a barista in Santa Monica, and one day I was riding my bike home and realized I had a problem; I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2011. It made me realize that music in general is important, the way it makes you feel. The unwanted trials in life, music’s impact makes you happy.
I want to be a role model for other people suffering from MS, and feel that I’m in a position to do something positive. I’ve performed the national anthem at the Rose Bowl and other venues; proceeds from some of my music and events are donated to the National MS Society.
What’s coming up for you in the future as far as performances?
A: We will continue our tours and are working on several venues. We also plan to have a new album coming out next summer.
Good Hurt nightclub is at 12249 Venice Blvd., Mar Vista. (310) 390-1076, Information, www.goodhurt.com, or