East Brunswick musician shares his career journey

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PHOTO COURTESY OF GREG AMICI
East Brunswick actor and musician, Greg Amici.

EAST BRUNSWICK – In 1973, New Jersey artist Greg Amici settled in East Brunswick. Having moved around frequently, his early travels foreshadowed his nomadic entertainment career in Los Angeles and New York.

Now, back in his hometown, he shares his story.

“I’ve spent many years in New York and Los Angeles, but my family home has always been here. I loved growing up in East Brunswick,” Amici said.

In his youth, Amici described himself as a jock with plans of entering Columbia Law School. His connection to music wasn’t yet established. With only a few records in his possession, he was largely unaware of what music had to offer.

That changed on his 16th birthday after receiving classic albums by The Who, Pink Floyd and Aerosmith.

“I was turned on to rock music on my 16th birthday. … My best friend Hugh Miller told all the friends coming to the party to bring me albums because I didn’t have anything cool to listen to. I received ‘Quadrophenia’ by The Who, ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ by Pink Floyd, Aerosmith’s first album, and a bunch of others. I was instantly addicted,” Amici said.

As his music tastes evolved, so did his aspirations. He began to delve deeper into the world of music by learning rhythm guitar and singing.

Shortly after, he enrolled into The Lee Strasburg Institute. While there, he took acting classes and discovered another passion.

“I studied acting at The Lee Strasburg Institute and got into acting. I was getting cast in a bunch of student films, and started recording songs I wrote, and there was no going back at that point,” Amici said.

In his professional career, Amici has appeared in numerous films. He frequently plays characters who are ambitious yet naïve in their optimism and confidence, he said.

“Thematically, my screenplays often feature protagonists who shoot for the moon, but ultimately settle for a decent life. They get a reality check. It’s all about acceptance,” Amici said.

Despite his love for acting, he finds more fulfillment and serenity in the recording studio, he said.

“I was always happiest in a recording studio. … In the studio, it’s a much more personal experience, and since I’m pretty much a loner and a bit agoraphobic, I prefer that environment,” he said.

Ironically, despite his slight agoraphobia, which is a fear of overly crowded environments, he plans to end his hiatus and perform live again. With new music available, he said he is excited to share with local listeners and audiences abroad.

“This month I’ve re-released my song ‘Pumpkin Man’ and I will be releasing a new single called ‘Greenwood’ on Oct. 29. Neither is about Halloween, but the titles and the themes kind of fit with the current season.

“My album ‘Tragicomic,’ produced by James Mastro, will be released in the winter of 2023. Local music legend and Milltown’s Shanahan’s Bakery owner Tony Shanahan played bass on the album during his downtime from recording and touring with Patti Smith.

“That said, I’m putting my live act together after being dormant for the last few years. I’m really looking forward to playing because I do love applause, I can’t deny that,” Amici said.

Although Amici hasn’t performed on stage recently, he has volunteered his talents.

A few months ago, he collaborated with North Brunswick Township High School to create music for a school project about whales. The song “Ship Strike” speaks about how whales are frequently killed by accidental collisions with ships. The subject matter was different, but it presented an opportunity to raise awareness about the issue.

“I looked at it as an assignment. I wanted to make it worth the student’s time. … I don’t usually write social protests or anything political, but it was very touching to learn what happens to the whales. … By contributing and writing about that, maybe I could at least let people know that this happens. … I’m happy it worked out for everybody,” Amici said.

For aspiring entertainers, performers and musicians, Amici shared these words of wisdom.

“It wouldn’t matter to me if I had a million fans or three fans. I’m in heaven when I pick up a guitar and sing a new song in my bedroom. If you don’t feel that way about writing or performing in any medium, why put yourself through the torture that is the entertainment business?” Amici said.

For more information on Greg Amici’s film and music portfolio, visit www.gregamici.com/bio