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Jeff Gutt is ready to move beyond "The X-Factor"
Jeff Gutt has been pounding away at the music industry for a good two decades now, with groups such as Dry Cell, Dragonfly, Acrylic, Band With No Name and Innerfaith.
But after this year's runner-up finish on "The X Factor," the Mount Clemens-born musician has his eyes wide open and feels more like the master of his own destiny than ever before.
"I can make a lot of money without a (record company) right now because of what happened on the show," says Gutt, 37. "I can go play venues for the next year and a half and have people show up, and I can put out singles on iTunes and put a band together and make a project that's ME."
In that regard, Gutt's weekend concert at Detroit's Masonic Temple is part homecoming celebration for his "X Factor" success and part showcase for music biz suitors. While it's not yet clear who might be checking him out on Saturday, Gutt's reps say several major labels have asked to hear his latest music, while festival promoters from the Middle East and Australia would like to book him at their events.
There are even some fans from Down Under rolling into town for the Masonic show.
The lure, of course, is "The X Factor," where the single father wowed viewers with renditions of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," Radiohead's "Creep" and Aerosmith's "Dream On" -- the latter despite creator and judge Simon Cowell's objections . It was Gutt's second run on the show; he was booted early in 2012 but made enough of an impression to be brought back last fall; Cowell, in fact, had publicly noted that he regretted eliminating Gutt so early the previous season.
The second time was indeed the charm, and Gutt describes his success as "surreal. They fact They were even interested in me coming back in the first place gave me a boost of confidence to go back and do it. They told me they looked at 100,000 people and wanted me; that meant a lot.
"It was great because I've always despised the game shows and all of that; I feel like it's people that don't really pay their dues. But it was a chance for me to go into that forum and show people what I love about music and, to me, what real music is. I'm not going to go up there and have it be a big dance crew and sing to a CD. For me it's more about the making of the music as much as the presentation of it.
"I just tried to come from a real place and make everyone realize that's what real music is."
Since Dec. 19 finale, Gutt has busied himself with making music, both in Detroit and in Los Angeles. He has a batch of new songs together, including "Shadows and Light," which has received some local airplay. "All the songs have different vibes, but they all have a common thread -- very Aerosmith/Bon Jovi/Eagles," Gutt says. "I have some other stuff that's a little darker and heavier -- there are guitars and we do have a badass drummer in the band now, so maybe it's more of a Foo Fighters kind of a thing." Gutt says his "perfect situation" would be signing with an independent label "that has a lot of money..and is excited enough that they won't drop me if the first single doesn't hit in the first two days," but he's hoping that a lot of options present themselves in the coming months.
"I hate waiting to get things done -- especially if I know something's going to happen," Gutt acknowledges with a laugh. "It's not like I'm ever going to give up. But, really,I just want to put out the record I want to make with the vision I have and not stress about things that are out of my control. I'm going to try to worry about things that I CAN control and let the rest of it happen on its own."
Jeff Gutt, Molal & the Definition and Justin Alexander perform at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 3, in the Jack White Theatre in the Detroit Masonic Temple, 500 Temple Ave. Tickets are $23 and $43. Call 248-858-9333 or visit www.thecrofoot.com.
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