Student Arts Entrepreneur: Sterling Gavinski & The Happy Alright

Imagine finding a balance between having a college education, family, friends, and a frequently touring band. Sterling Gavinski is the founder, vocalist and guitarist of Dallas pop punk trio The Happy Alright, a band that has been playing shows for almost four years. The band has performed across the U.S., everywhere from backyards to fundraising events, to the House of Blues. However, according to Gavinski, “When you’re constantly playing shows, life goes on all around you. This forces the band to be willing to re-invent musically, something we are open to since the band’s influences span from hardcore punk music to hip-hop and jazz.” This wide array of tastes sets the band apart from a lot of up and coming acts who strive only to re-create trends of the past. Alongside close friends Brad Barteau (drums) and Mason Steeger (bass and backing vocals), Sterling has found a home for his creativity that is exciting and challenging. Sterling and Mason are both SMU Meadows students and must balance their relatively rigorous touring schedule with their school and personal lives.

This past Spring (2015), the band embarked on their first major U.S. tour, playing in Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, California, and Texas. After the long-awaited release of the band’s third EP, Esperando, Sterling say they, “were finally prepared to hit the road and meet everyone they possibly could along the way.” Sterling sees every show as a challenge in that the band has to perform as if every show was their last in order to win over an audience who has never heard of them. This method has worked so far, as the band ends every night meeting a plethora of new fans and excited audience members hoping to buy a t-shirt or just to say “Hi.” According to Sterling, this personal connection with fans is one of the perks to his internal management style. Their dedicated grassroots following and professionalism have scored them shows with some of the biggest bands in their scene. Some of their favorites include Less Than Jake, Real Friends, Man Overboard and Knuckle Puck.

This summer, the band will be writing new music and continue to hit up their new nationwide fan base alongside other prominent touring acts (announcements coming soon). Sterling says, “I’m very aware that good things come as a result of hard work and discipline, and The Happy Alright is a direct result of this dedication to passion.” You can download the band’s new EP, Esperando, on iTunes, Amazon, and Bandcamp or stream it on Spotify.

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Sterling Gavinski is a Junior, majoring in Film and Journalism at the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University. He is minoring in Arts Entrepreneurship

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