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Baron Guy was in his early teens when he started a career as a sideman playing trumpet for the likes of Overton Owens. That was in the 1960s and '70s. By 1975, Guy was married and had two young children, so he decided to give up the road and put down his horn. He got a job at a coffee factory and helped his wife raise the kids. Now, a full quarter of a century later, Guy is back. With his dreams and talent both intact.
Houston Press: You've recorded three CDs in the last five years.
Baron Guy: Yes.
HP: How has the response been to your music so far? Any interest from clubs or labels?
Guy: No, I sent some stuff out but I never got any response. A lot of times they tell me that I'm too diverse, that I play too many kinds of music. But I grew up playing lots of different kinds of music. I have a classical background. I played trumpet. The organ and keyboards are really like secondary instruments to me. I can play the blues, jazz, funk, R&B, whatever people want to hear, but I guess that confuses some people. They want me to be just one thing.
HP: I have to admit that I haven't ever seen someone in quite your position. You started off very young, had a promising career and then gave it up, so you have some experience. And yet, because you took off so much time, you're also a newbie again. I don't see many people over 50 years old who are rookies in the business.
Guy: I gave up my career to help raise my children. And that was the right thing to do. My children needed both their mother and father in the home. So I put everything on hold from 1975 to 2001. In 2001 I started writing again, and in 2002 I recorded my first record, You Are My Everything.
HP: You self-released that and the other two CDs since then, right?
HP: What's success going to look like for you? Do you want to be a gigging musician with two or three shows a week, or do you hope to sell millions of CDs? Or is success something in between for you?
Guy: I'm not doing this to be some kind of superstar like some people are, I'm doing it because for my age group, they don't have any new music coming out that's aimed at them. You think about the people who are in their fifties and retired, some are in their forties and well off enough that they can retire, too. But what is out there for them? I heard Isaac Hayes speaking on this on TV [the other day]. He said, "Everybody asks me when am I going to come out with a new CD, when am I going to bring back some of this good music." He's going to be coming out with his CD. People want to hear adult music. Nowadays, everyone is into the youth and their music, but they forget where that music came from. I'm not knocking anybody, it's just how the business is.
HP: So you're aiming at the fortysomething crowd?
Guy: They need music, too.
HP: I think there are some studies that show that people over 40 are among the most likely to buy a CD, instead of download something off the Internet. And they are going to listen to a whole CD, not just want hit singles.
Guy: Right, it used to be that radio was the powerhouse; today the Internet is the powerhouse. Today, you use the Internet to put your music out there. Web sites are global. Radio stations have a limited geographic coverage, but the Internet is global.
HP: Do you have any regrets about putting your career on hold? Now that you're back in the music business, do you ever think, 'Gosh, by now I should be at such and such level'?
Guy: No, I have no regrets. I don't see anything harder about it now than it would have been when I was younger. It's always been hard to get into the music business. It was going to be hard then, and it's hard now. I don't want to sit around and rust out. God gave me these talents, and I think he still wants me to put them out there.