Eric Gnezda - Artist Profile
By Wendy Whitney Raphael
The ballroom in Cincinnati's Omni Netherland Plaza hotel is packed with employees of an international corporation celebrating its centennial anniversary. The cacophony of concurrent conversations that reigned over the room earlier in the evening has been replaced by a hush that is equally pervasive.
Eric Gnezda's lyrics, written in solitude, swirl about the ears of an audience clearly listening. Singing into the microphone, Eric lifts his eyes from his piano keys, and with a disarming gaze, penetrates the audience before him. Seated well within the crowd, you could swear he was looking at you.
The music that springs from the depths of Eric's soul travels a pure and simple path into the hearts of his listeners. In many ways, the road that led Eric to where he is today was also pure and simple.
Both music and writing are passions which took hold of Eric in childhood. Repeatedly selected to sing in school choirs, and for 10 years a drummer in several bands, Eric was also chosen for the lead roles in his high school musicals. From the time he was in grade school, he also enjoyed what he describes as "painting pictures with words."
But it was in his 17th year, while first writing lyrics for some music he created at his piano, that Eric knew he had found his life's purpose: "It was then that I finally brought my two greatest passions together."
Joyous as that pivotal moment was for Eric, during the years preceding it, he had not escaped his share of life's agonies and pains. Three days after Eric's birth, his father was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a torturous disease that eventually claimed his life. The intense suffering his dad endured over many years inescapably permeated the Gnezdas’ home life; it also cut into Eric's soul like nothing else since. His song, "Daddy's Wheels," grew out of those experiences. (Continued.)
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Eric Gnezda - Background
Award-winning songwriter. Keynote speaker. Emmy-nominated journalist. Memoirist. College educator. TV producer and host. Speech and performance coach. Communications consultant.
No matter the pursuit, Eric Gnezda has been connecting with his audiences for decades.
Eric blends his quick wit and musical talents with his appreciation for the human spirit. Through his humor, inspiring stories and music, Eric delivers dynamic and entertaining concerts and presentations.
Eric and his work have been featured on Entertainment Tonight, ESPN, Nickelodeon, The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, The ABC Radio Network and in Sports Illustrated, and USA Today. He is also a regular Writers Night performer at Nashville's famous venue for songwriters, The Bluebird Café.
A former columnist, Eric has delivered commentaries on current events for National Public Radio, and has written on a wide range of topics for various publications, from USA Today, to Business First, to Today's Caregiver. He received an Emmy Award nomination for a story he wrote and produced in Europe for American syndicated television.
As a singer-songwriter, he was awarded the 2006 Ohioana Citation for Music Composition.
Drawing upon his years as a touring songwriter and speaker, Eric conceived the national public TV series, Songs at the Center, a songwriter's circle in which songwriters share the stage with the audience. The show, which Eric hosts, is distributed through American Public Television.
Eric also coordinates Songwriter Showcase at Natalie's, a monthly event featuring elite songwriters at one of the finest listening rooms in the country.
Away from the stage, studio, and speaker's platform, Eric was a visiting lecturer in public speaking at Ohio Wesleyan University for 12 years, and he holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University.
Whether on radio, television, stage—or in a meeting room—Eric entertains and inspires with his music, his humor, and, above all, his faith in his fellow human beings.
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