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 The cacophony of concurrent conversations that reigned over the room earlier in the evening has been replaced by a hush that is equally pervasive.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 - Bio
Eric Gnezda (NEZZ-da) is creator and host of the American Public Television series, Songs at the Center, airing coast to coast on more than 320 PBS stations.
A keynote speaker and an award-winning singer-songwriter, Eric is a regular performer at Nashville's iconic venue, The Bluebird Cafe, and a recipient of the Ohioana Citation for Music Composition, joining Michael Feinstein (American Songbook), Jorma Kaukonen (Jefferson Airplane), and Chip Davis (Mannheim Steamroller).
An Emmy-nominated TV journalist, Eric has seen success with a wide range of songwriting styles—from inspirational anthems, to country, to comedy. As a speaker and educator, he has presented to hundreds of convention audiences across America.
A former newspaper 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.
Eric earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University.
Whether on radio, television, stage or speaker's platform, Eric entertains and inspires with his music, his humor, and his faith in his fellow human beings.