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Artist of the Month, December 1995

Nathan Cavaleri

Nathan CavaleriThe H.E.A.R. Artist of the Month for October is guitarist Nathan Cavaleri, the 13 year old Australian phenom who has already played with B.B. King, Albert Collins, Mark Knopfler, and many other guitar greats. He's impressed every single one of them. As Jeff Beck has said before, "Authentic talent is ingrained in the blood", and that would certainly be the way to describe the Cavaleri's incredible gift.

Nathan got his start in music at the ripe old age of three. His dad Frank Cavaleri, a musician himself who lists B.B. King and Albert Collins among his guitar heroes, saw something in his young son, and gave him a ukulele. He stayed with it until he was ready to tackle the guitar. By age five he was playing electric guitar. Nathan's first gig was at the age of six. He played on the sidewalk out in front of his mom's coffee shop, and claims to have once pocketed $270 in just ninety minutes.

But everything hasn't always been rosy for Nathan.

Diagnosed with leukemia when he was just six years old, Nathan had a life threatening fight on his hands. When he was put in touch with Starlight Foundation, a group that grants wishes for sick kids, Nathan asked to meet one of his heroes, guitarist Mark Knopfler. Nathan got his wish. Not only did he meet Mark, he got to jam with him. Knopfler was blown away. "He's unbelievable!" Knopfler said, after the two played together. The music and the meeting with Knopfler was a dream come true. Nathan continued to fight his disease, and by the time he was nine years old the leukemia was in remission. That was a great year for Nathan, because he also signed his first record deal.

Nathan realizes that he has been given a gift, but he also knows that nothing comes without work, and that practice is the only way to improve. "I practice a lot because if you want something you've got to earn it," Nathan says. "If you don't practice, you really don't get much." Nathan has said two of his favorite guitar players are the late great Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Robben Ford. "I like the way Robben Ford mixes up styles. Like jazz and blues. I've got a jazz guitar teacher now and if it weren't for him and my dad teaching me, I wouldn't be as good as I am now."

Nathan still enjoys family jam sessions with his dad, even though his dad says, "We used to play all the time and he developed his ear very fast. By the time Nathan was six he was already ahead of me. Now, I'm a roadie!" Maybe, but he's also still the dad. "Nathan knows what's expected of him. He knows he has homework to do, and he knows he has to practice two hours a day. He knows that he's going to have to deal with people and situations that his friends will never know, but he's well organized. In that respect he's a little man."

Nathan's career highlights include his first album, an Australian release titled, "Jammin' With the Cats", which went into the top thirty in Australia. His first American album, "Nathan" was released in 1994. He recently signed with Michael Jackson's record company MJJ/Epic Records and with the Walt Disney Company. Nathan even has a role in the Disney movie "Camp Nowhere." Nathan's currently touring the U.S. With every show his reputation grows and the number of new fans multiplies. If you see him coming to your town make it point to check him out. You'll be glad you did, and one day you'll say, "Man, I remember seeing Cavaleri when he was just a kid."

Nathan Cavaleri has a tremendous future ahead of him and we're happy to honor him as our H.E.A.R. Artist of the Month.


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