Nicholas Gunn, is a classically trained musician and music producer. He is a Top-Ten Billboard charting musician known for his instrumental works under Nicholas Gunn and his EDM (Electronic Dance Music) / Trance Music works under Limelght. He is also the owner of Blue Dot Studios, based in Los Angeles, CA
Early life and educationNicholas Graham Gunn was born in Rochester, Kent in South East England. He enjoyed playing the flute, and studied with the prestigious Royal Academy of Music from age seven till age eleven when his family moved to Southern California. After moving to Southern California Gunn continued his classical flute studies under private instruction. During junior high school and high school Gunn played wind ensemble in the band during concert season and drums and percussion during the marching season. After high school Gunn sidestepped music for a year, focusing his efforts towards modeling and acting, which, among other things, led to a small role on the national TV show Freddy's Nightmares.
World Music Artist CareerAfter learning as much as possible from the recording sciences, Gunn found himself immersed in a passion for recording his own instrumental style of music. Gunn shunned the term New Age, and the connotation associated with his own music, preferring the term Instrumental or World Music. After many unsuccessful attempts to obtain a recording deal from demonstration tape submissions, Gunn self-released his debut recording Afternoon in Sedona in 1992. With national radio starting to escalate and CD sales starting to occur, Gunn received interest from nature retail chain Natural Wonders, which led him to a record deal with Sausalito, California-based instrumental music label Real Music.
Re-released under Real Music in 1993, Afternoon in Sedona became an instant best seller at national retail chains such as The Nature Company and Natural Wonders. It was his second album, The Sacred Fire, released in 1994, that first landed Gunn on the Billboard charts for New Age Album, where it ran for five weeks and peaked at number ten.
Taking part in Real Music's "National Park Series", Gunn's third album, The Music of the Grand Canyon, was released in 1995 and sold over 100,000 copies its first year. Once again Gunn found himself Top Ten on the Billboards and charted for fourteen weeks. Outside of Real Music and the "National Park Series", Gunn has gone on to release numerous albums influenced by the beauty of America's landscape and parks, such as Return to Grand Canyon (1999), The Great Southwest (2001), Through the Great Smoky Mountains (2002), Journey to Yellowstone (2003), and Beyond Grand Canyon (2006). Beyond Grand Canyon was also released as a DVD, in which Gunn paired his musical compositions with photography of the Grand Canyon taken by Michael Fatali, creating a unique audio-visual experience.
In Crossroads, his fourth album released in 1996, Gunn began to incorporate a Latin influence into his sound, a theme which has subsequently embraced a number of his other albums, most notably Breathe (2004) and Encanto (2007), on which he collaborated with award-winning Latin guitarist Johannes Linstead. His latest release and 14th album to date, Thirty-One Nights, heavily incorporates this Latin influence. Inspired by his trip to Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, the album features flamenco guitar and a Spanish spoken word. Released on 11 September 2012, Thirty-One Nights charted No. 8 on the Billboard Chart its debut week. It was also chosen by John Diliberto and Echoes as one of the Top 25 Albums for October 2012.
Since 1991, Gunn has sold millions of copies of his nine albums, an especially impressive feat considering that the marketing of his albums have mostly bypassed the traditional route of radio and mainstream outlets, finding large success through niche retail chains such as the Nature Company, Natural Wonders, and gift stores throughout the National Parks.
Gunn began combining his electronic sound with his instrumental roots in 2015 with the release of Under the Influence of Music. In his subsequent singles, Ibiza Sunset and Saint Lucia, one can hear his classic instrumental "Nicholas Gunn" sound moving into a more Ambient / Electronic space.
In 2018, Gunn continued this transition towards a more electronic sound and began introducing his own style of vocals and lyrics. Older (feat. Alina Renae), released in 2018, showcases his first vocal-driven track under his Nicholas Gunn solo career. This was followed by the album, Riding the Thermals, which features four vocal tracks by the vocalist Alina Renae. Riding the Thermals went on to peak at #6 on the USA iTunes Electronic Albums and #22 on Brazil's iTunes Best Selling Albums, amongst others. On April 24, 2020, Gunn continued to shape his vocal ambient/electronic sound with the release of his 20th studio recording, Pacific Blue, which again features four vocal tracks by singer Alina Renae.
Electronic Music Artist Career
In 2012, Gunn began producing for Electronic Music act (We Are) Nexus. Their first release, a cover of Soniques 1998 Trance hit It Feels So Good charted on Billboards Dance/Club Play Chart its second week out, peaking at No. 14, and #40 on Billboards Top Dance/Electronic Albums.
Gunn continued in Electronic Music solo under the name Limelght. Limelghts debut track, Don't Leave Me Now, was signed and released by industry powerhouse Armin Van Buuren's Armada Music on their flagship label Armind in October of 2017. Limelght continues to release under Armada Music, Amsterdam Trance, RNM as well Gunn's own label, Blue Dot Studios.
As New Age music grew in popularity in the late 1990s, Gunn saw an opportunity to be more than just a musician, and started his own record label, Anagram Records, in 1997, under which he released a handful of albums.
After closing Anagram Records in 2001, Gunn started Gemini Sun Records in 2002 which was distributed nationally by ADA/Warner Music Group. Representing such artists as Friðrik Karlsson, David Arkenstone, Johannes Linstead, Loren Gold, 2002, and Vitas, Gemini Sun quickly grew to be one of the top New Age music labels. In 2009, Gemini Sun closed its doors due to declining CD sales and economy.
In January of 2019, after a hiatus from owning and operating his own label, Gunn saw an opportunity to remerge as a label owner and entrepreneur of Blue Dot Studios, a record label focused on individuality and artistry, based in Los Angeles, CA. The labels' first release, in 2019, was Gunn's own album, Riding the Thermals. This was followed by the release of artist Little Warrior, and her album Lovesick, and then a single titled Time for Peace by artist Anna B May.
PhilanthropistOver the course of his career, Gunn has consistently monetarily contributed to the National Park systems. Along with record label Real Music, Gunn donated a portion of the proceeds from each sale of The Music of the Grand Canyon to the Grand Canyon Association. To date, in excess of $130,000 has been donated from sales. Gunn also named the American Lung Association as a beneficiary of a portion of sales from his album Breathe.
Believing in arts and music education for children, Gunn currently sits on the board of directors for the Children's Creative Project (CCP), in Santa Barbara, CA, overseeing music for the Italian Chalk Painting Festival, I Madonnari. Each year the festival raises approximately $60,000 for arts and education within the Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo school systems. In addition to the CCP, Gunn has also contributed time to the Santa Barbara Youth Battle of the Bands (SBYBOB), acting as both judge and board member alongside local Santa Barbara celebrities such as Dishwalla frontman JR Richards, Ex Paramount Pictures CFO Alan Bailey, and other notable guests.