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Zee strums up success

Local songwriter has already earned acclaim for writing skills, playing
By: Loryll Nicolaisen Special to the Auburn Journal
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It’s Evan Zee’s time to make music. “I try as best as I can to think of it as a job. I want to be as efficient and driven as possible,” said the 2009 Forest Lake Christian School graduate. Zee — his real name is Evan Ziegenmeyer — feels like he’s in a now-or-never situation with his music. With the support of family and other musicians he’s seeing how far he and his guitar can go. “I’m hoping that, as long as I work hard for it, certain doors will open, certain doors will close and it will be an adventure,” he said. This singer/songwriter has been performing plenty of local shows — in recent weeks you might have heard him at the Gold Country Fair, in Old Town Auburn or at last weekend’s Content, Creation and Distribution Expo in Loomis. He won “best song” in the Sacramento chapter of the West Coast Songwriters Competition. Two songs he recorded earlier this year, “Goin’ Up River” and “In Your Eyes,” are now available for download in iTunes. Zee, 20, has always enjoyed music. He played violin as a child, and transitioned to playing guitar. “I started out as a guitar player and didn’t sing anything,” he said. “I knew I wanted to sing. All of the greats I admire — Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, John Mayer — they all sing.” Zee started writing songs due to what can be considered a very conventional occurrence. “The songwriter was born in me, like many people, through a breakup,” he said. “I took the emotions from that and wrote some songs.” Zee also finds inspiration behind the wheel. He came up with the idea for his song “The Simple Things” while on the road. “I was driving, and the phrase ‘The Simple Things’ popped up in my head,” he said. ‘That could make a great song — what could it be about?’” Zee’s song “Goin’ Up River,” the song that got him the West Coast Songwriters nod, came from when Zee decided he wanted to pursue music. “It’s talking about not settling, taking the high road, not being taken down so easy, knowing that there’s a reward, there’s an adventure in that,” he said. Brian Steckler has known Zee for a few years. Zee recorded at his Meadow Vista studio, which Steckler calls The Stickhouse. “He’s a great guy,” Steckler said of Zee. “He’s a surprisingly good guitar player for his age. He plays intensely and accurately and with great groove, and his vocals are the same way.” Zee’s still not sure where this musical adventure will take him, but he’s enjoying the journey. “I’ve been given an opportunity to share,” he said. “I love the opportunity to encourage people through music. It’s pretty powerful. It can be a gift and I’m trying to treat it like that.” Upcoming performances Music in Central Square in Downtown Auburn, 6-8 p.m. Sept. 23 and Sept. 30 Stand Out Talent’s gala grand opening and fundraiser, 5:30 p.m. Sept. 24, Tower Theater, Roseville In the know: Learn more about Evan Zee and hear his music at www.evanzee.com and http://www.reverb nation.com/evanzee