Officially Lee Gattenby started playing the guitar in the 6th grade, but unofficially he became a music lover and musician the moment he held his first ukulele as a toddler. One of his earliest musical memories was playing “My Dog Has Fleas” which is a simple song used to tune a ukulele. It’s easy to learn but hard to get out of your head!Lee grew up in Alaska in a home filled with the sound of beautiful music. His mother, also a musician, used to perform ethnic Hawaiian music and taught Lee how to harmonize.
Throughout his teens, Lee played at Church, which is where he learned most of his emotive phrasings. Lee left Alaska and joined the military, proudly serving his Country as an Army Officer and flying helicopters. During this time, he was stationed near Nashville, Tennessee as well as in Europe, Korea, Japan and the Middle East. As an avid student of music, Lee was able to experience and learn cultural music from around the world, helping him further develop and hone his own unique style and sound.
Today, Lee is a highly respected multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, live sound technician, studio recording engineer and worship team musician. He also operates one of the largest private music schools in Alaska.
“I help my students conquer their fear of the unknown–you have to be brave to perform for others–while at the same time be vulnerable enough to let your emotions flow through your instrument. It’s a delicate balance but when done right–the result is mesmerizing and award-winning. When my students leave me, they are accomplished musicians who understand the impact music makes in our world, not just for entertainment value, but also in our history.”
His students dominate in local music competitions, having won many state competitions in the past five years. Now Lee and his students have set their sights on achieving the same level of success on a national level. Currently, he has one student who has applied for American Idol Season 13.
Lee is married and has two sons and a young daughter. He loves playing strategy games and engaging in intelligent debate. One of those debates (also known as an online rant) was turned into a work of art by Israeli artist, Eddo Stern and has been seen in art museums around the world.
But his passion remains music, both as a teacher and a performer. Lee has been performing in front of crowds since 1976 and credits guitarists Lincoln Brewster, Monte Montegomery and Chris Brodrick as his greatest influences. He is mentored by leading industry professional, Tom Hess and has played alongside Fabio Leon (lead vocalist of Rhapsody of Fire) and guitar virtuoso George Bellas. He is a veteran singer/song-writer and is the lead guitarist for Troubador North, one of the most popular country bands in Alaska.