In October 1995, Matthew Gray had just graduated from Western Kentucky University with a degree in broadcasting and television production.
Jobs in that industry were scarce around here.
And his wife, Nicole, was pregnant with their first child.
So, Gray took a job as music director at Immaculate Catholic Church.
But he needed a part-time job.
So, in June 1996, Gray started Gray Sky Music.
He still has both jobs nearly a quarter of a century later.
“I started out doing jingles for businesses,” Gray said last week.
“Recording Arts Studio was downtown then and there wasn’t room for another recording studio for music,” he said. “I wanted to do something unique. So jingles were what I persued.”
The first jingle that got airplay was for the American Life League, a grassroots pro-life organization.
That was followed by Welborn Floral and Owensboro Body Shop.
“People didn’t know who I was,” Gray said. “So, I’d create a jingle and then see if the customer liked it.”
He began to develop a relationship with the radio stations in the area.
“Nicole worked at a radio station for a while,” Gray said. “And I developed a relationship with other jingle companies.”
Back then, he had to go to Nashville to get musicians to record the jingles.
Gray Sky Music is located in a studio behind his home in western Daviess County.
“With technology, working from home became a lot easier,” Gray said. “Now, I can do everything over the internet.”
Back then, he said, “I was doing five jingles a month. Now, I do five to eight a year.”
Through the years, Gray has been recording several local artists and songwriters making demos to send to artists in hopes of getting a song recorded.
“I’ve had a steady stream of recording,” he said. “In the last 10 years, I’ve established a reputation.”
Gray is currently working on an album by the Kentucky Youth Chorale’s Dickens Carolers.
“The kids are incredible,” Nicole Gray said.
She started two businesses in the past six years.
Nicole Gray Photography uses the recording studio as a photography studio.
“I shoot events, formal portraits, professional photos, weddings,” she said. “I took a picture of the bridge wrapped by fog once and sold several prints. I’m as busy as I want to be.”
A year ago, she started Nicole Gray Media, an advertising agency.
“OMU is a client,” Gray said. “So is Old Hickory and Owensboro Family Pharmacy. It’s all related — music, photography, advertising. It all goes hand in hand.”
The three businesses have always been a two-person operation.
But sons Nicholas and Andrew are now making their own music and videos.