Quirky (in a cool way), impassioned, and sincere, he has all the prevalent qualities that make him a masterful musician. For instance, if Al Sergel IV were stuck in a dark cave, he’d find a lightened path filled with glowworms and fire flies, even if he created it from his imagination. He’s going to find resonance in that solemn space— That’s the same for his music, and the reason he came up with YClosed.
YClosed is cleverly spawned. It featured number six on NPR national news out of 6000 applicants across the US.
Y Closed by Alfred Sergel IV [2019 Tiny Desk Contest Submission]
About Al Sergel IV:
The 47-year-old musician is an esoteric human whose tuneful mobility moves beyond simplistic sound waves and harmonies. He’s creator of the underbelly, the cadence of a song. Al can shape musical notes like Donatello, the greatest sculptor of the 1400’s, who’s unique and critically acclaimed.
He’s National Finalist and Regional Winner of Guitar Center Drum-Off 2002, Voted Best Jazz Group by Charlotte Best and Creative Loafing, in addition to Best Soundtrack for the “Bettors Life (New York Independent Film Festival),” just to highlight a few accolades from the many. In 2018, he featured under the moniker Alfred Sergel IVtet at the Charlotte Jazz Festival and the Charlotte Boom Fest.
He's worked with Billboard, Grammy and Dove award recipients, so he's accustomed to comprising with the stellar musicians.
Furthering that charming summary, Al's background is in music. His dad was a college band director and his mom was an English professor.
“I played drums since I was five. My dad said that if I really wanted to join the school band, then I had to play piano first (inserts eye roll from the teenage Sergel IV). Thank God that he did that,” Al observed the importance of being a multifaceted musician. “Honestly, to be my age, I’m heading into my fifties, and I’m going to be an artist. I spent a quarter of a century backing up people and now I’m doing my own thing in later years. I was in a very encouraging atmosphere with my parents and I think there is an idealism that comes with that, and it can be beautiful on some days where you have this ideal and optimistic view. You’re happy and hopeful. Then, reality set’s in where you remember that you have bills to pay.”
Al agrees that that he needed to produce his latest EP really well, in addition to getting a magnificent team together that could transport this album to the point of triumph.
With YClosed, Al composed a euphonious composition unexpectedly. It became an extraordinary work of art. One might even call it… eternal.
Y Closed Alfred Sergel IV Chad Lawson
The father of four is a deep thinker, who overrides the combustion's of life, where mere moments including the serendipitous periods, they have meaning.
Al has three daughters whose ages range from 19, 17, and 14. His son, who is his adopted sweetheart, is 5 years old. Al remarked during conversation that his family is originally from West Chester, New York. There is an orphanage there, which is the place where his grandfather lived. The church burned down many years ago, losing all of the paperwork for the children that grew up there. He doesn’t know much about his heritage other than what relatives told him about that time span.
“Alfred Sergal IV, that’s literally my name. There’s no prestige, no money, there’s no dynasty affiliated with my name,” he joked while explaining the dynamics of his surname and how his roots came back full circle. “I sort of had a vision that it would create healing within our family to adopt. I must spiritualize it, because... to adopt, and have 4 kids, with me being a professional musician, and my wife being an accountant—It’s not like we’re rolling in money. We’re thankful for everything we have. So, that’s how we know that it’s definitely a God thing.”
Al confirms that his blessings from the adoption until now are connected to the season he’s in.
“I’ve spent 23 years of my career in Charlotte as a sideman. All of that have been me serving other artist, whether it’s a gig for five people or a concert in England for twenty-five-hundred people. I literally traveled and played in 30 countries. I’ve been to a lot of places. My passports are full. I’m thankful and I don’t want to stop. The energy that I put into serving these other artist, regardless of the situation, it’s a blessing that I get to do my thing. I’m talking from a drumming side. I’ve had 23 years of backing up for other artist, and playing on their records, supporting them and doing the best I could to make them sound awesome.
‘I was driving home from doing a very large concert at the Bechtler Museum— The show went great. I had an epiphany while I was on my way home, “What would it be like if you drummed and put the same energy for other artist into the little melodies you have save on your iPhone?”
Al and a few of his friends worked on the EP. They used the musical tones saved on his phone. That project is releasing in September. It includes six new compositions subsequent to his newest single. It’s taken Al 7 months to compose his solo project, where it’s his haiku materialized into the greatest tones that you’ll ever hear in this lifetime… hence, YClosed.
His creations are refreshing tributes to rock and jazz masters before him though he’s entirely too meek to admit it. “Let’s take it where it needs to go,” he says.
Al considers himself a student as well as a teacher of music. “I’m kind of a lifetime learner and that comes with benefits."
He's inspired by all sorts of harmonies and people that are unafraid to take the baby steps, the realistic approach to obtain that thing that they've always dreamed about doing.
His favorite composition is a song that he hasn’t finished yet called The Fallout. It’s a hip hop/spoken word piece that really sets the precedents for his creativity. He feels that YClosed is his magnum opus. Al has another piece dedicated to his family entitled Say the Words. It’s art imitating life, his life. “Those were moments that I was dealing with the not so cool stuff in life. As a dad, I felt that I had to help my family realize that we shouldn’t go to bed without saying goodnight or we love each other, and we shouldn’t start the day like that.”
Brother John is another symbolic piece of music that offers the ying and yang of an album. Al dedicated it to a wonderful man that gave him his big break in the music community here, in Charlotte
"In terms of my own music, when I was recording Sleepless Journey, it was great. The reason that happened is because a lot of my friends really love me. Sleepless Journey is like a celebration of love. It's a celebration of friends who's been with me a long time that really wanted to help me do this. I had people invest in this with their time and love for me as a friend. So, it's easy for me to get chocked up when people like Chad Lawson says, ‘I definitely want to play on this.’ I know he's busy. He's got a family, and his own career that's skyrocketed. Then, John Reyes, he's super great. He's got all sorts of good stuff going on. For him to say, ‘Let's do it,’ that meant a lot. His creativity on the acoustic bass and electric bass, I knew his ideas would be fresh. You know how you get that friend discount and it takes twice as long to get a project done? This [Sleepless Journey] was the complete opposite of that. I left that session crying. I was so blessed. It sounds so stinking good. The guys did their homework and it's beyond anything I could've imagined."
Al, the emotional dreamer, felt every sentiment stemming from the album including a beautiful sonnet that he wrote for his wife called She Loves Me Still. "It's a tender song," he said. "I want that version out there forever. I want people to know that I wrote that for my wife. After 23 years of marriage and all the ups and downs, she still loves me— And, I'm very aware of how unlovable I can be."
Visit Al Sergel IV here.