When Jeffrey Altergott was 2, his Grandma Alice gave him a little blue suitcase record-player, launching his love affair with music.
"Performing is my favorite part of the whole process," he said. "There is something about sharing the work with an audience that brings everything together. It makes the 90 percent of the music business that isn't about music worth doing."
Altergott was born and raised in the Chicago area, and player on the local music scene for more than 20 years, offering supple tenor, modern folk melodies, diverse influences and charming stage presence, he said. Altergott is a veteran of the local independent music scene who has designed and built his recording studio; writes and performs his songs; engineers his own studio sessions; and more.
His fourth album, Don't Be a Stranger ( 2007 ), included the song "Thank You," which was featured on the soundtrack of the award-winning movie BearCity ( 2010 ).
"In my day job, it's getting recognized and compensated for hard work, well-done. This isn't something that always happens in music," he said. "My career keeps me from doing as much music as [I] would like. Sometimes, trying to balance music and a job can be stressful and exhausting. I don't like to let down my band members or artists I'm recording. So, I sometimes overextend myself and get bitchy."
Altergott said his favorite moment performing as a musician was the time he played at Uncommon Ground in his mid-20s: "I was performing a cover of The Smashing Pumpkins' Today, when the band walked in and sat down. I was oblivious until afterward, thankfully."
Altergott said the biggest obstacle he's overcome is asthma. "It's something that I still struggle with regularly," he said. And, when younger, he was bullied, he added.
"My latest project is playing bass in the band Roxy Swain [www.roxyswain.com]. It's a really fun indie band with a retro-rock aesthetic," he said. "We just put out a new album on vinyl. It's the first time anything I've done has been on vinyl and it's an indescribable feeling to have music come full circle for me like that. I grew up on vinyl. It's how I first heard music. There's something pretty amazing about that."
Neighborhood: Albany Park
Job title: Technology operations manager, National Restaurant Association
Relationship status: "When the new law is fully enacted in June, I will have been married since Aug. 6, 2011, to my partner of 14 years, Joe Palese."
Favorite TV show: Modern Family
Hobbies: Video games; glasswork ( on a blowtorch ); mead-making; part-time professional musician
Favorite color: Blue
Favorite pizza topping( s ): Jalapeño and black olive
Little-known fact: "I'm a card-carrying druid."