From a very young age, Zack Kouris has been inspired to make music. For him, it was always the way to find a place of peace in chaotic surroundings of growing up in a tough part of Canton, Ohio, where the crime rate is 203 percent higher than the national average.

“My earliest memories of music were playing under the porch of an abandoned house in the ghetto with my best friends, around the age of 8 years old,” says Kouris.

“We had a little keyboard and would do our best to sound like our favorite artists at the time. We were all about All4One, BoysIIMen, and much more of that style of music that Babyface put out in the ’90s,” says Kouris. “It was a safe bet that every song in our repertoire prominently had the word “girl” in the lyrics. Chivalry from the start. We shared that keyboard among us, constantly borrowing it from each other. That was the beginning of my fascination with music and instruments.”

From starting to learn how to play classical music on the keyboard/piano, Kouris then branched out into the guitar a few years later. Though the area he grew up in was plagued with violence, he found solace in the activity of making his own noise in his bedroom and enjoying what he could create with notes and sounds.

“If I went outside, I never knew what could have happened. I was at most times, afraid of my surroundings for good reason. Sirens were constantly whaling and gang-violence was a common occurrence,” says Kouris. “The only thing I did know, is that whatever music I would play in my room would take away my anxieties. The reality outside of my mother’s house was frightening. Inside, there was plenty of love.”

He started his performing career in his home state of Ohio, with various classical songs and soul music covers at just 14 years old at various events and establishments in his hometown of Canton.

Through the years he has honed his voice through various genres of music to be a chameleon in his writing and performing style. His path isn’t directed within one specific approach to music. His mantra these days is “I just want to write good songs that speak to people. Where I will end up is a mystery to me, but I only find that exciting!”