About Me

Gerald O'Brien

a brief history

Canadian-born, award-winning Producer/Composer/Songwriter, Gerald O'Brien has successfully spent his career, spanning the past three decades, writing across all genres of music, including an extensive background in television. O'Brien is currently a writer for Diamond Mine Productions, who provide music for for the TV series’ Dr. Phil, Entertainment Tonight, The Insider, Rachel Ray, and The Doctors. Other notable events include: the Tour De France, Calgary Stampede, the 1998 Winter Olympics, the Super Bowl, the World Series, ABC's Wide World of Sports, the PGA Tour, as well as numerous animated TV series.


As a songwriter, Gerald has penned songs for Hall & Oates, Manhattan Transfer, Amanda Marshall, Deborah Harry, Loverboy, The Guess Who, Glass Tiger, Kelsea Ballerini, Gloriana, Ashley Clark, Tim Montana And The Shrednecks, Michelle Wright, Martina McBride, Trace Adkins, Ronnie Milsap, and Eden’s Edge (whose first single, ‘Amen,’ is an O’Brien co-write). In 2010, he co-wrote five songs on the Sons of Sylvia CD, entitled “Revelation,” on 19Recordings/Interscope. Three of those five songs were also co-produced by O'Brien & Jack Joseph Puig.


O'Brien has also received awards for Song of Year by CMPA, SOCAN’s Classic Song Award, while being nominated for two Juno awards (Canada’s version of the Grammy’s). Gerald comprises one half of the accomplished instrumental duo “Exchange” (along with Steve Sexton), which has achieved commercial success through the release of their six albums together dating back to 1989.


Gerald O’Brien grew up in a musical family in St. Catharines, Ont., Canada, where he dabbled as a young boy in piano and guitar. At age 13, upon his decision to study classical piano, his interest and love for music grew more and more. In the years to follow, Gerald became heavily influenced by the hybrid classical and rock music movements that were sweeping through England and Europe. By the time he turned 18, just as the Progressive Rock era was coming into its own with bands like Genesis, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Gentle Giant, Yes, and King Crimson all joining the mainstream, Gerald, along with his brother (guitarist/writer) Terry, formed a prog rock band of their own in 1975 called Nightwinds.


Nightwinds quickly ascended to become one of Canada’s top Progressive Rock bands in the late 70’s, behind the strengths of Gerald’s keyboards and songwriting abilities. Ready to make their mark and join the successes of other Toronto-based bands like Rush and Max Webster at that time, management issues ultimately proved to be the band’s demise, as Nightwinds broke up prior to the release of their first album in 1977.


Despite not attaining commercial success with Nightwinds, Gerald successfully used his experience to springboard his career in the music industry. He went on to write, record and tour with several Canadian bands in the late 70’s and early 80’s including: Klatuu, Wrabbit (MCA Records), Zappacosta/Surrender (Capitol Records), Strange Advance (Capitol Records), Glass Tiger (Capitol Records), Long John Baldry, and Expresso (a 3 piece Electronic band with former Max Webster members, Gary McCracken and Terry Watkinson).


After his touring days were done, Gerald returned to Toronto, where he switched his musical focus. He became active in writing and playing on TV and Radio jingles for some of the top jingle houses in Toronto, and was also involved in several successful records as a writer, synthesizer programmer, session player and producer.


In 1988, Gerald teamed up with good friend and fellow keyboardist Steve Sexton (Red Rider, Surrender), to form the instrumental duo “Exchange.” Following the release of their first album, “Into The Night,” with Passport Records in New York, Exchange made it into Billboard’s Top 10 World Music Charts with their highly-acclaimed second album, “Between Places,” under the Mesa Bluemoon label out of Los Angeles. That success prompted Gerald’s move to LA in 1989, where Exchange went on to achieve further commercial success with the release of four more albums in the 1990’s, including the hit song, “Til the Last Teardrop Falls,” featuring Marc Jordan and Amy Sky. Exchange also wrote and recorded the soundtracks for the animated TV series, “The Legend Of Prince Valiant” and “Phantom 2040,” along with the theme for a Fox Sports’ Special and the 1996 Tour De France. Their music can still be heard today on numerous television shows and sporting events in the United States and Canada. .


Following a lengthy hiatus, Exchange re-united in 2011 in Nashville where they’ve started writing for a brand new album, expected to be released in Spring 2012.