Biography

Photo by Alison Weakley Photography

Tony Memmel is a singer-songwriter, speaker, and teacher with unique charisma and creativity. Though he was born with one hand, he taught himself to play the guitar by building a special cast that he designed out of Gorilla Tape.

He’s toured to 47 of the 50 states and to 17 countries, sharing his music and his message of hard work, determination, and resilience. 

His work ranges from composing symphonies, to writing and arranging music for children, visiting schools, hospitals, and churches, to performing in historic concert venues, and helping people with hand/limb-differences (like his) to develop their own adaptive methods that allow them to make music a part of their lives. 

Tony grew up in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and now resides in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife and son. He enjoys playing basketball, swimming, hiking, and cooking/trying new foods… especially if hot sauce is involved. 

TOP 10 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT TONY MEMMEL

1) Though he was born with one hand, Tony Memmel taught himself to play the guitar by building a homemade cast out of Gorilla Tape (duct tape) that secures a guitar pick to his arm, and allows him to pluck and strum the strings. (CLICK HERE to see his video demonstration).

2) Cultural Diplomacy: American Music Abroad and Arts Envoy Program Alumni – Tony was selected to tour to Brazil, Panama, Paraguay, and Uruguay in 2016; Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Taiwan in 2017; Azerbaijan, Georgia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Thailand, & Saudi Arabia in 2019, in cooperation with the U.S. State Department, Embassies, and Consulates overseas. The tours included visits to schools, orphanages, hospitals, and performances in historic concert venues with an aim to build cultural bridges through music. During COVID-19, Tony has hosted virtual programs and workshops in Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, Guyana, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia.

3) National finalist (4th place finisher) in the “You Oughta Know – Make a Band Famous Competition” hosted by VH1 and Republic Records.

4) Invited to speak to a crowd of 35,000 people during the ELCA Lutheran National Youth Gathering at the Superdome in New Orleans, LA.

5) Songwriter Awards – Nashville Songwriters Association Top 40, and WAMI Singer-Songwriter of the Year. (Fellow WAMI winners: Bon Iver, Les Paul, and Cory Chisel).

6) Ambassador for the “Limb Different” community as an advocate for children with hand and limb-differences. Tony also teaches adaptive guitar lessons to students with physical differences, and helps them to develop unique, custom methods and devices that allow them to play.

7) The press has taken notice as he’s earned write-ups and features in the Associated Press, American Songwriter, Yahoo!, VH1, CNN, Boston Globe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, and WSMV-Nashville.

8) Extensive independent touring experience has taken him to 47 states in the U.S., and 17 countries worldwide. He has released 6 full-length albums, 3 EP’s, and many singles. 

9) Earned a Bachelor’s Degree in music, and trained as a classical vocalist.

10) Commissioned to compose symphonic and choral orchestrations of his music. His work “Opus 1 – Five Songs for Symphony, Chorus, and Rock ‘n Roll Ensemble,” debuted in 2014. He’s worked as an Artist in Residence with the Madison Youth Choirs, and  orchestrated a work (which debuted in 2017) for the Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.

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