Joe Resnek is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. After passing the bar exam and becoming an attorney, he took a position as a public defender at Greenfield District Court.
But now the 33-year-old Chelsea resident is putting his legal career on hold and launching into music in a big way. He has returned to the city and will release his first EP – titled “1” – on June 17.
The date of the EP release is by design. “June 17 is also 6/17, which is the area code for Chelsea,” explained Resnek, who also plays guitar and piano on the album. “My EP has seven songs, and the songs are about growing up in Chelsea and coming home and being home again. They’re like love songs to my hometown.”
The songs will be available for free on Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music, and other platforms.
Resnek said he was inspired to return to his music roots after consulting with his close friend, Lorenzo Recupero.
“Lorenzo has been one of my biggest supporters,” said Joe. “He convinced me that my music was good enough to move ahead in it. I set up a studio in the attic and began playing open mic events in Greenfield and surrounding communities. That’s when I really got serious about my music. I then teamed up with a Harvard engineer, Gabe Cederberg, who had started in electronic music production. He guided me away from what I was doing, which was rap music, and helped me branch out to other styles of music.”
Soon after, Resnek and Cederberg traveled to Spain, where Resnek set up a music studio and recorded several songs.
“I was finally making the music I wanted to make, and I thank Gabe for getting me to where I wanted to be,” said Resnek.
Resnek also called upon another Harvard connection. He met with his fellow Harvard Law School alumnus, former Spotify executive Ned Monahan.
“Ned suggested that I put my music online and I heeded his advice,” said Resnek. “I quit my job and decided to put my music online. It became clear that this was what needed to be done to pursue the music.”
A Winner of His High School Talent Show
Joe Resnek is a self-taught musician and singer. He began playing musical instruments after his parents, Carol and Josh, purchased a guitar for him on his tenth birthday. Joe would often perform music with a youth band, and his first show was at Mary O’Malley Park.
“There were about three people there,” recalled Resnek, smiling. “[Councillor-at-Large] Leo Robinson got us that gig.”
When Joe entered Chelsea High School in the ninth grade, he decided to enter the school talent show.
“My only goal going into high school was to win the school talent show,” said Resnek, displaying his trademark wit. “I won it for three straight years playing the guitar and piano. I also had the honor of performing music with Ashley Rodriguez, who became a Top-10 finalist on American Idol and now has a successful professional singing career. Ashley was phenomenal in high school. I was also in a band in high school.”
Studying at Harvard
Joe took a break from playing music while a student at Harvard College, concentrating entirely on his studies.
“I had no time for music other than listening and being motivated and being inspired by music,” recalled Resnek. “But I did spend my summers making music in my mother’s basement.”
Resnek graduated with honors from Harvard in 2015 and was accepted to Harvard Law School, receiving his Juris Doctor degree in 2017.
During his final year of law school, Joe said he started playing music in the streets around Harvard Square and in downtown Boston.
“I started playing the subways, and in the summer of 2017, I made about $10 an hour, mostly performing in Harvard Square, Government Center, and Downtown Crossing. I got a $50 tip and that was one of the greatest moments in my life. I knew that something special in my music was making it through to people.”
Promoting his Music
Joe Resnek will spend this summer showcasing his music to a wider audience. “I’m going to be promoting my music by playing my music,” said Resnek. “I want to play everywhere and anywhere I can. At this time, I have no gigs scheduled. But I intend to play the subways, at bars, restaurants. I would love to open at the Lynn Auditorium. My goal is to make the best music possible.” And no one will ever underestimate the drive and determination of Joe Resnek, who dreamt of going to Harvard as a child and realized his dream. Now the world of music is beckoning the well-known Chelsea resident and scholar.