Zach Gufford’s journey into making music began nearly 12 years ago, while on a trip to Gainesville.
“I was in the backseat with my boy Ty, and we were riding up to Gainesville to go to a Gator game, and I was like ‘I’m gonna write a rap,’” Gufford said.
Now the 24-year-old UF alumnus, who performs under the name GUFF, is returning to the swamp to play at The Range GNV June 21 after releasing his first studio album “Carpe Noctem” in April.
While the St. Petersburg-based rapper’s music has a strong Southern rap influence, Gufford explained that he doesn’t want to be limited to any particular style.
“I want you to find a song no matter what mood you’re in. That’s why I don’t want to be defined by a genre, because I make music in different moods that shine through every single time,” Gufford said.
Gufford said his biggest influence when creating music is not a specific musical style or artist, but rather his own life. He said his years in Gainesville were influential in his development as a both a person and a musician and helped solidify his desire to make music.
“[Gainesville] helped me become who I am, and that shines through my music,” Gufford said. “It influenced where I wanted to go with music, and I realized that I was going to stop making fake music and make music that I thought sounded good.”
Gufford’s upcoming performance is the culmination of years of work. He began writing the songs for “Carpe Noctem” two and a half years ago, with most of the production and writing being completed over the past year.
He has only played live a handful of times, and his show at The Range GNV will be his first headlining performance.
GUFF’s album “Carpe Noctem” is available on iTunes and Spotify, and tickets for his June 21 performance are available for purchase on Eventbrite. Tickets cost $10 and doors open at 10 p.m.
Gufford said he is excited for the opportunity to finally showcase his talents.
“Everyone says ‘Give me the opportunity and I’ll show out,’ and I have the opportunity now, so I feel more motivated than ever,” he said.