The Genuine making waves in Winston-Salem and beyond

by Britt Chester| @awfullybrittish

The river of musical talent in the Triad is far-reaching, feeding estuaries that provide artists a link to a world beyond the local stages. For The Genuine, one of Winston-Salem’s youngest and most promising folk outfits, swimming in the purgatorial pools of breakout-actmeets-impending stardom is a comfortable place that provides luxurious problems – problems that bands can only hope to achieve one day.

“Towards the end of 2014, we had three months of just playing everywhere,” said Devin Forkel, 24, the man behind the drums in the four-piece act. “We felt moved to pump the breaks on playing as much.”

The Genuine is made up of newlyweds Matthew and Katelyn Allivato, both vocalists and instrumentalist who originally wrote the foundation songs in the early days of the group. Both Matthew and Katelyn grew up in King, and both were transplants from out of state at an early age – Matthew from New York, and Katelyn from California. After dating for four years, the young couple married and moved to Winston-Salem to start their lives together in a new home.

Forkel was born in King, and has just recently moved to Winston-Salem.

“I played at a coffee shop in King, and for some reason Katelyn stuck around,” Matthew remembers. Conversation struck up after a performance, and four years of dating later the two got married.

In the beginning stages of conceptualizing what The Genuine could become, Matthew and Katelyn were playing together. And although King is not a large town (6,906 inhabitants as of 2013 consensus), the duo had not known much about each other. Katelyn and Forkel both attended the same church, but musically, the connection had yet to be established for any of them.

“We really wanted to introduce Devin to the group with his drums, and it really changed our writing style,” Matthew said.

It wasn’t long until Forkel was added to the mix to provide the percussive sounds needed to move the act to the next level.

“A lot of successful musicians in King go to Winston-Salem to play music. We’d all work on projects together or with other people,” Forkel said.

In the same fashion that it was unknown what was missing prior to Forkel’s addition to the band, the final piece of the puzzle was added when Gunnar Nagle, a 20-year-old student at UNC- Chapel Hill, happened upon the then-trio at a Krankies shuffle.

Nagle actually competed against Matthew at a Krankies Coffee Shuffle. The shuffle is a competition of sorts, but more of a friendly competition made up of local musicians. Although Matthew claims they wholly beat Nagle in the Shuffle, it was ultimately the reason they are now working together.

For the six months prior, the group consisted of Matt, Katelyn and Devin. Regardless of the outcome from the Shuffles, though, it was kismet that they happened upon Gunnar.

“The first bill I ever played was a split bill between Matt and myself,” Nagle said. “The next time I played at Krankies it was us as The Genuine.”

Since Nagle has joined the group, things have taken off. The Genuine’s debut studio album, Blooms, was released in 2013, and 2014 found the act focusing on touring the music and reaching as many markets as possible, among other milestones.

Setting goals and achieving them, though, are two entirely different things. For starters, funding a band and touring is no easy task. In a perfect world, you’d hope that promoters who book you will cover the expenses of travel, food and lodge, but too often, and this applies to all rising acts – where “paying your dues” is applied literally – those expenses are passed onto the band.

To help offset these costs, each member does work outside of playing music.

Matthew tends bar and tables at River Birch Lodge, Katelyn works for Hanesbrands Theatre with the box office, and Forkel works in administration with Novant Health. Nagle is a full-time student who divides his time between Winston- Salem with The Genuine, a girlfriend at UNC Greensboro, and his class load at Chapel Hill. Amidst all of their schedules, though, they still manage time for recording, designing and producing merchandise, and touring.

“It’s a leap of faith to rely solely on music,” said Matthew. “We had mapped out different states and goals of where we wanted to go. We traveled (in 2014) – small things like that,” Matthew said.

Right in the middle of the interview – typically where trust is being established between subjects and the interviewer – a group of friend-fans walk up. The conversation is brief, but it’s apparent that The Genuine have become a household name in Winston-Salem and its fan base is growing beyond the confines of supportive friends and family. A solo driver also hollers from his car as he drives by.

“These two, because they have such beautiful faces and they make such beautiful music with their voices, lots of people recognize them, but I’ve ran into [fans] on a few occasions,” Forkel admitted.

“People have come up to me and actively met me because they’d heard our music, and now I’ve met people who know either myself, or Devin, or Matt, or Katelyn, or just the band,” Nagle echoed.

Recognition in your hometown is one thing, but getting out of state is another. In 2014, The Genuine were able to check off some states from their checklist of hopefuls, and 2015 is shaping up to present them with some more opportunities.

“We are always trying to expand to other markets, but we are going to try to focus on new music, a new album, and really taking our time,” Katelyn said.

The New Year’s Eve show is promised to be a special one, and the perfect way to start the year. With hopes of releasing another album in the coming months, and the ideas to create and produce merchandise, The Genuine are slated to move up to the next level of fame.

“In 2015, we are carving out time specifically for writing music so we can create that cohesive sound and feeling,” Matthew said. !


The Genuine will play with Tyler Nail and to-beannounced special guest at The Garage for “The Best Folking New Years.” The show is slated to start at 9 p.m. and advance tickets are $8, $10 day-of-show.