Sal’s Story


The Inspiring Life Story of Country Artist Sal Gonzalez

Born and raised in East Los Angeles, CA, Sal Gonzalez learned to sing in grade school while performing in the choir and quickly fell in love with the whole process. He later picked up playing guitar partially by learning from his self-taught father and partially by playing in bands with much better guitar players. Sal quickly started singing lead in bands throughout high school, having small success with his Spanish rock band “La Cabaña,” playing locally all over Southern California.

Service to His Country

After the terror attacks of 9/11, Sal decided to serve his country and shifted his focus from music to being a United States Marine—a title he would later earn in late 2003. After training to become a machine gunner, Sal proudly served with the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines and would later be deployed to Iraq in the late summer of 2004. On October 31, 2004, Sal’s vehicle was struck for the 7th time during that deployment, killing Lt. Matthew D. Lynch and severely injuring Sal and one other Marine.

A Challenging Experience

Sal was flown to Bethesda Naval Hospital, where, after coming out of a weeklong coma, he learned the extent of his injuries. After more than 30 surgeries and 4 months of hospitalization, his left leg was amputated below the knee. Once healed, he was sent to San Antonio Medical Center in Texas, where he spent the next year learning to walk on his new prosthetic leg. Sal retired from the United States Marine Corps in late 2005 and, after a quick stay back home in Los Angeles, CA, he moved to Nashville, TN to pursue his dreams of songwriting and performing.


Finding His Passion

“In a lot of ways, 2006–2010 were the best and yet darkest times of my life,” Sal recounts. “I learned how to write songs while working the door as a bouncer at the Bluebird Cafe, I made some of the best friends of my life and started attending college at MTSU, but I was also drinking a 5th of Jim Beam to go to sleep at night,” he added.

However, Sal persevered, and by working with organizations like the Wounded Warrior Project and Semper Fi Fund, he found that his passion for helping other warriors was “more compelling than the bottle.” Since that time, Sal has helped raise millions of dollars with his music and public speaking engagements for veterans’ care organizations all across the country. In 2012, he became a spokesperson for the Wounded Warrior Project, where he still helps raise awareness by telling his story with the Warrior Speak Team.


Start of a New Journey

In 2014, Sal was selected to be a contestant on NBC’s America’s Got Talent. Off the strength of his performance, he has been able to perform with many of today’s country superstars. He has shared the stage with Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Charles Kelly, and Trace Adkins, just to name a few. His songs about life, love, and loss are sometimes a far cry from the laughing, often joking guy he is today.

“I've come a long way in my recovery; I’m a completely different person than I was back then,” he said. However, his whiskey-soaked lifestyle is still apparent in his lyrics, penning songs like “Whiskey on the Ground,” a country ballad lamenting a veteran’s journey through PTSD and substance abuse. “Most of my music is sad because that’s the music that I write, it’s the stuff I want to get off my chest,” Sal said.

Songs From the Heart

However, Sal proves with his song, “When We Go Round,” that he can write up-tempo songs about love too. Meanwhile, the song “Heroes” is Sal’s favorite song that he’s worked on, and he says, “it was the first song that I’d written that I was like, ‘finally something really me.’” The EP “Shadow of Death” is Sal’s first release as an artist and according to him, “that’s just the beginning.”

Get in Touch

There are many things to look forward to about Sal and his music. For booking requests and inquiries about his latest gigs, do not hesitate to contact him today.