"The acid-banjo god of the cello"

STEVEN BERNSTEIN (The Hot 9, Levon Helm Band, Sex Mob)

“Singer and unconventional cellist Trevor Exter plucks and whacks at his big instrument and guides it through multiple climaxes.”

Time Out New York

“If you’re expecting a sedate orchestra recital, you’d better think again…. Exter’s crooning voice harkens back to an era of music where men weren’t afraid to wear their hearts on their sleeves.”

Chris Kocher, Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin

“…makes you feel like you found something you didn’t even know you were missing… Trevor Exter nails it.”

Ethan Kanat, BreakThruRadio.com

Bio [PDF]


For most of his life, Trevor Exter has been a professional singer and cellist with his own approach to all aspects of composing, songwriting, producing, performing and touring. He has a couple of bands where he gets to make a spectacle of himself, and some producers like to use him as a secret weapon. He also plays Fender bass.

First-time listeners are sometimes puzzled when Exter steps on stage, a cello plugged into an amp the way a rocker bears his axe. Exter has toured with De La Guarda, Steve Kimock, James McBride's Good Lord Bird Band, DJ Tasha Blank and his duo with John Kimock, XVSK. He frequently performs solo.

He makes music for nighthawks and dreamers. Mixing acoustic pop, American soul and restless rock energy with an itinerant vision all his own, his songs travel far and burrow deep. The lyrics, brimming with passion, are delivered by a warm, grainy voice over a subtle and surprisingly deep groove.

Exter's musical quest has always been to dig deep and find new ways to meld the traditional with the experimental. He found a niche by combining unorthodox cello techniques with pop songwriting. Very rarely in the mainstream do we get to see cellists innovate at the front of the stage, but Exter has always felt that the cello has more to offer than just "warming up the mix". So he strives to find new fertile ground.

Raised in Tompkins County, NY and fascinated by the cello at an early age, he moved to Brazil at age 19, hypnotized by the fire and tenderness in its music. He played with young Brazilian musicians who reveled in the Beatles, Coltrane and Ellington as well as their country’s icons: Antonio Carlos Jobim, Gilberto Gil, Chico Buarque and Hermeto Pascoal.

But Exter had no stylistic footing until age 30, when he survived the near-death experience of getting run over by a cement truck, an accident which shocked him into a heightened awareness of life's fragility. Unable to walk for several months during his recovery, he befriended a beat-up cello which had fallen into his possession. Starting from scratch with basic hand percussion on the strings, he slowly crafted a sound which can (and does) go the distance from dance bands to jazz clubs, nightclubs, churches and concert halls.

Early solo arrangements evolved over time into band projects, and in his cello technique you'll hear a working knowledge of many genres. Having played professionally as a guitarist, electric bassist, drummer and keyboardist, Exter has always striven to bridge the tactile pleasures of his favored cello with the technical, sonic and rhythmic requirements of other traditions.

He plays regularly around the world and locally in New York City.