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  • Derek Nakamoto

Life Creates Art


Last night I had the best hang with good friend Stephen Baird. Over an amazing bottle of wine in a small quite boutique bar downtown LA the conversation rolled over 5 hours. Both wine and conversation got deeper through the evening. I met him at a TAXI Road Rally Convention 9 years ago where he was just starting out as a composer.


Running into him every year since at TAXI became a highlight for me! Crazy thing when we hung out our work occupied less than 10% of the conversation. We shared life stories covering the gamut; food, travel, social perspectives. I find that to be the same with all of my inner circle friends.


A portion of our conversation had to do with a class I am conducting at the Road Rally this year. Titled “Know Who You Are” it will be a first for me in this forum. Really grateful to my bud Rob Chiarelli introducing me to Michael Laskow who is giving me a spot to bring what I do in the studio to this interactive forum.


A large part of my production process revolves around mindful conversation. I have always had this ability to make people feel comfortable where they could express themselves. Trusting my gut I will ask questions guiding conversations to areas that might be helpful. Artist create their best work when they are vulnerable allowing their emotions to surface. Walls preventing them from connecting to their art becomes hardened as a defense to life’s challenges.


I always tell folks I am not the smartest person on the planet, do not have all the answers and am like them … a seeker trying to figure it out. What allows me to connect is compassion and empathy using stories from my own experiences that might be relevant or give them a different perspective.


The diverse artist and producers that both inspired me and continue to inspire me have one thing in common. Their music and work ethic are uniquely intertwined and connected with their life experiences, truths and beliefs.


The biggest struggle for me these days is remembering and embracing what got me into music. It was a medium to express myself and in later years becoming a place where I felt alive. It’s sad to see artist motivated by fame and fortune rather than the desire to express themselves in a genuine way through their art. Many want that “quick pill” achieving that doing the least amount of work. As my grandmother used to tell me, “bull puckey”!


Knowing who we are is a constant daily challenge that defines our core. Living our lives creates our art. A good mindful work ethic surrounded by a strong inner circle of friends and family keeps us in check. After that, it is out of our hands.

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© 2017 by Brandon Grey.