Friday, September 28, 2018

Brian Kay

It's Entrepreneur Friday! This week's self-employed artist is Brian Kay. I'm not sure how long ago I met Brian, but it's been at least a few years now. We've done several gigs together for Istanpitta Medieval Music Ensemble. Brian's voice has a clarity and the rare ability to give life to songs from distant times and lands as if these songs were right here in our back pockets all along. Aside from a gorgeous voice, Brian is an extremely varied musical talent, so varied, in fact, that he is working on a series of YouTube videos on his channel to answer the often asked "What kind of music do you play?" On the same YouTube channel, you can hear/see him perform, and he has plans to interview other musicians. I highly recommend following his channel. I enjoy watching him grow as an artist, and I have no doubt you will too!

Brian, Al, Rosalind and myself at a 12th Night celebration.
I asked Brian a series of questions for this article and rather than botch his answers, I will copy a bit of what he had to say here. Every time I talk to him, I feel like I am talking to myself of 20 years ago...  yeah, that means I'm getting old - haha...  Maybe the familiarity points to some universality in the questions, ideas, struggles, and reasons for going on this artistic entrepreneur journey.
The modern musician.
What is your favorite part of artsy entrepreneurship?
There are many things to like about being an artistic entrepreneur. If I were to pick a favorite, it would have to be that there are times when it enables me to follow my muse and learn a new style of music or a new skill. I’m constantly expanding my set of skills, and lately I’ve started painting and doing wood working. Right now they are hobbies, but they could very well become another means of income in the future if I decide to pursue that route. I don’t always have that kind of free time, but the nature of my work is that I get hired for a period of time and become the musician necessary for that gig, then I might have a week, two weeks, or even a month off to work on my own artistic vision.

What is the worst part, or what do you fear?
It’s hard to say... Everybody has ups and downs in life and we all have an average level of performance. Sometimes we perform above our average and others below. But most of the time I’m right in the middle, and that middle has an upwards trajectory, and has ever since I’ve started playing music. In other words, I’m always getting better at what I do, and therefore my average level of performance is getting better. Still, there are times when I don’t feel well, or I find it hard to focus. It is during those times that I’m most at risk of performing lower than my standards. I always try to remain optimistic and be forgiving of myself when I’m unable to rise to the occasion. But I haven’t always been so forgiving of my imperfections. All of that said, I guess my greatest fear must be that I might become complacent or hit a plateau and not aspire for growth. Or that I may one day run out of ideas, which seems nearly impossible considering all of the ideas I have now. Still, it is a possibility.
Pondering his next big idea.

Self-care… It’s not always easy to be your own boss. What do you do to be kind to yourself?
I like how this question is framed! I used to be so hard on myself. I was a bad boss and a bad employee. I recently started to take better care of myself: changed my sleeping habits, diet, exercise routine, quit drinking alcohol. I have meditated daily since 2013, but I started to get more serious about my practice and to explore other methods of meditation. All of this led to me feeling better physically, mentally, and emotionally. It has culminated in me being more organized throughout the day and my productivity and creativity has exploded. 

If you're in Texas like me, it's worth noting that he'll be at Ye Ol' Texas Ren Fest October 13 and 14 with Istanpitta - a rare chance for you to catch this northerner live here in Texas. Go forth and subscribe to his channel and buy his works. Snoop... stalk... go on, you have permission!

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