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Entries in Creative Fridays (13)


[Creative Fridays] #3 : Dylan Kay

I first met Jazz Guitarist Dylan Kay while we were both studying in Berklee College of Music. We had a mutual friend, Swedish guitarist Magnus Lindstrom and at some point we became a guitar trio and had different opportunities to perform together. We remained friends even after graduating and I've visited him a bunch of times when he was based in London. Fairly soon though, he will be relocating to New Zealand. My own dream is to get a chance to tour with him when he's finally based in the same region.

More about Dylan: He's been on faculty at Guitar Insitute London, led his group 1224 Project and has been teaching for year at differents schools in London. For an exclusive lesson with him, check out his guest blog post on A Chord A Day here.

For now, in our 3rd installment of Creative Fridays, we'll learn more about what inspires this creative musician....


1. What's your latest project? 
“What Happened to The Foot” is my latest CD with 1224 Project. It’s all original compositions (plus a re-worked medley of a couple of Nirvana tunes). The trio features two incredible musicians (and great friends) I have played with for a long time – David Bouet (drums) and Leslee Booth (6-string bass).

2. What inspires your music?
My mum, Lynette Kay, is an abstract artist. Through enjoying her work, I have become more and more aware of the similarities and differences between these art forms. I am always hugely inspired by visiting galleries and exhibitions (I also studied a lot of Art History at university…)

3. What's your 5 Desert Island Albums?
"Bright Size Life" Pat Metheny
His first album as leader... a big initial inspiration for me.

"Yo Hey" David Tronzo
Live album from 1996. Incredible music and playing! A genius. (See question 4)

"Quiet" John Scofield
I used to listen to this endlessly – a radical departure for Sco, but absolutely beautiful in every way.

“King of the Delta Blues Singers” Robert Johnson 
This scared the hell out of me the first time I heard it, and I really did not know how to relate to it. Unbelievable.

Blue" - Joni Mitchell. An album I have listened to intensely for a long time. Just beautiful.

4. Who's one artist/musician that you love but most people probably don't know of? 
It has got to be slide guitarist David Tronzo. I think it’s absolutely criminal that this guy isn’t a household name. Tronzo is possibly the most incredible musician and most fearless improviser I have ever heard. A huge inspiration to me (and pretty much anyone else who’s heard him play…)

5. What's an advice you wish someone told you when you started in the arts? 
I often find that people have already told me what I needed to know – I just didn’t realize it at the time! Perhaps this would have been particularly helpful though: to know that everyone progresses in their own way, at their own pace. Don’t be swayed or intimidated by people who seem to be further down their own particular path.

6. How do we reach you?
Buy CD/Album/MP3 Link:


[Creative Fridays] #2 : Deborah Crooks

Welcome to the 2nd installment of [Creative Fridays]

Today, I talk to San Francisco Bay Area-based singer-songwriter Deborah Crooks. When I first arrived in the Bay Area in 2007, the very first gig I played was a show at Caffe Trieste in Downtown San Francisco. She co-hosted the show with singer-songwriter Steven Kacsmar. It was a fun gig and since then, I've followed her career updates even though we didn't crossed paths again in gigs for two years. 

In 2010, at the very cool Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse Open Mic in Downtown Berkeley, we met again and started to talk while waiting to sign up to play. We had a chance to talk, catch up & since then probably been more connected than ever! I'm grateful for the combination of social media platforms (FB & Twitter) that now we're definitely more in touch -- even after I've relocated back to Malaysia.

Deborah Crooks's music is personal - a blend of Americana, rootsy rock and confessional storytelling. Come and learn more about her as she shares her inspiration, current projects and favorite music.

1. What's your latest project? 
I'm in Mysore, India right now, having sort of a writing retreat and yoga study intensive for two months, with the goal to start recording my third full-length CD upon my return to the US at the end of January. My latest complete project was making my first video, a collaboration with Blue Lotus Films for the song "Let's Move" from my CD '2010' ( You can see the results here: 

2. What inspires your music? [real life experiences, nature, art, people you know etc.] 
Pretty much facets of all those things! Subject-wise, I'm most concerned with the emotional landscape of various real-life experiences and family history, and I have a long-standing love of the natural landscape (I have a degree in Environmental Studies with a focus on Natural History from UCSA) so geographical and avian references often crop up in my lyrics. As far as straight-up inspiration, my go-to's are regular yoga practice (Mysore-style Ashtanga) and listening to live music.

3. What's your 5 Desert Island Albums? 
Oh, these type of questions are painful! That said, I'd want a mix of excellent songwriters I look to for inspiration, artists to whom I can always rock, and a bit of jazz and classical, so today, I'll say, in no particular order:
1) 'Car Wheels on a Gravel Road' Lucinda Williams
2) 'Time (The Revelator)' Gillian Welch
3) 'Lift Every Voice,' Charles Lloyd
4) 'The Live Anthology' Tom Petty
5) 'Clarinet & Bassoon Concertos', Mozart

4. Who's one artist/musician that you love but most people probably don't know of? 
A songwriter who I think is doing great work but is as yet, not super famous, is Nashville artist Sarah Siskind. She has a beautiful voice that's at once full, smooth and raw, is fearless in her level of lyrical honesty and made a wonderful album"Say it Louder" that's both heart-breaking and redemptive. 

5. What's an advice you wish someone told you when you started in the arts? 
Someone may have told me but I think it's the most important thing: don't try to be anyone but yourself and respect your process.

6. How do we reach you?

Next week: [Creative Fridays] #3 with London, UK Jazz Guitarist Dylan Kay

Thank you so much for reading! 

If you liked this post, please Tweet or Click Like! =)


[Creative Fridays] #1 Kevin Broken Scar  

Photo Credit: Alvin Wong

Welcome to the debut installment of [Creative Fridays] 

For the past one month, I've been contacting fellow musicians from around the globe. They are my friends -- wonderful people that I've met over the years. Even though they might play different styles of music, live in different regions of the world & love different flavors of ice-cream (or not!) ... They all are creative individuals that constantly inspire me in my own work.

In [Creative Fridays], I'll be featuring one every week for 13 weeks, running from Feb 2012 to April 2012. They include singer-songwriters, a musician-turned-film maker, rockers, a violinist-Berklee Assistant Professor, Jazz Guitarists, a musician/festival organizer, a Cumbia-Dub bandleader and more! 

For our first interview, we have Kevin Broken Scar, an amazing singer-songwriter/bandleader based in Melbourne, Australia. Kevin is a professional sound engineer, leads the 3-piece rock band Broken Scar, an amazing guitarist and loves red t-shirts.

I first met him years ago at a gig organized by website/music forum At that time, Kevin was still performing a solo acoustic act. Even solo, I could hear the sound of the band that he was hearing in his head. It was rocking! 

Let's get to know more about his music and take a peek into his creative world. 

Here we go! (And if you like, you can listen to a track by Kevin while reading here) =)

1. What's your latest project? 

I am currently in the process of recording demo tracks for a release that is yet to be announced.

2. What inspires your music? 
Most of the time the amazing people around me, my wife that I adore, God, navigating this journey of life, relationships and heart matters. I am also very fortunate to have many talented and gifted musician friends who inspire me. Lately, I’ve found myself getting sparks of ideas from films in addition to all of the above.

3. What's your 5 Desert Island Albums? [ the five albums that you could listen on repeat forever]

Underoath – They’re Only Chasing Safety
Taking Back Sunday – Live From Orensanz
Anberlin – Never Take Friendship Personal
Hillsong United – Aftermath
Mr. Big – Big, Bigger, Biggest.

4. Who's one artist/musician that you love but most people probably don't know of?
I can’t think of a better artist to love than my own brother Darren Teh of An Honest Mistake. He has thousands of fans so this may not fit the “most people probably don’t know of” bit accurately, but I can’t help it. He is a brilliant bass player, a killer acoustic and electric guitar player, a great singer and most importantly an amazing songwriter. He is one of the people who inspire me too.

5. What's an advice you wish someone told you when you started in the arts? 
I wish someone told me how much administration is involved in this music business. 

6. How do we reach you?
Buy CD/Album/MP3 Link: Download everything for free at


Next week: [Creative Fridays] #2 with Oakland, California-based singer-songwriter Deborah Crooks! 

Thank you so much for reading! 

If you liked this post, please Tweet or Click Like! =)

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