The Art of Working with Artists w/ Leo Brooks

Bassist Leo Brooks has found a secret to being welcomed into a major artist's circle - and it's not that complicated.

In Episode 2 of the GGS, we talk to bassist, songwriter and producer Leo Brooks, who has recorded with Lauryn Hill, Rick Ross and is currently touring with Pitbull. His experiences with various artists at the top of the pop, hip-hop and R&B charts has taught him some important lessons that he shares in this exclusive interview. 

Highlights:

  • Allen and CriStyle talk about their chance to meet former bassist with Prince, Rhonda Smith.
  • Leo talks about growing up in a diverse musical culture.
  • Leo reveals one of his childhood musical memories in a surprising fashion. 
  • Leo, Allen and CriStyle discuss how different artists require different approaches. 
  • Leo talks about his new single, while CriStyle and Allen try their best to make it awkward.
  • Allen and CriStyle discuss their takeaways from Leo’s interview. 

Quotables from the interview

Guest Links:

Featured Patrons:

Host Links:

Theme Music:

  • Performed by Teja Veal, from “The Hopeless Romantic EP”

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Right Turn Here: Why there’s no map to creative success

We can find help in making choices as creatives, but ultimately reaching our destination is up to us

Does anyone remember using a map?

Not the handy GPS app on your phone that can instantly tell you where the nearest Starbucks is, or the traffic app that guides you with calming tones toward an address.

No, I’m referring to the folded paper maps that, when unfolded entirely, covered a kitchen table and filled many a glove compartment during family road trips. If you were born after 1990, it’s possible you’ve never seen one. Suffice it to say these maps were not the easiest to manage. You had to make sense of a bunch of squiggly lines that were supposed to be roads, and then keep track of those lines as you drove. My job as a pre-teen was to sit in the passenger seat (we called this position ‘the navigator’ and it was a high honor) and read the map to my dad – as if he didn’t already know where to go.

Plenty of times during our family vacations, we looked down at the map only to realize that we were in the wrong place. It wasn’t the map’s fault, of course. It was due to our inability to understand what the map was saying.

Now, we don’t have that problem. Our modern maps talk back. We wait for the directions, then we make the decisions.

I mention maps because, while I’m grateful for the new technology that helps us avoid traffic jams and such, I believe a creative career is more like reading a paper map than following a GPS.

The Challenges of Starting a Career – Stef Silva – Ep.1

A revealing discussion with an artist starting a new chapter in her creative career

Our first episode features Allen C. Paul and Cristyle Renae talking to a new artist who represents what the God and Gigs Show is all about. Stef Silva is a singer / songwriter with a background in worship music, who recently began recording and performing in the mainstream industry. Her story brings the issues of managing a music career, wrestling with self-acceptance as an artist, and life / family balance into perspective.

The Character Question: Should artists care?

Becoming a truly successful artist means growing more trustworthy as well

We’ve all heard of that artist.

The one who is immensely talented and gifted, but is almost impossible to work with.

Her temperament is erratic. His morals are shaky. Commitments are rarely kept.

Some might say that this lack of personal character is a symptom of their artistic gift. Somehow, they reason, their love for art makes it impossible to see the world in the same way as the rest of us.

That reasoning doesn’t explain, however, why artists that are just as talented exhibit the exact opposite qualities; grounded, helpful, reasonable and humble.

Clearly it’s not the practice of an art form that makes people behave in  a way that violates common standards of decent behavior. It’s an artist’s choices.

The Content Question: When critics attack

Here are a few tips on how faith-focused creatives can deal with controversy over their artistic choices

If you’ve created anything outside of the four walls of a church, you’ve probably heard this question.

“How can you (play, create, write) that kind of (music, art, story) if you say you believe in God?”

Or, even more pointedly, “How can you work or collaborate with artists who  _______(fill in the offending act or belief system here)?”

This question always brings out the most critical and confrontational conversations between artists and audiences, creators and congregations, performers and pastors.  There are invisible battle lines drawn as soon as the topic arises.

On one side, you have the standard-bearers, those who want faith-focused artists to have no contact or connection with anything they deem secular or ungodly.

On the other side, you have the artists, musicians and creatives who become marginalized into making art that keeps the first category happy. They champion their creative freedoms and point out the idea that their creativity cannot be contained inside temples and in front of church pews.

To each musician, creative, and artist who has dealt with this question, I want to offer three different questions to ask yourself when critics question the content of your creativity, or the quality of the people with whom you collaborate.

 

  1. Who am I working for?
  2. What is my audience looking for?
  3. Who am I trying to impact?