We had the good fortune of connecting with Brendan Lane and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brendan, putting aside the decision to work for yourself, what other decisions were critical to your success?
When I was in high school It came time to decide the path I took in college. I loved playing guitar and writing song’s, but I also understood the commitment of going to a conservatory or music college. It was daunting and I was afraid It would ruin my love and passion for playing. I told myself I will always be able to play music for as long as I live, but I don’t need someone to tell me what is right or what is wrong, that’s not what music is about anyways. I decided to enroll in business school and continued to dissect my favorite guitar players, singers, and songwriters in between (and sometimes during) classes. I realized if I had this business degree, well I’d be alright down the line because I still loved playing the guitar. That business degree has since propelled me into circles within the music industry I would never have been a part of without that shiny piece of paper. It also gave me a concrete understanding of running my music career as a start up. It was the perfect marriage of the two paths I thought were so exclusive back in high school. Like any marriage it’s been really rough at times, doors were slammed, voices raised, hearts broken but the love that is rooted in the music overcomes all.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
There are PLENTY of white boys who played the guitar nice and pretty. They can all write songs about a girl or how crappy the world is. That’s cool, I learned how to do that. But what sets me apart are two things I developed when I was studying in college. Blues harmonica, and an insatiable passion for playing on stage for an audience. When I was in university, oftentimes I’d skip class to go hang with my friends in the woods for like 30 minutes and then go back to my dorm. It was all quiet because everyone (except me) was in class. So I would turn up old Howlin’ Wolf, Charlie Musslewhite, Muddy Waters and especially G. Love and special sauce to practice their harmonica licks. I found It was such a cool instrument to incorporate my love of the blues with this white boy/guitar sound. I skipped a lot of classes and thus i got pretty damn good. To this day people always draw their breath and whisper when I take out a harp and they really go crazy when I start wailing.
The other part is tougher to explain, but my passion for playing is pretty tough to match. My thinking is “if I’m having a blast, so will the audience” it’s a tangible energy in the room and when things get cooking It becomes a tennis match between the artist and the audience. I think I’ve always had a way to communicate with other people in a positive manner, that comes out on stage and people seem drawn to It. I thoroughly love what I do and people recognize and want to be a part of something like that.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well I’m from Washington DC, since then I’ve bounced around the world so I’ll answer the question from the lens of our nations Capitol.
I’d pick em up at the airport (on the Metro of course) and we’d head down to the Wharf to catch a bite to eat and then try to find some live music by the water. Afterwards maybe hit a bar or two for a night cap.
The next couple of days we’d do the tourist thing, check out the Smithsonian museums, walk the National mall, and go to a baseball game in the evening.
One day I’d pitch taking the metro to Old Town Alexandria for the day to hang by the docks or walk around the cobblestone streets and have a nice lunch.
We could take the train up to Baltimore and see the inner harbor, walk around Lexington Market, or go to Ft. McHenry
Back to DC for last day and a half and we’d hang in Adam’s Morgan going bar hopping and seeing some of the most eclectic live music anywhere in the country. Blues bands to hip hop street performers to Go-Go bands to country jukebox and more! After stumbling home we’d probably have to sleep a couple hours before getting my friend back to the airport hungover and smelling like a great time.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My father is the first person who comes to mind. He is a phenomenal jazz musician so I couldn’t escape music as a child, nor did I want to. He recognized that and really did his best to water those seeds. I feel like most children who have musical parents can get turned off because the parent is over controlling/strict/obsessive/etc. but my dad wasn’t like that at all. I never was into jazz or piano until much later but that didn’t stop him from showing me Rock’nRoll and taking me to concerts. He has continued to show me how powerful music is to people. I think that is a more important lesson to teach a young musician than which modes to play over what chord progression. If you can tap into someone’s heart and make them forget about the world for a minute, song, or concert, that’s the f***ing magic. That’s what my dad has taught me and I am forever grateful.
Linkedin: Brendan Lane
Leah Beach Alice Hsieh