We had the good fortune of connecting with Chris Powe and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chris, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
I feel when things start falling into place, that is a key indicator to keep going. Of course it has to be backed up by hard work and dedication. I feel like the only time to give up is when you have exhausted most of if not all of your resources and are still not seeing your desired result within a certain time period. But even in that case, maybe you just need to rework how you are approaching a situation, and possibly tackle it from a different angle.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Being a musician is a never ending process of rewarding hard work. I have been playing the saxophone for about nine years now, and the process has never gotten easier. There are always new skills, techniques, and ideas to explore when delving into my artistry/musicianship. This never ending journey of discovering, playing, creating, and listening to music always keeps me interested.
There have definitely been times when I felt like giving up music, but I was never able to envision my life without it. It’s so engrained in my life, that it’s become like an addiction. I have to play my horn, and I have to listen to music throughout the day or I just feel out of sync.
The major lesson I have learned throughout all is time is that in order to be ready, you have to stay ready. In my case, I always have to be practicing and keeping my chops in shape so when I get a call for a gig, I’ll be ready.
Now, I’m really excited about being a part of a collective of extremely talented musicians called Blak Art Distrikt. Last summer, we started playing every Friday night in Leimert Park. Playing every night and seeing the reaction of the crowd really put into perspective how much power music has. It was beautiful seeing black love, black art, black joy, and black businesses celebrated, especially after the then recent killing of George Floyd. Even though I’m in school at Berklee College of Music right now, Blak Art Distrikt has started playing again on Friday nights in Leimert Park. So if you are able, you should show up and enjoy a night of music!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
First, I would take them to the Grammy Museum. It would be really cool learning about anything and everything related to music there. Next, I would take them to this Creole Cafe on Pico Blvd called Stevie’s. Shoutout to Kelsey Kelly for getting me hip to the spot! Finally, I would end the trip at Santa Monica Beach. The sunsets there are amazing, especially during the summer! Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First I want to give a big thanks to my family. They have always been there for me and have been a strong support system. There are also two more people that deserve a shoutout. First is Fernando Pullum. I have been at his community arts center in the heart of Los Angeles since I was in middle school. Attending free music classes at the center has helped me become the musician and overall person that I am today. The second shoutout goes to Scott Mayo. He is an amazing musician and supportive mentor in my life. I wouldn’t be at the level I am at on my instrument now without him.
Other: The instagram page for Blak Art Distrikt is: @_blakartdistrikt