We had the good fortune of connecting with Doug Schmude and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Doug, what do you attribute your success to?
I think a key factor in being successful in an artistic endeavor is to find your voice and stay true to that voice. As soon as you try to start trying too hard to emulate others or to mold what you doing to what you think will be successful, you are likely just going to end up frustrated. At least that has been my experience. I think people are looking for authenticity and something unique. So when it comes to art, I think it is key to be unapologetically yourself.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a singer songwriter currently living in Orange County. I predominately write and perform on acoustic guitar but also play electric guitar, mandolin, slide guitar, dobro, harmonica and a few other assorted string instruments. I am very excited about where I am with my musical journey as I feel like I have finally found my voice. It has taken a long time and without a doubt I’ve gone down many a wrong road in trying to get to where I am. I won’t say it was easy and there were many times when I felt like dropping the whole thing.
I think there were a couple of key aspects that helped me along the way. First, I have managed to separate my primary means of putting food on the table from my creative endeavors in music. I spent a few years living in Nashville trying to focus on making a living solely in music and it about killed it for me. It all became work and there was so much pressure to just find ways to get paid doing it and not enough to focus on the creativity. Of course, this decision results in less time to play music, but for me it is a worthwhile trade as the time I have for it is much for fulfilling and productive. Secondly, I think choosing to dive into producing my own music was very important to any success I’ve had. The recording and production process has become such an important part of the songwriting process for me that they are almost inseparable. Learning music production, recording and mixing has been (and continues to be) a lot of work but I can’t imagine just writing songs on the guitar and going into a studio a paying by the hour to experiment with all the possibilities of turning it into a finished product.
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?
I love all the local breweries in the Southern California so we’d definitely spend some time checking them out. I’ve been performing at a lot of breweries and really love the local crafted vibe and work ethic these breweries showcase. It is clear they love what they do, love the process and enjoy sharing it with others. So we’d hit Gunwhale Ales, Hangar 24, Green Cheek, Chapman Crafted and 1886 to name a few. No visit to SoCal is complete without a visit to the beach which would either be Newport (if people watching is important) or Crystal Cove (if it is beach solitude you are after). It’s been a bit more challenging with COVID but ordinarily we’d definitely find some live music to check out. Preferably somewhere unique like McCabes guitar shop or Pappy and Harriet’s.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First and foremost I need to give a shout out to my wife Cindy and my two kids Ryan and Abby. They are incredibly and unfailingly supporting of this crazy endeavor of mine. I can’t say enough about what it means to have them in my corner. Additionally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a shoutout to my good friend and mastering engineer Jason Deift. In addition to the amazing job he does mastering my music, he has provided invaluable support on guidance on all things music from songwriting, recording, vocal production and mixing. Finally, I’d love to give a shoutout to Kim Gibson who is the fantastic artist behind the cover artwork for my latest EP, One Shy of a Six Pack. Check out Kim’s artwork at www.msiguideddesigns.com.