We had the good fortune of connecting with Joel Piedt and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joel, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
“Fail big.” Ever since 2013 I’ve had a little sign above my studio monitors where I work with those words. I love it because the fear of failure is probably the greatest deterrent to risk taking–really in any industry–but especially the arts. And I’m convinced that we can’t really make anything that will last if there’s not some serious risk involved. To open yourself, to be seen, to be flawed, to make yourself vulnerable to critique, rejection, indifference–this is the stuff of any of the work I care about. If I accept that risk from the outset, I open myself to worlds of possibility I might have otherwise overlooked.
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.
Sharon and I both came from disparate musical backgrounds. It was obvious that we were meant to make life and music together–what wasn’t as obvious was how exactly that would work practically. The first few years of our marriage and music career were a crash course in how not to pursue marriage and music. We’ve learned some things. When we first moved to LA, maybe 6 months in, I began to feel my soul getting sucked out of me. There’s quite an expectation when you move here to do things a certain way, suck up to certain people, run in certain circles, get certain gigs, have a certain presence–and if you don’t you’re irrelevant. Nothing good comes from that kind of life except tired people and tired art. We made a hard break with that thinking a few years ago with no regret. We’d rather give our lives to things things that matter. We’d rather still be married and love our lives in 50 years. We’d rather build a legacy that we’re proud of–that begins with our family, then extends to our community and our art. We’ve learned that the greatest work of art is life itself, and if we don’t start doing the hard work of tending to that project now we’ll wake up one day and it will have been too late.
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.
I’d take them to a jazz or blues show at The Mint. One of the longest-standing venues in town, it’s a gem. Legends play there, but they continue to support and showcase the local scene. Classic. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Over the last few years, we’ve built a beautiful team around our music who have taken it to new heights. The lead of that team is a dear friend, Paul Yurick. He has sacrificed so much over the years because he simply believes in the music we’re making. To have those kinds of people in your corner, the empowerment you feel, there’s just nothing like it. No words.
Bliss Kaufman, local to LA