We had the good fortune of connecting with John Tegmeyer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi John, how do you think about risk?
Before I moved to LA, I hadn’t really faced many major risks. I was fortunate to have a lot of supportive people in my life which made the risks I took early in my career less daunting. But once I moved here, I got scared. I felt like I wasn’t good enough to perform with LA musicians and was worried that someone was going to tell me to get out of town! Facing those fears was a big risk for me, but I finally convinced myself to actually go out and play with other musicians at a jam session. Of course it went fine (much to my relief) and I kept going, which led to many more opportunities.
Since then, each risk I’ve taken has become easier and easier. Sometimes the risks don’t work out, but nothing has felt as daunting as just getting started.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Currently I’m a professional recording/performing clarinetist and composer. I record/perform for other people’s projects (albums, soundtracks, live shows) and also write, record, and perform my own material. I mostly compose music for myself to perform with various groups I put together. I enjoy being able to play a wide range of styles with relative ease, from concertos to Brazilian chorros to modern jazz.
As long as I’m genuine in how I play and perform, I consider it a success. I also think it’s important to appreciate your own successes, but not to get too comfortable with it. I’ve learned that in this business, success is fleeting and people who may want to hire you are more concerned with the job you’re doing at that moment, not that killing solo you played a few months ago.
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.
Well, you can’t come to LA and not immediately get tacos! I know locals all have their spots but I like La Estrella at Figueroa and Avenue 61 in Highland Park. Then maybe a secret stair hike (or two), then to the beach! Also, Museum Row on Wilshire is great if you’re into fine art and tar pits. I’d also take them to the Observatory in Griffith Park. Another good way to see the city is pick a street and just drive it till it ends (Sunset is a good one). Also, I’m not a huge sports guy, but I do have fun at Dodger games too. There’s so much to see and do here!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I had amazing support my whole life—My family and friends and many of my teachers who gave me opportunities and patience to figure out what I wanted to do: Nick Mancini, Katisse Buckingham, Vardan Ovsepian, Tina Raymond, Jake Leckie, James Yoshizawa, Cooper Appelt, and so many others!
Facebook: John Tegmeyer Music
Photos by: Jay Matsueda, Adrianne Duncan, Laurel Kathleen