We had the good fortune of connecting with Jonathan Romppel and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jonathan, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I think risk taking is unavoidable and essential when it comes to realizing what you want to do in life. Of course, how great the risk depends on everyone’s individual goals and plans for themselves, but especially in achieving a career as a creative, taking risks is gonna have to become a regular thing. As a musician, in my experience the best thing you can do is to get yourself into a situation where everybody in the room is at a higher level than you are. It’s gonna be uncomfortable and scary, but these are the kind of situations where you are forced to learn and grow the most.

I probably took a risk when I only applied to Berklee and no other college or university, but I was confident it was the right path for me, so I didn’t worry about it and just kept doing what I knew I wanted to do. My faith certainly plays a part in this – after all, why should I worry about tomorrow – tomorrow will worry about itself. There is no need to add to the troubles each day brings.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m a keyboardist, pianist, multi-instrumentalist, MD and arranger. I love working with artists and bands, be it as an accompanist on piano or as a keyboardist in a larger setting. I’m excited about playing in all genres, from Pop to Rock to Jazz to Country, but I have a big passion for Gospel and Soul music. Being from Germany and now playing R&B, Hip-Hop, and Gospel music in the US certainly sets me apart, and I am always very grateful to be allowed to be a part of that culture here. I grew up listening to artists like Earth, Wind, and Fire, Babyface, and Stevie Wonder, which has absolutely shaped my musicality to this day.

Getting through the pandemic was hard. From one day to the next, all the gigs and shows were gone and I had to figure out my own schedule everyday. I went back to the shed and worked on my other skills such as playing bass, drums, preparing live tracks and MDing in church. I’m very excited to be getting back into the game and can’t wait to see where my career takes me next. In the future, I hope to be on tour, produce for artists, and write music for film. My other interests include drawing, comic books, writing, and film-making.

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 off, we have to go see the amazing view from the Griffith Observatory. We would definitely go hiking – I love going from the observatory up to Mt. Hollywood. At night, we will have to stop by the view at Universal City Overlook, right above Studio City, from which you can look over the whole Valley. For breakfast and/or hanging out in the afternoon, we’ll have to go to Republic of Pie in North Hollywood! In that area, I also love just driving by all the big film studios like Universal, Warner Brothers, and Disney Animation Studios (who I would love to work for one day)!

One of the most lovely spots to visit is Japanese Village Plaza in Little Tokyo – my favourite restaurant there is Suehiro Café, which offers all kinds of typical authentic Japanese food. Right across the street from there, I also really like the restaurant Chinchikurin for Okonomiyaki, a typical Japanese street food, and for Kakikoori, delicious shaved ice flavoured with syrup.

Not far off from there, we have to go visit The Last Bookstore in Downtown LA! Other favourite bookshops we’ll have to see include The Iliad Bookshop in North Hollywood (say hi to the cats there!) as well as Bookmonster in Santa Monica.
Later, we’ll have to stop by El Huero Drive Thru in Downtown LA for the best Mexican takeout food!

Another favourite hangout spot of mine is the Americana in Glendale (alternatively The Grove in WeHo, same thing) – a little Disneyland vibe in the city, and the Barnes and Nobles there has a built-in café where you can hang out for hours!

Other great food spots to hit up are Ruby’s Shake Shop in North Hollywood, for burgers and Roadside Tacos in Studio City!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The first shoutout goes to my parents for always supporting me in whatever endeavour I wish to embark on, and always believing and taking serious any dreams of a career as a creative. Shoutout also goes to my friends from college who believed in me and taught me so much along the way, like Paul PapaBear Johnson, Justin Peterkin, Devin Smith, Christian Crawford, and many more! And also to all the people in LA who have called me to play for them, or referred me to other people!

Website: www.jonathanromppel.com

Instagram: @jromppel

Twitter: @JonathanRomppel

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.