We had the good fortune of connecting with trout baseline and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi trout baseline, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I think risk taking is extremely important. However, I also think you need to choose your risks wisely. Pursuing a creative/artistic career is in and of itself a huge risk. This career path lacks the security that other paths promise. However, the payoff can be worth it a million times over.
I think I am a little risk adverse by default. Knowing your default level of comfort with risk is paramount. If you know you’re a little risk adverse by nature, like me, you have to constantly challenge yourself and ask yourself if you’re playing it too safe. Is this the time to go with a big risk? Or is this a time to sit back a little? Since I’ve been working as an artist, getting outside of my comfort zone with risk has led me to be more comfortable with risk in general. Most of the time, if you do your due diligence and homework, things will work out okay, even if the outcome is different than expected.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’ve been a working musician in Virginia for the last twelve years. I spent a lot of that time honing my skills as a hired musician, sideman, co-prodcuer, and band member. At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent quarantine, I launched my solo music project, trout baseline, releasing my debut EP “(a)round” in November 2020.
The road to get where I am now has been filled with lots of ups and downs, big moves, small victories, and unexpected changes. In the middle of this music career, I took about an 18-month hiatus to try my hand at screenwriting and moved to Los Angeles, I realized that path was not the one to take and I ended up back home in Virginia to find myself where I needed to be at the time.
I think my experience working along side so many talented artists and musicians has prepared me well for a solo project. I had been sitting on songs written for so long and finally felt skilled enough to give it a go and attach my face to the project. I wanted an outlet for my voice, my point of view, something I could show and say “this came from me.”
Musically, I like to think my sound has a unique blend of pop, rock, jazz, and funk. I love to explore the lines between genres and use my wide array of influence to create a distinctive sound. I take a strong focus on melody and catchiness, using both traditional and non-traditional formats. I love the challenge of writing and producing a song that is very enjoyable and fun to sing, but may be a bit unusual underneath the surface, Lyrically, I explore themes such as empowerment, clarity and loss, yearns and desires, existentialism, living truthfully, hardcore self reflection, and toxic social projection.
For me, a big key to sanity is having some sort of life outside of your art. It’s incredibly important to me to carve out time for friends, family, hobbies and interests, meditation, and self-improvement.
A big lesson I’ve learned is being easy to work with. This doesn’t mean compromising your values or letting people take advantage of you, but being friendly, courteous, responsible, and professional. Talent and skill go a long way, but being a fun and pleasant person to be around goes even farther.
As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I want my music and brand to champion freedom and self-expression. Having lived much of my life without full expression, I never want to return to that way of living and I want to encourage all to live the truest version of themselves.
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.
Breakfast at Bluegrass Grill Hike in the Blue Ridge mountains
Afternoon in Richmond
visit the VMFA
Lunch in The Fan/Carytown
Back to Charlottesville
Dinner/drinks/fun on the downtown mall
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d love to give a shoutout to the artistic community of Virginia. Between my hometown of Charlottesville, Richmond, the Shenandoah Valley, NoVa and beyond, this community is incredibly warm, accepting, and vibrant. It’s a relatively small community — there’s a lot of crossover between artists working on each other’s projects — and mostly everyone is friends with each other. I feel extremely lucky to a part of the Virginia music and arts scene.
Maggie Graff Joey Wharton Carrie Coleman