We had the good fortune of connecting with Zach Heyde and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Zach, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
I think this is a REALLY important topic to address as an artist—particularly with the quarantine and its impact on mental health. I used to push myself to work at my limits nearly every day, including weekends. I’d roll out of bed and go straight to the computer, usually skipping breakfast. There would be days where I wouldn’t eat my first meal until around 2pm, when I’d only remember because my stomach growls would get caught in my recordings. (I’m only half kidding.)
When self-quarantine began in February due to COVID, the few outlets I had outside of work—social meetups, shopping with my now-fiancé, going to concerts—were cut off from me. I quickly began to burn out with my all-work mindset, and realized that my career as an artist is just as much about sustainability as it is about drive. We simply can’t maintain a healthy relationship with our craft without replenishing our body and mind as we go. I’m still not perfect at my work-life balance—some days I work all day, some days I’ll do nothing—but I’m learning day by day to appreciate the value of time off, and have noticed that when I give myself PERMISSION to take time away, my output is more focused, and certainly more inspired! I recommend taking walks, mindfulness practices like meditation, stretching and exercise, and making time to socialize with friends, family, and peers!”
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.
My passion for music has always been driven by how powerful a tool it can be for emotional storytelling. I think in some ways that comes from my family—my family LOVES to turn little moments into these epic stories to be shared over the holidays. In the same way, I try to draw from my own emotions and experience to tell stories in my music. It’s a really deep-seated thing for me… I cry WAY too frequently during movies and shows, simply because I can feel the music revealing a deeper subtext than what’s being told on-screen. The final scene in The Green Mile always breaks me (spoiler alert)—right when John Coffey is electrocuted in the chair, Thomas Newman’s music cuts the solo piano, leaving only the strings to take the melody. It’s subtle, but emotionally it feels like his life is represented by the solo piano, and his ascendence is taken by the strings. Maybe I read too much into this stuff, but that’s where the real power of music lies for me. In terms of my growth, I’ve gotten to where I am by pursuing the things that have interested me, asking for help regularly from friends and those I trust, and listening STRONGLY to my intuition. I believe that our intuition is one of the most powerful tools we have for growth, but a signal many of us ignore. When a new opportunity comes my way, I always ask “Would I regret doing this? Would I regret NOT doing this?”—and then I listen for an answer. In truth, most of my “risky” decisions didn’t feel risky at all, simply because I’m more afraid of regretting something I didn’t do than I am of not doing the thing at all!
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?
Well, with COVID going on, a visit to Target feels like a Disneyland vacation to me! I really love (and miss) the Hollywood Bowl. I’ve been to three shows since moving here a year ago, and loved every one of them. The live to film concerts are incredible, and a great thing to bring visitors too! Aside from that, Huntington Beach is my go-to for catching some sun, and I love my area of South Pasadena for walks and local restaurants—shoutout to Mamma’s, Gus’s, and Shakers!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many people who have made an impact on me throughout my life. My family has been nothing but supportive of me throughout my musical journey, and I’ve always been grateful for that. My friends, old and new, always have always helped push me out of my comfort zone and take more risks, both personally and professionally. My fiancé Natalie has been a rock for me for 10 years—I’d probably be a raving hermit by now if she wasn’t around! My buddy and longtime collaborator Frank has always been an inspiration for me with his fun-loving approach to music and life. Beyond that, every teacher I’ve had, book I’ve read, and YouTube video I’ve watched have shaped my beliefs, my workflow, and my business, and I’m grateful to live in a time with such abundant resources for learning and growth!
Photos 1-3 by Jon “Jags” Nee https://www.jonjagsnee.com/about