We had the good fortune of connecting with Zachary Kibbee and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Zachary, why did you pursue a creative career?
I think in my case, music kinda just chose me. When I was just starting my freshman year of high school my good buddy urged me to get a bass guitar and be in a band with him. About two months later I knew that music was my future, I had no other choice.
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.
When I started writing songs and recording them on my Tascam 4-track in my room as a 14 year kid who really knew nothing about music, I had no idea I’d be doing basically the same thing, but in a professional studio (still in my home) two decades later! Of course I dreamed of it, recording music and touring the world and hearing my songs in movies and on TV, getting messages from people in different states and different countries about my songs or the effect my music had on their life. But to sit here writing about how it’s actually happened brings a warm and unabashed smile to my face.
It wasn’t easy, but at the same time felt like it was. I can’t explain it really. I can talk about the nights out at venues watching bands and connecting with club bookers and bartenders, or chatting up the door guy at a venue I wanted to play (or get into without paying the cover), or sitting in my room learning hundreds, if not thousands of songs, trying to figure out what exactly made them sound so good! Or I can talk about always saying ‘yes’ until I could afford to say no (I still can’t afford to say no). But honestly, it never felt like work to me because I wanted to do it. I wanted to send a hundred emails trying to self-book tours. I wanted to drive 8 hours for $200 to play happy hour at a dive-bar in a town whose name I can’t remember. I just wanted it!
Then one day, it just clicked. I knew the right producer who shared my vision. I knew the right guys to play in my band. I knew the right people who could get my songs on TV and in movies. And then I knew the right people who could help me tour the US and Europe. It is really just geology when I look back, the study of pressure over time. And like always, good things take time.
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.
When I have friends come to LA I pretty much always take them to a couple places, The Viper Room, Good Times At Davey Waynes, Jumbo’s and of course Dodger Stadium! Three bars and a baseball game, sounds like the best night ever. If we’ve got days, we’d definitely makes the rounds to some of my other local haunts like the R Bar (if we felt like chilling or doing some sick karaoke!) and to some great local restaurants like Orochon Ramen, Fred 62 and for sure In-N-Out. The Monday night Jam at Viper Room is a must, the Griffith Observatory is classic, and did I mention Dodger Stadium? 2020 Champs baby!
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?
I definitely am not where I am today without my great friend Joseph Holiday. Not only did he help me forge my style and produce my music, he’s also been a great mentor and role model. I can’t speak highly enough of him. I also must mention Julie Stephens and Ryan Gaines, who I met through Joseph, who signed me to their licensing company Platform Music Group. Ryan has since moved on, but Julie and her new company Think Music Inc. still represent me today, over 8 years later, which I think says a lot, especially in this business. And, of course, I have to mention my mom! She put the willpower and work ethic into me that fueled the fire.
Photos by Kim Zsebe (ZB Images), Jessica Goodwin, and self.