Bollywood blues artist Aki Kumar sees gratitude and humility as key to managing his music career and life. He returns to the podcast to discuss in greater depth creative challenges, band dynamics, and channeling your passion for music.
We start by discussing his cameo in the Salonch promo video and go on to talk about:
- The San Jose blues scene and its influence on Aki’s career
- His love for the musicians he plays with
- Effectively managing band conflict
- Writing music in Hindi and the integration of Ska
- Privilege and humility
- The drivers that keep Aki passionate about music
- How creativity feeds more creativity
- Making time for songwriting and the challenges therein
3 Key Points
- Practice humility. High flying moments are frequently followed by stumbles. Keep going.
- Stretch yourself. Experiment with your music by mixing genres, languages, politics, etc.
- Gratitude is key. Remember that being on a stage with an appreciative audience is a privilege.
“Once you have that musical bond, it makes music-making easy. Everyone is speaking the same language; maybe with a slightly different accent, but the same language.” – Aki Kumar on creating strong band dynamics.
Mentioned in this Episode
- Aki Kumar’s Website
- Aireene Espiritu & A Color-Coded Symphony
- San Jose Summer Jazz Fest 2019
- Johnny Cat
- Aki Goes to Bollywood
- Charlie Musselwhite Band
- El Amansa Guapo Pub Panameño
- Little Village Foundation
- Episode 3 – Kid Andersen on Greaseland Studios, Playing the Blues, Musicianship and Music Ed
- Episode 23 – Aki Kumar on Chicago Blues, Bollywood Blues, Harmonica, and Performing
- Episode 22 – George Brandau on Connecting People, Organizing and Promoting Benefit Shows, and Chrome Deluxe
- Episode 28 – David Barrett, Passionate Music Educator and Blues Harmonica Master
- Episode 31 – Why Musicians Shouldn’t Have a Cell Phone on Stage – Rockin’ Johnny Burgin
- Episode 33 – Opinions About Being a Full Time Career Musician–Lisa Leuschner Andersen
- Episode 36 – Finding Happiness in the Blues and Howlin’ at Greaseland – Stephanie Tice
- Episode 40 – Rolling with Music Industry Changes Via Kickstarter–Tom Irwin
- Episode 110 – Kid Andersen on TrueFire TV and His Forthcoming Album
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BONUS CONTENT (Follow-up Q&A with Aki)
Robonzo: If you were starting your music journey over from the beginning, what would you do differently?
Aki: I’d practice a lot more instead of playing video games.
Robonzo: What’s your number one way of dealing with the voices of self doubt?
Aki: I try to have a balanced approach. Self-doubt can be a good thing when it’s based in introspection and an honest understanding of my abilities/inabilities. I use it, at times, to temper my actions/plans, i.e. as a voice of “reason” or to address any areas of growth. Self-doubt can be crippling when it’s based on my insecurities. I try to recognize those instances and motivates myself by visualizing “success scenarios” in my mind. Self-doubt is sometimes just the result of a lack of familiarity with a new situation/direction. In those cases, I seek advice and insight from trusted peers.
Robonzo: What has helped you most in building community around your music and art?
Aki: A genuine love for my music/art, empathy for others and constantly trying to keep my ego in check!
- The Unstarving Musician’s Guide to Getting Paid Gigs, by Robonzo
- BandZoogle – The all-in-one platform that makes it easy to build a beautiful website for your music
- The Musician’s Profit Path: The 5-Stage Blueprint To Create Massive Growth In Your Fan Base and Sustainable Income For Your Music Career, by Bree Noble
- No Booker, No Bouncer, No Bartender: How I Made $25K On A 2-Month House Concert Tour, by Shannon Curtis
Visit my Resources page for more musician resources.
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