Sitting in the studio with John Dillard, I realized the magnitude of his talent. He’s smart, creative, original, and constantly evolving. His peers revere him as “an asset”, and “one of the funkiest.” John is humbled by those accolades, and works hard to exceed what’s expected of him. Having been influenced by great artists like Jaco Pastorius, and Marcus Miller, John knows how to infuse multiple styles of playing into his own. He contributes to the local music scene in Charlotte, NC, and was fortunate enough to work on the 2012 pilot track for the Golden Globe Award Winning show Homeland. While collaborating with other artists on various projects, and being the musical director for Stephanie Mills, he’s also stepped into his own spotlight. John is working on his solo project “Let’s Ride” that is scheduled to be released later this year.
Joe Lindsay is a soulful songwriter whose smooth sounds are evident every time you hear him play. Whether on his debut CD “I Wanna Groove”, or on stage with artists such as Stephanie Mills, or Brian Simpson. His music speaks to your emotions, and will always make you feel good. I sat down with Joe and had a conversation about his career.
PBN Joe, tell me when music became your calling.
JOE During my early teenage years when I was inspired by my next door neighbor who would sit outside on his porch and play the bass really loud, Bootsy style. He even had the Bootsy glasses. The funny part of the story is that I actually wanted to play bass guitar, but my parent’s bought the wrong one for Christmas. So it’s their fault I play guitar today.
PBN Did you play in High School?
JOE Yes, I started off playing the saxophone and was first chair every year. In 10th grade I switched to tuba. I switched to tuba because I like to play around a lot. So during band camp, the tuba’s would spot the 50 yard line, and didn’t have to do too much. It also leads back to the whole bass thing. I like being part of the low end.
PBN You attended Berklee College of Music in Boston. While there, what were some of the most valuable lessons you learned about music and about yourself?
JOE To be honest, it was a very excellent school. They give you so much information that it doesn’t really click until after you leave. I learned about theory and the music business. Learning is a lifelong journey. I was there with Lalah Hathaway, Delfayo Marsalis, and Roy Hargrove. So it was great being surrounded by music all the time.
PBN What drives you to continuously evolve?
JOE The love of music and keeping up with what’s going on.
PBN What would you say you like the most between songwriting, performing, recording, collaborating, and managing your own career?
JOE Songwriting of course because of the creative part of it. Performing because you want people to feel what you’re doing. If they’re grooving, you’re grooving.
PBN Who are some of the legends in the industry that have inspired you?
JOE On the songwritng side, Curtis Mayfield, and Miles Davis who’s my all time favorite. On the guitar side, my all time favorite guitar player is Hiram Bullock. I love his style and his diversity. He plays and has fun at the same time.
PBN You write your own original music, you co-write, and you collaborate live.
Do you enjoy one of those more so than the others?
JOE I can’t say I like one more than the other. They all tie in together.
PBN When collaborating and co-writing, you’ve worked across different genres of music and artists.
PBN Do you know who you want to collaborate with when you’re writing?
JOE I know who’s sound I want, and I know who can give me that sound, so I call them up.
PBN Who are some of those artists?
JOE Kenneth Leonard, Rischard Jenkins, John Dillard, Marcus Anderson, Adrian Crutchfield, and Calvin Richardson
PBN You are known as a soulful artist, and you create music that is heartfelt and feels good.
How do you connect the soul and the heart together to create the music?
JOE It’s all feeling. Play from the heart and hope the people you’re playing for feel it. I come from the whole blues background. I love that stuff.
PBN When recording your CD “I wanna Groove”, did you draw from personal experiences?
JOE Maybe some. It’s kinda different when you’re doing instrumental music with no lyrics. But the ballads like track 7 “Your Eyes”, that’s for the ladies. That’s a good mood changing song in a good way.
PBN I’m looking forward to interviewing the many talented artists from North Carolina. Having said that, you are the first one, but on your CD you collaborated with some of the other’s.
PBN How was it collaborating with your fellow friends and musicians?
JOE It’s fun to work with your peers on one another’s projects.
PBN Finally, tell me what it feels like to have your debut album be as successful and well received as it has been.
JOE It feels great. It means a lot of my hard work is paying off. It’s doing what I need it to do. I’m planning on doing another smooth jazz CD. First, I have to continue performing and introducing “I WANNA GROOVE.”
PBN How can fans keep up with what you’re doing and where you will be performing?
Brian Simpson had an outstanding performance tonight here in Charlotte, NC. The opening act was also his band for the evening. A band full of some of the finest musicians in the business. John Dillard was on bass, Joe Lindsay on guitar, Calvin Napper on drums, and Lavell Bradford on keys. When Brian joined them on stage, the energy went to another level. He opened up with “South Beach.” Then he took us back to the “It’s All Good” album and played “Here With You.” Brian said, “that was the song that put him on the map.” Calvin showed off his incredible skills when featured on “What Cha Gonna Do.” Each artist displayed their musical skills showing everyone just how great they are. Brian explained that on each of his projects, track #4 is always the song that slows it down and sets the mood. He went on to play “Let’s Get Close.” His performance was full of amazing. He got down on his knees during one song, as well as playing to the crowd. He closed the show with “It’s All Good.” The perfect song to finish with because Brian’s performance was truly all good.