We had the good fortune of connecting with Jerry Danielsen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jerry, how do you think about risk?
For me, risk taking was necessary. In my 20’s I was working at a job I didn’t like, and longed to get out of it, and into a career of music – writing, performing and recording. Over time, I saved enough money to live for a few months, and began to also gain side work as a musician. I had gone to Sound Master Recording Engineering School, and had started my own home based studio.
I also started teaching music lessons, since I had gotten quite good at the guitar and bass. As the music related wok increased, I took the plunge and quit the job I didn’t like. There were no guarantees. In fact, I thought that if I could just go 6 months – focused on my music – that would be somewhat satisfying. As time went on, I realized that I needed to shut the back door -to just go all in, through thick and thin, and do whatever it takes to make it – to make a living at music.
Since then, I have taken other risks, like buying new recording tools and gear, even with times of less income. Just being self-employed is risky. There can be times one is not sure where the next gig will come from.
Build it and they will come. And become good at it.
I continue to reinvent myself to this day, wearing many hats, and breaking some molds.
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.
I started writing music from the time my parents bought me a little toy organ when I was 7 or 8. I wanted to make up my own chords and melodies. Secondarily, I badly learned some songs that were already famous.
I started playing in bands as a young teenager, and knew this was what I wanted to do.
I think what sets me apart is my inner passion. I just keep driving forward, and jumping into new things. I took risks that were not easy, to be able to do the music full time. I had to put together recording, teaching, writing and performing to form one full time job. Not easy, but it worked for me. Economic challenges can slam reality right into your face! You have to prepare and believe in yourself and be willing to be flexible.
I learned that somehow, someway, I’m going to be ok – able to make a good living and do what I love. Just do the work and let the rest take care of itself.
My studio is called Busy Signal Studios, and it’s the longest running studio in my area. There, I have a central location to do the various things I do. So far, 4 feature film scores, 15 short films, produced dozes of CDs and singles. Written music for theater and dance – you name it. I’m also the head sound designer for Pantheon Podcasts, where we have over 90 podcasts having to do with music and entertainment. I’m also a poet, having been published numerous times. It’s just something I love, and I’m involved in a few poetry groups. I’m currently working on a non-fiction book that is not poetry – and I’m writing music for a musical too.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Here in Santa Clarita, there are all kinds of great restaurants. Thai, Italian and Mexican within a few miles of my place. We could take a drive to either Ventura or Santa Monica for beach weather as well.
There is a Canyon Theater here too, for some good live music.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Shout out to Cal Arts where I graduated with a music composition degree. Shout out to the Santa Clarita Poets who encouraged me to write down the words that were in my head.
Shout out to all who have listened to my music, read my books, and attended my performances.
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