We had the good fortune of connecting with Jimmy O’Connell and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jimmy, how do you think about risk?
Taking risks has been one of the biggest contributing factors to my career and my success. It was a big enough risk to decide to become a jazz musician when I was 17 years old, and since that time, risks have shaped my career.

When I was 26 years old, I took the risk to quit my college teaching job as well as stop teaching in general in order to pursue playing full time. It was a terrifying decision, but I could not be happier with the result, and I wouldn’t change anything.

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’m a professional jazz musician living in NYC. I’m not sure what sets me apart from other to be honest, I’m just out here doing my best at the thing I love the most.

It’s definitely been a challenging endeavor to be certain. The long hours, the traveling, the uncertainty about money all take a toll, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that progress takes time. Having expectations is always good, but being realistic about those expectations, and celebrating growth and development has allowed me to continue on my path without being too discouraged.

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.
I have favorite spots for music, and favorite spots for everything else.

For music, we’d definitely go to Small’s jazz club, which is the heart and soul of NYC’s jazz community. It’s where veterans go to hang out and the new generation comes to cut their teeth. It’s a very special place and unlike anywhere else I’ve been.

As far as other places, I personally love Battery Park. Being on the southern tip of Manhattan, it’s nice to be on the water, in the heart of the financial district. It’s my happy place.

Food is a staple in NYC and you can’t really go wrong wherever you visit. Astoria is a hotbed of food, as well as parts of Brooklyn. Too much to list here, but if I have to pick a FAVORITE place, I love Malatesta in the west village. It’s a cash only Italian spot that I’ve been eating at for over 10 years.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d just like to shout out all of my friends, colleagues and people along the way who have expressed their support of me and my career.

Instagram: Jimmyoconnellmusic

Image Credits
Melissa Hill

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