We had the good fortune of connecting with Tim Norton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tim, why did you pursue a creative career?
Expression is the ultimate essence of living, and for me – music embodies that expression more than anything else. I find that my contributions to ‘human culture & art on planet earth’ lay heaviest with my writing, composition and performance of music. I often get goosebumps when listening to a really well written and emotionally relatable song or performer. That is my goal with writing and performance; to move people emotionally and connect over life’s myriad of experiences. Without fail, that is what music does for me every day and so I’ve made it my life’s goal to share the highs, lows and woes of my human experience through this delicate connective tissue that we know as music.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’d say that what sets my creations apart from other composers and musicians is my strange sense / ability to create a catchy, relatable melody. That theme was present in my improv-focused nationally touring jam-band, Moves Collective, as much as it is now found in my composition for TV/Film.
These may seem like polar opposites from afar, but I find a lot of crossover in creating simple melodies on the spot and developing them. Whether it’s from deep within an improvisational passage on stage – with an audience & band reacting in real time – or whilst composing with emotional themes for TV, alone in my home studio – I’m finding my forte is confirmed when my 5 year son, Hendrix repeats a melodic idea back at me, like its stuck in his head. Or when an audience sings along to my melodies at a show, or screams during my intentionally sparse guitar solo that slowly develops until you feel like you’re writing the music with me, live.
My receptivity and awareness of this experience, I feel, sets me apart from other musicians and creatives, as its highly important to create strong phrases as a musician/composer and I definitely do not hear that everywhere. As I learned at Berklee from too many talented professors and peers – you need to set the scene with something compelling [musically] especially when you’re taking a solo on your instrument. I found that rule heavily applies to composition. That may be one of the things that sets me apart from other talented writers/performers.
To get where I am today professionally, it took focusing on music from an early age, applying myself to this new language and then challenging myself to find ways to monetize and live off of my creative pursuits throughout my 20’s. None of it is, was or will be easy, but that’s why I like a creative course for the arc of my life. It keeps me stimulated. Stagnation is the antithesis of liveliness. I’d never be able to do a mundane 9-5 repetitive administrative job (lacks expression), and I hate taking advantage of people’s weaknesses (not good at sales). I am really happy to have found a corner of the music industry that can support my family monetarily, while also feeding my soul creatively.
Along the way, I’ve had ample lessons to learn – personally, interpersonally and financially without a doubt. The biggest though, is I’ve had to learn to say no. You get offered so many opportunities in life, and I’m now sure that it’s one’s ability to say no to the non-essentials – that breeds success, fulfillment and space in ones life. I said yes to way too many people in my early 20’s. As I approached 30, my perspective changed from pleasing people and ‘never missing out’ – to deep focus on what matters to me – and what precise actions I can take to better achieve my goals. Sounds like a quote from a self-help book [and it probably is] but for me; it’s just what I’m trying to do right now – grow more energy, more heart, more drive and more time – so I can put that love and effort into what betters my life and those who I’m close to.
With the help of friends, family and fellow artists, I’m – just in these past few years, witnessing myself overcoming challenges like never before. I’m taking active steps in managing my time, focusing on writing quality music as much as possible, and not getting wrapped up in projects or obligations that don’t truly benefit my scope. Balance in life and work, as well as desires and gratitudes, makes for an easier time overcoming challenges – or so I’ve found.
I find ‘zooming out’ always helps me take in a better perspective, when faced with a challenge. I try to remind myself how insignificant everything is and how we’re on a rock floating through space and this is a purely subjective, entirely-my-own experience of being a human. Next I try to brain dump as much of those issues I’m having with the particular challenge. Then I go have a smoke break and look at birds, trees, mountains, bees, anything that wont talk back to me, but exists in its own beautiful life, with no more or less meaning than you have. By the time I’m done, I’ve typically been reminded of the beauty in the world and my *world-shattering-to-me* challenge I’ve been presented with – carries much less weight, allowing me to think clearly about a solution or to move on to something else, and return to that later with more clarity, insight or experience.
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.
In no particular order or priority:
-Harbor Cafe for their homemade corned beef hash / amazing coffee / vibes
-check the heady coffee shops I like
-whiskey bars with jazz like Seven Grand North Park
-See a concert in OB at the old haunt, WinstonsOB
-Grab a drink/dinner at a rooftop bar in downtown SD
-Check out the local thrift stores
-Hike down to blacks beach and see the hanggliders on the cliffs, show secret spots
-The desert, depending on who is visiting – for most of my friends from New England would have never been
-Mexico – pending trip length – To visit the wine region south of TJ, and check out the best bathroom view on the west coast at Cuatros Cuatros
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Huge thanks to Ben Roberts for all of the support, mentorship and encouragement as I joined the Endless Noise team in Santa Monica over the past year. I wouldn’t be where I am today without your belief in me and your constant feedback and encouragement. Also huge thanks to my parents, Maryalice & John Norton, my girlfriend Hanna, as well as The Taggart family and my SD friends; I would not be the person I am today without you all!
Concert Photos by Brady Cooling Other Photos by Hanna Hondzo