A life devoted to music and faith – Interview with Bryan Jeske
Bryan Jeske started his long-going relationship with music just like most of us. He was a teenager who wanted to play the guitar. However, it was an endeavor he abandoned several times until eventually returning to it for good. Now with the aim not only to progress as a songwriter and a solo artist but determined to learn all required to self-produce his work Bryan is on the quest to promote his beliefs through the very music he creates. Here is his story and we thank him for sharing it with us and the Drooble community.
Tell the world about yourself. How did you grow up to become the musician you are today?
Me and my family listened to a lot of music when I was growing up – a lot of rock & roll and country. I remember a friend of mine looking at guitars on the internet in one of my classes in high school. He told me I should learn to play, so I asked for a guitar for Christmas and I got one. It was a cheap “Spectrum” Stratocaster-style guitar from Kohl’s. I played it for about three weeks trying to learn all the most well-known riffs in the world. Then, I did what all teenagers do from there and quit because it got hard. I picked it back up and put it back down about four more years later. Then I turned 20 and started playing in church every weekend. That helped me stick with it for good. I’ve since learned to write and compose songs.
Introduce your current musical projects and tell us what makes each one special for you!
At the moment I’m focusing on my solo work – writing and recording original music. This is such a big deal for me because I’ve never viewed myself as much of a creator. It’s helping me break through and see my creative potential. It feels so good to see and hear that finished project and share it with others. I’m really pleased with how it’s all coming along.
You have been playing music for a long while! How do you find the drive and inspiration to keep going all this time?
Inspiration comes every single time I hear somebody play live. Each time I hear somebody at a show I can’t help but be inspired to do the same! That’s also the driving force behind it; to know that’s what I want out of my music. This is what keeps me going.
How is your local music scene in your perspective? Do you feel like you belong there?
I feel like our local music scene is waiting to have somebody push through to the forefront. In my area, there’s a large number of cover bands that always have work. A growing number of artists perform their own original music but none of them have really been able to break through and hit a stride. Some are getting close, really close in fact. I’m hoping to be one of them.
What is your all-time favorite record and how did it change you as an artist?
I think my all time favorite is “Naturally” by JJ Cale. It changed me as an artist because JJ was somebody who knew who he was, knew who he was musically, and wasn’t going to change for anybody. I remember a story about him I heard on YouTube. One time where he was invited to do the song “Crazy Mama” on American Bandstand. They asked him to just mime the song and lip sync it to the record. He loaded up all of his gear and he took off! He left because he was the kind of guy who was going to play his music the way he wanted. He didn’t care about having a huge hit or not. He just wanted to play. He’s influenced so many people, and thus “Naturally” has been probably my biggest influence as a songwriter. “Call Me the Breeze” is my favorite song on the album though. My absolute favorite.
What are your favorite software and hardware tools for music production?
I like any program that allows me to be able to record from home in my spare time. I use Audacity mostly to record and edit. It’s an open source software, really bare bones. I like it. I have Ableton as well but I haven’t been able to break through and use that one quite yet. I’m not a real well-versed sound engineer, but it’s a learning process.
What is your songwriting process like?
Usually, the lyrics come first. The fun part of the arrangement and putting the music to it follows. I have to always be prepared when ideas come to me – I’m thankful for smartphones allowing us to take notes. I’m able to hop in my notes app and type in what comes into my head at any point it comes to me during the day. I’ve woken up at 3 am some nights with words and a melody, but it got lost because my phone was charging in the other room. Needless to say, I always keep it in the same room as me now.
Out of all the live shows you played, which one was the most memorable, and why?
My most memorable show was my first ever live performance. It was me and a couple guys I always jammed with and we played a lot of new garage rock covers. It was a lot of fun, but I realized it wasn’t who I was. I spent that whole show trying to be somebody I wasn’t and it was exhausting. At the moment it was a lot of fun, and looking back at it I’m thankful I did it the way we did, but I know now that that’s not who I am musically. Call it a time of self-discovery.
What is your biggest musical goal?
I want to share my music and my story with as many people as I can. I’m a born again Christian – I’ve devoted my life to my faith. My songwriting is centered around that. The struggles of a man trying to get through this life, and the victory I have in it. To be able to share it with the world means the world to me. I hope in some way it can impact somebody. Even if one person in the world can find common ground or refuge my music and my story, my journey would be a success.
How has being on Drooble helped you as a musician?
Drooble has helped me realize just how much talent there is in the world, and how many people share the same dreams that I have. I believe the musical revolution of this age is close and I don’t think that there’s a better place for it to start.