//

“5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became A Recording Artist”, with Deane Nesbitt Jr.

A friend of ours has been looking after animals, communicating with them, training them and writing books about them. Knowing that she and I were both pursuing different careers, she called me one day and said, “You and I have each been doing our thing for 20 years. It’s time we had our overnight success!” […]


A friend of ours has been looking after animals, communicating with them, training them and writing books about them. Knowing that she and I were both pursuing different careers, she called me one day and said, “You and I have each been doing our thing for 20 years. It’s time we had our overnight success!” That’s about it. It takes a long time to achieve success and you cannot realistically expect it to be a “household name” type of success. You can still derive real satisfaction from your music and recognition for what you have accomplished. I would say that a love of what you are doing coupled with persistence will eventually lead to some successes, but it’s bound to take time, and you should not be impatient. Try to pace yourself and don’t be discouraged!


As part of my series featuring the rising stars in the music industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Deane Nesbitt Jr. He is a Canadian composer, recording artist and film score writer (www.NesbittMusic.com). He has composed the soundtracks for two recent short films: Change for Chimps, featuring Jane Goodall, which has won awards both in Baltimore and Toronto, and Legacy of War, featuring veterans of World War II, which was screened last November 11 at the Canadian War Museum. Deane’s music has been aired on over 300 radio stations across the US and Canada. One American reviewer ranked his CD Music in Search of a Movie among the 100 best music CDs of 2015 and the Best Dramatic Music of that year. He has just released a new CD, Soundtracks in the Sand. His music has been performed in Toronto at several locations, including Massey Hall and the Canadian National Exhibition. Deane started his career as a lawyer, practicing commercial law for 16 years. While still practicing law, he performed in Europe, where he met and played piano for Hollywood legend, Greta Garbo. He then became involved with the investment business, co-founded an investment management firm and wrote an award-winning illustrated history of a Canadian investment bank founded in 1912. Deane has served as a Director on over a dozen boards. He presently is on an advisory board of Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore, and on the board of the Sharon Francis Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Toronto. He holds degrees in arts and law from McGill University and a certificate from the Owner-President Management Program, Harvard Business School. A family man, Deane’s other interests have included hiking, kayaking, landscape painting, photography, and flying.


Thank you so much for joining us Deane! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I have played the piano by ear since the age of 4. Although my parents gave me music lessons at the age of 7 and 8, they recognized that I much preferred playing by ear and didn’t push me further to learn to read music. I am sure that is why I kept up with the piano through careers in both law and business and why I still love it today. About 20 years ago I decided to make music my career and I have been involved with it full time ever since, always playing by ear. When you love what you are doing, it doesn’t seem like work.

What are some of the most exciting or interesting projects you are working on now?

I have just released my sixth album, Soundtracks in the Sand, which was inspired by two films with my music, Change for Chimps, featuring Jane Goodall, and Legacy of War, featuring veterans from WorldWar II and original footage from the war. The music on the CD shows African, Caribbean, Mexican and Celtic influences, as well as North American.

I am also composing music for individuals in Africa, to bring awareness to certain endangered species, some of which I hope will be the basis of visual presentations.

Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Are there any stories?

Early on, at the start of my music career, my wife and daughter and I were staying at a hotel in Switzerland. When traveling I would often play the piano whenever I came across one. This particular hotel had one, but it already had an entertainer. The owners, however, happened to mention to me that they were not pleased with their entertainer and we’re going to let him go. At the same time, they didn’t know what they were going to do to replace him. I offered my services, performed a quick audition and was taken on. I played during several subsequent visits to the hotel

Hollywood legend Greta Garbo lived in the area and came into the hotel one evening and asked for some requests. I wasn’t sure I could play them, but I was sure going to try! Our young daughter was upstairs in bed, being looked after by an individual at the hotel that we knew. I seemed to play the requests to Garbo’s satisfaction and afterwards, my wife and I joined her table. Hollywood was well represented there and we met others in the film industry, as well.

Later on, during the filming of Change for Chimps, my whole family met Jane Goodall. She is a remarkable woman, domiciled in England, but spending a lot of her time on an airplane, as she does so much traveling in support of protecting our environment.

When Legacy of War was filmed, I met a number of veterans from both World War II and the Korean War, who had joined up to fight in their teens. It was an honor to meet them. Those individuals are true heroes and deserve our respect so very much. When the film was shown at the Canadian War Museum last November 11, one veteran featured in the film was able to travel to Ottawa to partake of the remembrance ceremony and march in the parade.

Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?

The people who inspire me the most are those who have made contributions, whether the world celebrates such contributions or not. The world today appears to be exhibiting more greed, more discrimination and more confrontation than ever. Mankind has progressed admirably in the fields of technology and medicine, often combining the two, but as far as human relations are

concerned, mankind doesn’t seem to have progressed at all. Yet every now and then you run across someone who has publicly or quietly made the life of someone else better or improved the surrounding environment for everybody and that inspires me.

In public figures, the common sense wisdom of Abraham Lincoln is inspiring. The moral stance of Queen Elizabeth II is inspiring. The persistence, forgiving nature and fairness of Nelson Mandela is inspiring.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I have always thought blindness a devastating affliction and wanted to investigate ways I might possibly help someone who was blind. Because I play by ear and play in keys with lots of sharps and flats, I thought I might teach piano to a person who was visually impaired, using the black keys as starting chords. I called a woman who was visually impaired and who worked with the local association for the blind and explained what I wanted to do. “We actually need someone to play for about 30 of us,” she explained. I told her I would prefer to teach one on one. After a long pause, she said, “Do you want to help, or not?” Accordingly, I played the piano every month for a group of 30 people who were visually impaired and together with others picked them up and drove them home. My first album, “On the Black Keys and by Ear,” was produced to raise money for the blind.

Since then I have used my music to help fund music programs for children who wouldn’t otherwise have access to such programs, to help raise money for medical treatments, and to publicize the need for environmental protection. I have served as a director on a dozen boards of non-profit organizations. I am presently on two.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would they be?

The earth provides enough food for everyone on it. The reason that there are people starving is unfortunately often due to politics. Food is a basic need for every living thing. Second Harvest is a local organization that takes unused food from restaurants and food packaging companies and redistributes it to those in need. I support this organization but would love to see like organizations doing the same all over the world so that nobody would be without food.

What tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

A friend of ours has been looking after animals, communicating with them, training them and writing books about them. Knowing that she and I were both pursuing different careers, she called me one day and said, “You and I have each been doing our thing for 20 years. It’s time we had our overnight success!” That’s about it. It takes a long time to achieve success and you cannot realistically expect it to be a “household name” type of success. You can still derive real satisfaction from your music and recognition for what you have accomplished. I would say that a love of what you are doing coupled with persistence will eventually lead to some successes, but it’s bound to take time, and you should not be impatient. Try to pace yourself and don’t be discouraged!

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why?

(1) that it takes a very long time for the public to come around to new music, particularly if it’s not being performed live. See my overnight success remark above!

(2) that there’s a lot of music out there and it’s best if you can find your niche.

(3) that music is not a terribly lucrative field to get into. Increasingly, people can get the music they want through the internet without paying for it. Get into music because you love doing it, not because you want to make a lot of money. The person I purchased my iPhone from asked me how I wanted to use it. When I mentioned music, she indicated she did music, too. She was working in the mobile phone store to support it.

(4) that there’s nothing wrong with working at something else or to have worked at something else to support yourself doing music. Most musicians do.

(5) that you need help promoting your music. Because you are good at music doesn’t mean you are good at promoting something. Concentrate on the music!

I have been blessed with the opportunity to interview and be in touch with some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports and Entertainment. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?

Yes! I love the music of Hans Zimmer and hope that some of my more epic music approaches the majesty of his. I would really enjoy a meal with him to talk about music!

How can our readers follow you on social media?

I am on Spotify, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Google Play.

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

Rising Music Star Sophie Rose: “Your success is defined by your perception and everyone has a different definition of success”

by Yitzi Weiner
Community//

“I can’t tell you enough how important this is: Surround yourself with a good team” with Gino Caporale and Phil Laboon

by Phil La Duke
Community//

“I want to start a movement to let anyone who is being bullied feel that they are not alone” With Pop Star, Savvy G

by Yitzi Weiner

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.