Guitarist Brady Novotny: “Learn how to adapt to change” with Marco Derhy

Learn how to adapt to change.  When I first started out in music, the basic idea was to get a demo tape together and hopefully get signed. Nowadays, social media has taken over; you become in control of your own artistic endeavors. Instead of taking one picture and putting it on a flyer, one now […]

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Learn how to adapt to change.  When I first started out in music, the basic idea was to get a demo tape together and hopefully get signed. Nowadays, social media has taken over; you become in control of your own artistic endeavors. Instead of taking one picture and putting it on a flyer, one now has to be comfortable going live on social media.  Original material seems to be a must and is actually more accepted these days.

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

I had a love for music from an early age.  I remember hearing “Crazy Train” by Ozzy when I was 10 years old.  At that point, I knew I wanted to play the guitar. When I finally got a guitar, I never put it down. I would even take it to school with me. Every chance I could, I studied and listened to music. Even though I am a quiet person by nature, I found that I love to perform; there is something about performing that makes playing music come alive.

Can you share the most interesting story that occurred to you in the 
course of your music career?

One time when I was on tour, I remember flying into Michigan in the middle of a blizzard. The plane was all over the place, and it was somewhat nerve-wracking. I got off the plane and into the van to take me to the show.  The drive took a lot longer than usual getting to the venue. Fortunately, the majority of the band was already at the venue. I remember going in the back door, someone handing me my guitar, and then walking out on stage as the drummer is clicking off the first song.  It’s a fun story to tell, but it was way too close for comfort.

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

I am pretty consumed with promoting my new album Passions Collide.  I will soon be working on some music videos to help further promote the album.  I plan on going back into the studio this summer to start recording new material.

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

First up is my studio engineer, David Granati.  This guy was my biggest fan when recording. He just has the gift of encouragement.  It was so comfortable to record with him. Now, David has his own history in the music business.  His band, the Granati Brothers, toured with Van Halen back in their early heyday. It was fun just listening to some of those early VH stories.  

Joe Satriani is one of my guitar heroes.  I met him in 2016 in New York. He was very personable and shared some of his experiences visiting my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA.  

Rich Engler is a famous concert promoter from Pittsburgh, PA.  I was invited over his house for lunch one Sunday afternoon. Rich is a very nice guy and is also full of amazing rock and roll stories.  He has countless guitars signed by every artist under the sun, as well as original set lists from artists such as The Who. It was like visiting a real life Rock n Roll history museum.  Story after story about parties and artists’ unusual quirks. It definitely was a day to remember.

Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?

Walt Disney.

I grew up going to Walt Disney World, and these are some of my best childhood memories. As I grew older, I desired to learn the history behind the park.  I began reading about Walt and really admired his approach to creativity. He always dreamed and strived to think out of the box on just about everything. His slogans, like “it’s kind of fun to do the impossible,” or, “All our dreams can come true if we just have the courage to pursue them” are inspirational to me.  I believe that self-doubt and fear is what paralyzes people from pursuing their dreams and passions in life. Another true statement that is similar was made by Nelson Mandela, “Everything seems impossible until it’s done.” Quotes like these really aided me in moving forward and never giving up.

I have always enjoyed music innovators.  Throughout the years, there were many guitar players/musicians that inspired me. Guitar players such as Randy Rhoads, Rik Emmett, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and other composers such as J.S. Bach and Beethoven are just a few.  In my opinion, all of these musicians were/are innovators.

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

The music I wrote for Passions Collide was meant to be inspiring and even healing to the soul.  I believe we impress others with our musical gifts/abilities, our strengths, but that it is through our struggles and weaknesses that we really connect with others.  So I set out to write music that hopefully will inspire fans to pursue their own dreams, but that will also connect emotionally to them through shared grief and my own self-doubt.  

I give back to my community.  I regularly volunteer my time and talents to my local church.  I feel this is important, because the music played in church is not about what I can do or about me.  The focus is centered around worship and leading others in that experience.

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 that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would want to help people abolish fear from pursuing their dreams and passions in life.  The key factor would be to help people avoid self-sabotaging their lives. I truly believe that there are many important projects unstarted, influential movements uninitiated, and even amazing music unplayed, all because of fear.

I don’t think I’m even sure how this could become a movement, but if people could be open and intentional about discussing and sharing their feelings rather than being embarrassed, or criticizing others, maybe the world would focus more on positivity.

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

I feel that timing is everything.  Sometimes we get so excited and push ourselves so much that we create this monster machine.  The problem happens when we have to sustain it without having the chance to grow into it. Our music career is a process just like everything else in life.  I think we burn out when we get ahead of ourselves and force something to happen. Don’t get me wrong, we all must work hard and be comfortable with being uncomfortable to be in this business.  I am a firm believer in that you reap what you sow, but you can’t make a garden grow any faster by overwatering it.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and 
why. Please share a story or example for each.

Do not get derailed by playing too many covers. I believe it’s very common to want to learn other artists’ material when starting out.  But I found out that we all have our own voice that needs to be expressed in music. I was never really good at learning cover songs unless I absolutely had to.  I have been turned down for gigs because I put my own twist on songs. That just reassured me, however, that I needed to focus on my musical voice rather than someone else’s.

Be careful of building a career on being a hired gun. Getting a gig as a hired gun can sometimes be very rewarding work. It feels good to be selected for the job. The issues that I have found is that you are not in control of much of anything.  I would be asked to go on tour, but not asked to do the recording sessions. The biggest setback is that once the tour ends, you are then out of work. You are constantly looking for the next gig, and that can get exhausting.

Building a music career is about building relationships with people. Of course, being talented is a big part of having a music career, but relationships are just as important.  When I started out, I thought if you were good, they would come. There is some truth to that, but the older I get, the more I realize people want to feel special and want a connection with you. That was difficult for me to learn and adjust to, because I tend to naturally be introverted. I know it’s sometimes hard to come offstage after giving out a lot of energy and be social with your fans, but it’s all part of the job.  Honestly, it is some of the most rewarding times to speak one-on-one with people.

It is important to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.  Pretending to play in front of 20,000 people in your bedroom and doing it for real can stretch you in a lot of ways.  In your bedroom, the missed note, the broken string, the dropped pick, even the bad cable can be dealt with fairly embarrassment-free.  So many random things have gone wrong while playing live for me. The most embarrassing moment is when I forgot completely how to play a song.  I had to start the song with a finger style acoustic intro. My mind went blank right after I played the first chord. It was painfully obvious that I was screwing up.  But I didn’t stop; I just kept on playing and finally landed on the right chord. I was drenched in sweat.

Learn how to adapt to change.  When I first started out in music, the basic idea was to get a demo tape together and hopefully get signed. Nowadays, social media has taken over; you become in control of your own artistic endeavors. Instead of taking one picture and putting it on a flyer, one now has to be comfortable going live on social media.  Original material seems to be a must and is actually more accepted these days.

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? He or she 
just might see this, especially if we tag them  🙂

As I was thinking about answering this question, I wonder why this person popped into my head. So there is one person that has inspired me in my journey to become an artist, and that person is Lindsey Stirling. She is a dancing violinist, and I am a rock guitarist – odd I know.  As I watched her career take off as an instrumental artist, it gave me hope to continue playing and recording my music. I feel that she has done a lot of amazing things for the world of instrumental music.  I admire her strong spiritual beliefs and how she treats her fans. She seems to be a very genuine person and is obviously a great violinist/dancer. I have tons of questions I would love to ask her.

How can our readers follow you on social media?


Facebook: bradynovotnymusic

Instragram: @bradynovotnyoffical

Twitter: @bradyanovotny

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