Forging your own path helps to define who you are as a person and as an artist. Going through all these life lessons has also made us extremely tight on stage — to the point where we really do sound like one voice. You only get that through lots of hard work and trusting each other.
As a part of our series about stars who are making an important social impact, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Dauzat St. Marie.
No matter how you pronounce ”Dauzat St. Marie” [though dō’-zaht sānt muh-ree’ would be accurate], the name has certainly been circulating far and wide these past several years through heavyweight touring with heavyweight artists. These two hardcore troubadours have been busy touring all over the U.S. as main support for Grammy® Award winning heartthrob Rick Springfield’s “Stripped Down” solo acoustic show series for the past four years and have peppered in dates with The Marshall Tucker Band, Lindsay Ell, Schuyler Fisk / Sissy Spacek, and Rick Derringer in between. Most recently, the power duo toured the U.S. as main support for legendary music icons Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo, and Dauzat St. Marie is showing no signs of slowing down. With their song “Where Were You?” currently on the Grammy Ballot in three categories, their last release “Common Ground” music video having close to 300,000 YouTube views and climbing, and their most recent release “In It Together” music video being featured in an awareness/fundraising campaign by the American Cancer Society, Dauzat St. Marie is still very much a duo on the rise.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share with us the “backstory” that led you to this career path?
Heather: For me, singing is such an important aspect of my life. I was singing The Beatles by age three and almost any song on the radio from then on (much to the dismay of anyone riding in a car with me!). However, I didn’t start singing in public until a high school variety show… and I was hooked!
Mat: My earliest memories are of wanting to be a musician. I began teaching myself piano at around age three and writing songs soon after. I found an old guitar in our attic some years later and immediately recognized a life-long connection and an obsession that persists today.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career? What was the lesson or take away that you took out of that story?
Heather: As a little girl I would get all dressed up and sing into the mirror pretending I was on a big stadium tour. Of course, one of my childhood idols was Pat Benatar because she is such a strong woman with an amazing voice. Who would have thought that I’d one day be the opening act on tour with her… and that every night she’d tell the crowd how much she enjoyed our show! The life lesson is that all things are achievable with hard work and persistence.
Mat: Last year while Heather was sitting in the Infusion Center at UCLA getting chemo, we got the call that Dauzat St. Marie would be the opening act on the entire U.S./Canada 2020 Summer arena tour with Rick Springfield and Chicago. That was obviously one of the most exciting calls EVER! Unfortunately, due to COVID, that tour was canceled entirely. We have yet to uncover the lesson from this, but we suspect it will come in 2021… and it will be positive and profound.
What would you advise a young person who wants to emulate your success?
Heather: I believe it’s important to follow a dream but to remember that success can mean different things to different people. Have a clear focus on WHY you’re going down a certain path — is it for fame or is it for an artistic expression or is it something else entirely? Those are very different roads to different forms of success. And remember that there are many “successes” along the way, so enjoy the ride!
Mat: I would say it is important to study other artists to see what they are doing (or not doing) that is working for them in both the music AND the music business…. then understand that a lot of it is likely irrelevant in YOUR career. There exists in this business a bit of a trap that artists fall into where they obsess over other artists’ success. In reality, we all have our own trajectories and something might be working well for us that won’t work at all for the next artist. Find what works for you and RUN WITH IT! Most importantly, stay true to yourself and your art… always.
Is there a person that made a profound impact on your life? Can you share a story?
Heather: Mat was Kelly Osbourne’s lead guitarist for many years, and we’ve been fortunate enough to get to know the family. For me, seeing Sharon go through her own cancer battle with such grace and strength left a lasting impression on me… and it was something I thought of A LOT during my own cancer battle and kept her as a role model through the whole thing.
Mat: Rick Springfield. He picked Dauzat St. Marie up early in our career to open his “Stripped Down” solo acoustic show series. So we’ve been flying all over the U.S. doing those dates with him, and we’ve all become great friends. His constant quest to be the absolute best at what he does immediately struck a big chord with us, but his tireless work ethic constantly blows us away. He constantly inspires us to do more, but we STILL can’t keep up with that guy (at 71 years of age, mind you)! It’s as humbling as it is inspiring.
How are you using your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share with us the meaningful or exciting causes you are working on right now?
Heather: Every aspect of who we are as songwriters and as musicians boils down to bringing goodness to the world — through our lyrics… through the time we spend with fans after a show or online… and now with our latest release, “In It Together,” we collaborated with the American Cancer Society to use the song/video in a breast cancer awareness and fundraising campaign. After our own battle with cancer, we have a much different perspective, and we are hoping to get the message out to people to stay on top of their health and to donate to cancer research so that we can one day cure it for good.
Can you share with us the story behind why you chose to take up this particular cause?
Heather: We were on tour with Rick Springfield and Pat Benatar in the summer of 2018; towards the end of tour I found a lump while getting ready for the show. I got it checked out when we got home about a week later, and within a few days I was diagnosed with breast cancer. We spent the next 18+ months going through surgeries, chemo, radiation, rehabilitation. And when it was all behind us, we decided to focus all of that energy into helping others going through the same battles because 1 in 8 women in the US will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
Can you share with us a story about a person who was impacted by your cause?
Heather: After we made the announcement that we were taking time off due to cancer, there were many females who reached out to say that we had inspired them to get a mammogram they had been putting off for some time. A few subsequently reported back that their mammogram led to an early breast cancer diagnosis — likely saving their lives. So, it really hit home that our platform had great potential to save lives… which is what led us to begin the “In It Together” campaign.
Are there three things that individuals, society or the government can do to support you in this effort?
Heather: FIRST: Watch our “In It Together” music video to get yourself in the headspace. The video makes you experience the emotions of getting the cancer diagnosis… it takes you into the arms of the beautiful community that new cancer patients immediately become a part of… it shows the strain cancer has on family members, especially the caregivers… and it shows the circle love and support people can experience through cancer. We experienced all of these things.
SECOND: Once you feel the impact, hopefully you’ll be inclined to get involved at some level. You can make a donation to the “In It Together” campaign at https://dsm.band/acs; there’s even a tribute feature if you’d like to send a holiday donation eCard in honor of someone in your life. The tax deductible donations go directly to the American Cancer Society to fund a future free from cancer. Funding research seems abstract. But I am directly benefitting from ACS funded research; one of the medications I’m on that is (hopefully) keeping my cancer from returning was developed with funding from ACS. I am staying alive because of donations to ACS, so it’s very personal for me now.
THIRD: Share this story! Copy the above URL and post it on your social media platform of choice. Or share our music video — it also has all the the necessary information about our campaign as well. Even if you can’t make a donation at this time, your social media share is a donation of real estate on your social media feed…. and can go a long way toward spreading awareness and potentially saving lives.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or an example for each.
Mat: This is going to sound like a total cop out, but I’m honestly glad nobody told me much of anything when I first started. I’ve enjoyed all the surprises (both good and bad) and the important lessons and skills I’ve gained thereof. I’m pretty sure Heather would concur that we’ve had a great deal of fun through our struggles and lean times growing as musicians, businesspeople, and humans… and still learning daily. We wouldn’t change a single thing.
Heather: Exactly! Forging your own path helps to define who you are as a person and as an artist. Going through all these life lessons has also made us extremely tight on stage — to the point where we really do sound like one voice. You only get that through lots of hard work and trusting each other.
You are a person of enormous 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. 🙂
Heather: The world would be a much sadder place without music, so let’s start valuing music again, especially music from independent artists! We live in a world where a banana taped to a wall is valued at 120K dollars, but a song that can take months from inception to final product is perceived as less than 1 dollar. There are amazing musicians working so hard to be heard. People don’t realize all the work that comes after the song is released. So, I ask all of you to support indie musicians -> subscribe/like/follow their accounts because those numbers matter today… buy their merch… when touring starts again go their shows.
Mat: I’m with Heather on this one. We have long been concerned about the future for independent musicians with the devaluing of music as a commodity, and now our concerns have grown in this pandemic. I don’t know how many independent bands/artists’ careers will survive this prolonged moratorium on touring, coming economic fallout of the prolonged shutdowns, and a likely reshaping of the touring industry… and perhaps music industry as a result of all this. Let’s prop them up! Stream their music, buy their merchandise, attend their livestreams, etc to help them get through this rough patch. With your help, they will get through this and will be more grateful than ever to entertain you for years to come.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you explain how that was relevant in your life?
Heather: Early in our career, I suffered from nervousness before shows. One night before one of Mat’s shows with Kelly Osbourne, we were hanging with Ozzy backstage and were talking about pre-show butterflies and he said, “The day you’re not nervous before the show is the day you should quit entirely. You’re only nervous because you care so [expletive] much.” That put everything in clear perspective for me. I gained the Prince Of Darkness’s blessing to embrace the butterflies, and I’ve never looked back.
We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Politics, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. 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 might just see this if we tag them 🙂
Heather: Hands down: Bob Dylan. And I wasn’t even a Dylan fan until this very year! When touring came to a halt due to the pandemic, Mat and I decided to do some homework by watching music documentaries. When we watched Martin Scorsese’s “No Direction Home,” we became instant Bob Dylan fans. I realized that what I mistook for shock tactics all these years was actually him being a pure expressionist making art for himself. I realized that he stands for everything Mat and I strive for — sincerity, lyrics that beg people to decipher meaning for themselves, and an approach to songs as if they have an energy of their own with recordings serving to crystalize a moment in the life of said song. In fact, he made such an impression on me that I’ve taken to learning the harmonica now…. which you can hear in our last single “Common Ground” and will hear more in future releases. He’s an absolutely fascinating creature, and I’m certain it would be fun to hang with him and talk about all things past, present, and the future. Probably mostly the future. ⏩
Mat: Clive Davis! That guy has a wealth of stories to tell…. and I’m certain a treasure trove of wisdom to impart! Hey Clive: breakfast is on ME!
Thank you so much for these amazing insights. This was so inspiring, and we wish you continued success!