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Rising Star Filmmaker Linda Chorney: “For pursuing anything, you are the only one who can make it happen; And if you really want to do it, don’t quit”

For pursuing anything, you are the only one who can make it happen. And if you really want to do it, don’t quit, and climb Everest to get there.…As for music, the industry has changed so much, my advice these days is not to go into music expecting to make a living. But if you […]

For pursuing anything, you are the only one who can make it happen. And if you really want to do it, don’t quit, and climb Everest to get there.

…As for music, the industry has changed so much, my advice these days is not to go into music expecting to make a living. But if you should get lucky, don’t let the bullies get to you. Find the humor in everything.

…As for making films, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. So, unless you really love what you are doing, don’t do it. The most important thing is to trust your gut. If someone does something, that causes a yellow flag in your conscience, RUN AWAY. It is not worth it, even if that person can get you ahead, remove yourself, and surround yourself with good people.


As a part of our series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Linda Chorney, creator of the new political comedy travel adventure series SAVING BERNIE (www.savingbernie.com), and an award-winning filmmaker and pioneering Grammy nominee.

Linda Chorney, underdog hero and poster child of the Independent Artist, is an American Singer-Songwriter who has slugged it out in the entertainment field for the last four decades. She made history as the first independent artists to be nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Americana Album in 2012. Since then, Chorney has written her autobiographical adventures, produced multiple award winning films (“The Opening Act” and feature film “When I Sing”). Her latest project is a political comedy travel adventure series, SAVING BERNIE, currently premiering on VIMEO at www.savingbernie.com.

Chorney has been a featured speaker at TEDx, Sundance, NAMM, Berklee Rethink Music, as well as guest teaching “Song Therapy” at The School of Rock. She was awarded Tucson’s Woman of Influence for Arts and Culture in 2017.

Through the power of her music, Linda has contributed charitable work and performances for the Boys and Girls Clubs, The USVA, Light of Day Foundation, and Where Angeles Play Foundation. In addition, her humanitarian efforts helped erect the Martin Richard Statue, in memory of Martin losing his life in the Boston Marathon.

Chorney’s inspiring, humorous, and informative talks about the music business as an indie artist, in additional to receiving critical acclaim, are like a giant, entertaining therapy session.

Chorney has performed on all seven continents, for crowds of up 250 thousand, for Nelson Mandela, and shared the stage and/or opened for Bruce Springsteen, The Beach Boys, Michael McDonald, Train, Sheryl Crow, Paul Simon, Jackson Browne, Air Supply, Pat Benatar, and Dave Mason.


Thank you so much for doing this with us Linda! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

Igrew up in a modest Massachusetts home, where music from Bach to Bacharach to the Beatles was constantly playing. Education was important, and fighting over who was right, but eating food was the priority.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

I started singing as a fetus. Many of my ancestors were musicians, and I was lucky enough to be born with the gene. Being able to sing is not really a skill, it’s a gift. You either got it, or you don’t. On the other hand, you have to be able to tell a story to write a good song. I had so much to say (free therapy), that I started writing more than just songs − first a book, then a documentary, and then an autobiographical feature film. (Pretty self-absorbed, huh?) Relationships inspired most of my material, until I hit menopause. When you’re not horny anymore, you have time to bitch about the world. So I really got into politics, and social issues. Until I was in my 40s, I watched cartoons on Sunday mornings. Now I watch Meet The Press. (But I still watch cartoons.) Then I got so disgusted with the 2016 election results, I dove into my latest project, SAVING BERNIE.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Well, I guess after playing in bars for 30 years, waiting for my big break, I finally got it at age 51, when I became the first Indie Artist in history to be nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Americana Album. It was my sixth album, Emotional Jukebox.

However, the most rewarding things in my career are being able to write something that touches the listener or can even make a difference.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Going into music as a living, in the first place is a mistake, if you want a steady job. But I wouldn’t do anything else…except now, as I also make films, which is even a bigger mistake. I do have a funny story about a gig. One of the private party gigs I accepted, playing on a private cruise boat…had one little caveat: “Umm, we are nudists, so I hope you don’t mind playing for a bunch of naked people.” I said, “As long as I don’t have to take my clothes off, I’ll take the money.” I made it a duo gig, but I couldn’t look at my fiddle player, because I kept bursting out laughing.

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

My political comedy travel adventure show, SAVING BERNIE. We filmed in 12 countries, and what has made this especially interesting, and an unexpected challenge, is having to change the plot two-thirds of the way through the project, because of the Coronavirus hitting simultaneously with Bernie dropping out of the race.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

It’s absolutely imperative to not stereotype every race or religion in roles that are cast. 2) It’s also imperative to represent race, religion, LBGTQ in a fair cultural depiction. To embrace and learn from diversity. 3) Most importantly, and I know this is not really the question, to report truth only in News. News for profit is the downfall of our culture. And I’m adding another: 4) Everyone needs silly.

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

I’m sorry to not really have good examples. I think the journey, and riding the wave is an adventure, and there is nothing I would have done differently, in my career. As for life, there are many things. 1) First and foremost, when you are a young woman, don’t believe every guy who says he loves you, because he probably just wants to get into your pants. 2) Don’t hitchhike in Turkey. 3) Don’t make a movie and expect to make money. 4) Being honest gets you in trouble. 5) No one ever told me the difference between “further and farther” until I was in my 40s!

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

For pursuing anything, you are the only one who can make it happen. And if you really want to do it, don’t quit, and climb Everest to get there.

As for music, the industry has changed so much, my advice these days is not to go into music expecting to make a living. But if you should get lucky, don’t let the bullies get to you. Find the humor in everything.

As for making films, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. So, unless you really love what you are doing, don’t do it. The most important thing is to trust your gut. If someone does something, that causes a yellow flag in your conscience, RUN AWAY. It is not worth it, even if that person can get you ahead, remove yourself, and surround yourself with good people.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire 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 wouldn’t say I am a person of enormous influence…regardless, I do my best.)

NO MORE NEWS FOR PROFIT. FACTS ONLY.

Transparency and democracy within The Recording Academy. In my book, about the journey to my nomination, I revealed how the rules changed, after my nomination, preventing more indies to get a chance to get nominated. I have been fighting for transparency in the nomination process, ever since, and we had a petition asking for a level playing field. If the 01% decide what music should be heard, vs. a majority of ears, we will be stuck with a future of schmaltz.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Dr. Jonathan Schneider and Scott Fadynich.

Jonathan Schneider, AKA The Rock Doc, heard my music, and believed in me so much, that he financed my sixth album, and I had the best players in the world, made the best album of my life, with five times the budget of my previous five albums, and he wanted nothing in return. Scott Fadynich FORCED me to submit the album into the Grammys, against my skepticism, and I got nominated.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“F**k it.” Other than death and family, nothing is that important. You’ll get over it, and life will go on.

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, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Larry David. Because we could have a complaining contest.

How can our readers follow you online?

@lindachorney @savingbernie @whenising lindachorney.com Facebook: linda chorney music

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