10 Questions with ... Jim Brickman
June 13, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
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Jim Brickman is a songwriter, pianist and radio show host. As a composer, he has bas earned six Gold and Platinum albums, two Grammy Award Nominations, a Canadian Country Music Award and a Dove Award presented by the Gospel Music Association. He has collaborated with artists such as Lady Antebellum, Johnny Mathis, Michael W. Smith, Martina McBride, Megan Hilty, Donny Osmond, Delta Goodrem, Olivia Newton-John, and many more.
Jim Brickman hosts his own radio show called, "Your Weekend with Jim Brickman", which is carried on radio stations throughout the United States. He has also released five PBS specials and hosts an annual fan cruise. He is founder of "Brickhouse Direct," a company that provides strategic marketing and e-commerce solutions for clients in a variety of industries.
1) On your new CD release "Freedom Rings", you cover several patriotic classics from "This Land Is Your Land," "Shenandoah" and "Simple Gifts." You've also recorded two new original songs "Victory" and "Amber Waves." Please tell us about the inspiration for these new songs?
This year we are seeing a resurgence of patriotism and pride. From the Olympics to the election, the spirit of America is being heard loud and clear. Freedom Rings is the music of that spirit.
I played a lot of those songs as a kid. I love the great American composers and my music is greatly influenced by them. The two new songs are my personal tribute and appreciation for this land and the melting pot of people who call it home.
2) A lot has changed since we interviewed you in 2013. Most music is now delivered digitally to radio, and streaming has displaced downloaded music as mobile phone use also grows. What are your thoughts on the transition of our business and what are your thoughts about the future?
Record sales are down from what they used to be. There is a huge benefit to streaming music and services like Pandora. An artist has the opportunity for more of their music to be played than ever before on the radio. In my case, I'm getting exposure that was never possible with just a single on the radio. A listener can hear not only the popular releases, but the deep cuts of an album as well.
3) You have been licensing a lot of your music lately. What films, TV shows, or commercials might we hear your music these days?
I've been working with a licensing company called Killer Tracks. My fans write in every time they unexpectedly hear one of my songs. I'm always amazed at the range of shows and products choosing my music; Jimmy Kimmel Live, 'Keeping up With the Kardashians," "The Today Show," "Live With Kelly," QVC, and a variety of shows on TLC.
4) You have collaborated with a lot of big names throughout your career. Who are some promising new artists you have worked with lately?
Leslie Odom Jr. who stars in Hamilton on Broadway is interested in pursuing a recording career. I loved having him sing "Hallelujah, I Believe" for my holiday album "Comfort & Joy." I'm also developing a brand new country artist, Logan Jones.
5) Are you still doing your annual "Fan Cruise" and the "Brickman Bash?"
Yes, the fans really like the personal experience connecting with the music and me. The added bonus is that they make friends with each other. The numbers keep growing. This summer we are planning a Bash weekend in Niagara Falls and "Niagara On The Lake." We are planning a "Back By Popular Demand" cruise for Summer 2017.
6) What are some of the features you run on your radio show?
The lifestyle shows features entertaining and informative topics. One of the most popular guests is the "Dream Catcher" who interprets dreams for the listeners. We have a variety of healthy and wellness experts from Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, plus "Brickman Box Office," "Back In The Day," "Artist Spotlight," and "Guilty Pleasure Request." We have home, pet and relationship experts stopping by as well.
7) In today's world of multi-tasking and wearing many hats, how do you find time to show prep and what sources do you use?
First of all I am a voracious reader and love to talk about what I've read. The show has great contributors like designers from HGTV, chefs from the Food Network, Hollywood reporters and fitness experts. It gives the audience a broad base of knowledge.
8) You seem to keep yourself busy with music, radio television, and many other things. Do you have any other exciting new ventures that you'd like to mention?
I've always had an interest in composing for live theatre. I think that will be the logical next step in my career.
9) Do you have plans to continue touring?
Performing live is my favorite part of being a musician. The energy I get from the audience helps me engage them in my music and take it to a new level. The thrill of a live performance just can't be translated digitally or "on demand".
10) Do you have plans to do another holiday release in 2016?
The holiday album "Comfort & Joy" will be released globally with a new song. It features the song "Hallelujah I Believe" sung by Hamilton's Leslie Odom Jr. Last year, the CD was a Walmart exclusive.
What do you do in your spare time?
I enjoy my solitude, so I hike and swim to unwind.
What is the one truth that has always remained constant throughout your career? Do you have any advice for upcoming musicians or radio personalities?
I feel it's crucial to keep it real. Focus on your ability to do what you do best and don't try to manufacture a sound just to fit in.
Who has had the biggest impact on your life?
My Mom taught me independence, she encouraged me to pursue my passion, and of course she said, "don't take no for an answer".