S’von - A Musician's Journey Through the Music Industry Performing with Legends on the World's Biggest Stages

Ep.079 Cover S'von.jpg

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S’von is currently the keyboard player for the legendary Smokey Robinson. Prior to that his journey began playing in clubs and small tours, until his journey one lead him to the inaugural American Idol Tour, where he met Kelly Clarkson. Since that tour, S’von has toured with many legends of the business such as Kelly Clarkson, Rihanna, and Smokey Robinson. He has performed on some of the biggest TV Shows in the United States such as Saturday Night Live, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Ellen Degeneres, Jay Leno, and many more. In this episode, S’von shares his journey along with many lessons for musicians such as what gigs to take, how to not get taken advantage of, tour etiquette, and much more.

To learn more about S’von, visit http://www.svononline.com/.

Highlights From The Episode:
[3:10] Inspiration to speak with students
[5:19] Day to day schedule on Tour
[6:40] Early musical inspirations
[8:00] Local Community & Growing Up
[8:29] Practicing
[10:56] Current Listenings
[11:47] What it takes to learn keys
[13:37] Favorite Gear
[15:40] Doing music full-time
[20:20] Before first big tour
[21:33] Choosing Gigs
[26:08] Advice on What to Ask For (Money-wise) 
[30:41] Relationship Building/ Being A Good Hang
[35:54] Lessons/Advice
[39:26] Storytime
[50:58] Frist Concert Experience
[51:39] Favorite Venue
[52:10] Interests
[52:51] Cryptocurrency
[53:39] Spotify IPO
[56:34] Guilty Pleasures
[58:28] Hollywood Vampires 

Quotes from S'von:
“I love interactions.”
“I would be gone for 6/7 weeks at a time, every time is different, it depends on how you manage it (tour).”
“To be honest, I was inspired by local musicians, I was inspired by local players, local clubs, churches.”
“When I went to college, the music was more-so about the people I went to school with."
“I practice less now, because I don’t want to loose the love of it. I felt like if I did it all the time, it would become more like a job and more mundane. I have to step away and not touch the keyboard for a bit.”
“If I keep trying to be a virtuoso, then my way of communication would be so complex in order to keep me interested, that the average person might not relate. I keep it less to keep the love there.”
“I’ll listen to other things, I didn’t grow up listening to a lot of keyboard players, I listened to a lot of other musicians."
“I try to create my own colors I don’t try to copy musicians work word for word, note for note.”
“On the keys, you have to spend time on it, it doesn’t have to be super complex. Start off with the basics, learn your scales, chords in every keys, 1,3,4,5 in every key. Play things in every key.”
“When you start to become comfortable with the instrument, and you are fluid with it, anything is possible."
“Take 30 days to commit to it, it will do wonders for you.”
“Once you learn how the instrument speaks, then you can play anything. I can play anything.”
“Literally I had a cell phone and a credit card. That was it. I had absolutely nothing, but I was really determined to get in.”
“I was really just looking for any opportunity. I was just lucky that my opportunities were at a bigger scale.”
“Say yes to mostly everything.”
“New people are trying to overvalue themselves. They X themselves out of a lot of opportunities.” 
“I’ll take whatever makes sense in the beginning. You have to pay your dues. Thing don’t just come in a straight line like that.”
“Once you get in the game, you figure out OK what’s worth my time, and what’s not worth my time.”
“If you have no experience, take the gig offered. If you feel like you are being exploited, then leave.”
“You learn from your experiences.”
“Ask your friends and contacts in the industry about what to ask for for money.”
“That’s what counts at the end of the day in the music business. You can be as talented and crafty as you want, but it matters how you handle your business. And people see that.”
“People choose you because they like to hang around you.”
“If you’re not a person people don’t like to hang around, that’s how it’s going to be in the business too”
“If a production has a million dollar budget, they don’t want to deal with a keyboard player with an attitude.”
“Work on your personality, play friendly with others, and you will be good."
“I treat a regular gig like it’s a big gig.”
“Just keep doing it, if you keep doing it, and you stay consistent, you will make it.”
“Patience is key. I was broke on Monday, and then I’m rich on Friday. It’s all the stuff that happens in between. If you don’t, you will burn out, and you will compare yourself to everyone else. What you see is not what you get.”
“Sometimes you think that you are ready, and you’re not. If you’re not ready, you’ll lose it quick.”
“You have to learn other rigs really fast sometimes.”
“I’m really into investing, stock trades and commodities, to leverage myself to not have to take certain gigs when I don’t want to.”
“Do your homework.”
“If your interpretation is off, you will make bad and emotional decisions.”
“I try to stay as healthy as possible, but catering will get you, man. You can’t smell celery!"

S'von's Definition of Making It:
"When you feel you happiest and your at peace." 

Get in touch with S'von:
IG: @svon1
witter: @svon1

Keep in touch:

Host: Chris Goyzueta (Chris G.)
Producer: Jason Trosclair
Executive Producer: ONElive Creative Agency  
Music: Emily Kopp