Note: I did this Interview with Anthony Dixon on June 17,2012. I was so honored to do this with my friend he actually re posted this and shared it on Facebook. Wow I had to get this interview and put it on the new and improved Metronome Theory. Enjoy a real blast from the past.
MY interview with Anthony Dixon was a long time coming and I finally was able to have him indulge me with this interview. The man is a very busy person and I appreciate that he took time out to allow me to share his musical story with you all so without further adieu here is Anthony Dixon.
MT: How old were you when you decided that music was the one thing you wanted to do?
Anthony Dixon: I’ve actually never decided that music was the “one thing” I wanted to do. It is something of which I’m very passionate but I have a few other interest that I have not made a great deal of time to develop. I have strong interests in health and fitness for myself as well as others. I also enjoy creative writing….I believe that would be the next area of interest I develop. But in regards to music ….. I was 4-6 yrs old when I totally fell in love with doing, listening to and being part of the art of music. I would spend countless hours listening to the children’s story book albums that my mom purchased for me. It all started with basis fairy tale nursery rhymes.
MT: Who were your greatest musical influences?
Anthony Dixon: My mother and her singing sisters. I grew up in the South, singing in church as school choirs. It was almost a daily ritual with me, my siblings, and my cousins sitting around the dinning room/piano room singing. They all played piano. I was most times the vocalist. A handicap I am now repairing. I began taking piano lessons a couple of years ago with a New Jersey living legend , Radam Schwartz. It is a rather difficult to take lessons as an adult as a great deal of time and discipline must be applied to any thing that you want to become great at. I find that life, work and wanting a social life are hard to juggle and try to devote the needed time to study piano. I took the past 8 months off from study while I worked on studio recordings and a music video of which I’m excited about presenting later this summer 2012. Other influences would include all the great balladeers of the 80’s like Luther, Peabo, James Ingram, Jefferey Osborne, and the female vocalist Jennifer Holliday, Regina Belle, Patti Labelle, Whitney Houston, Patrice Rushen….. the list is endless…. I could go on.
MT: As a song writer what inspires you?
Anthony Dixon: Life inspires me. Anything emotional… moving. Anything that makes me smile, cry or just a little pissed…LOL…can be my inspiration. I sometimes write from my own experience and sometimes the whole storyline of my song could be totally fabricated. I find though that audiences relate and connect best to songs that are genuine personal testimony.
MT: When you perform your music how are you feeling at that moment?
Anthony Dixon: I am sometimes there totally and sometimes I am merely acting out the emotion and totally disconnected. Both can be very effective as there is performance in singing just like acting.
MT: Do you play any musical Instruments?
Anthony Dixon:I play piano. May try my hand at guitar or violin someday.
MT: When you are creating your music what is your environment like?
Anthony Dixon: I never really choose the stage as much as music can happen anywhere. But when I’m at home it’s soft lighting courtesy of the dimmer switch. I usually will work in my home studio at my keyboard and computer. But really I could write anywhere.
MT What is your mindset when You create your music?
Anthony Dixon: By asking myself questions….what’s the story? How can I say this message that has already been told? How can I say it differently with a new spin of words on a familiar topic? Sometimes I find that new spin and sometimes I give myself the okay to write in simple, basic, familiar terms.
MT: Are there any ritualistic thing that you do before performing?
Anthony Dixon: No not really, Not at all, I’d be interested in hearing what others do.
MT: I describe your music as truly eclectic soul because of your jazz, blues, gospel, Broadway and of course other R&B influences. I love it by the way.
MT: How do you describe your music?
Anthony Dixon: I love all types of music so I co-sign with you Kathy…eclectic is a good description. I have spent the ends of 2011 and most of 2012 working on dance music but I’ve a desire to work on a jazz standard project tinged with an R&B treatment/approach to the standards.
MT: What do you think about the music industry as a whole and what is your opinion on the state of music today?
Anthony Dixon: The music industry is a business so I ain’t mad at the fact that it has changed and morphed. It doesn’t mean that all artist and music aren’t relevant. It just may mean that what one does is not considered marketable by the machine/mainstream. There is an audience for every artist. The artist just has to find his/her interested listeners a pair of ears at a time.
MT: What advice from your experience as a music artist and businessman would you give as aspiring new artist what should or shouldn’t they be prepared for?
Anthony Dixon: I would tell any artist not to get caught up into being” put on….or given a deal”. The artist has always existed and will even when the machine goes away. One doesn’t need the machine/record label etc. behind one to do music. Create simply because you love creating. Enjoy what you’re doing. I’m not saying one should not use his/her talent to advance one’s situation/ status in life but just don’t get overwhelmed with that being the total focus. There are thousands of talented individuals but there are only a certain number of slots to be filed in the industry. If you create without getting caught up into thinking the only way for your artistry to be relevant is to have the major label deal then you’ll always find joy in creating…so many artist have allowed the industry to cloud their vision and they have either never learned that or have forgotten.
MT: Do you have any musical heroes?
Anthony Dixon: I don’t know that I’d call them my heroes as much as I’d say they are the one’s who encouraged me and built my confidence that I was pretty good at this music thing. My mother. my piano teacher Radam Schwartz, Junior high school choir director Patricia Boozer. There is also one song writer who I admire a great deal. That song writer is Brenda Russell. One of my favorite songs by her is Le Restaurant. I Love It!
MT: Who would you say was your favorite person to work with?
Anthony Dixon: Hmmmm….. I suppose at current it would be my piano teacher Radam Schwartz. I’m always learning and advancing in knowledge each time I connect with him.
MT: What do you like to do when you are not performing?
Anthony Dixon: Take a walk in New York City with a close friend or two. I like to walk with and talk with them and have no destination in mind. I also like to sit in my home on a church pew that I purchased and read. That always feels good.
MT: When are we going to get a new CD?
Anthony Dixon: It’s difficult to fund a full independent cd, promote it, market it etc, So I’ve been approaching the idea of simply recording digital singles and releasing them only online. But the next full project I complete maybe in 2012/2013. That will mostly be like the Jazz standard project.
MT: Which do you like best performing as a musical artist or as an actor in plays?
Anthony Dixon: I don’t consider myself an actor but I’m someone who can respond to others well. So put me with other skilled performers and I typically play off them. So I guess the answer is I prefer performing as a musical artist…it’s what I have done most of my life so it’s like breathing. C’est du Gateau….It’s a piece of cake!
MT: Is there anything else you would like share with my readership?
Anthony Dixon: To keep a positive outlook on life and to make this world a better place of all living beings. We are in this world, and live together.
MT: Thank you Anthony for doing this for me. You are a dynamic and interesting individual and I wish you well with all you do. You are indeed a musical gem…. A Chameleon.