In talking to Steve Bassett this week, I discovered a soul that has a good mix of transformation and confidence, absolutely essential traits in any performance artist. With a passion for music that started in childhood in Long Island, he's stuck to his guns there, working endlessly to create work he cares about, largely influenced by groups like the Beatles and the Grateful Dead. He studied music composition in Albany, NY, before moving to Northern California. In 1994, he settled himself in Salt Lake City.
What I notice the most in his music, is that I can't help but picture him as a positive, and pretty enlightened soul. Even his moodier pieces seem to portray an image of understanding and confidence. It's no wonder that I have found him to be a popular artist, and man, in the Salt Lake Valley.
Most of all, I'm excited to share this unique perspective with everyone of you readers. This is a man to pay attention to, with a medley of worthwhile messages, and a variety of wonderful songs for your listening to pleasures.
Kita: What kind of artist would you describe yourself as?
Steve: I have been playing music since I was 7 and have always been fascinated about the range of emotions and experience that music can convey. I studied music in college and am interested all types of music from classical to rock. That being said, my music is heavily influenced by the Beatles and the improvisational aspects of the Grateful Dead.
Kita: What first got you into art? How about music?
Steve: I heard the Beatles and that was all it took. I started learning guitar and, soon after, started writing songs.
Kita: Where, how, or why do you find your inspirations at?
Steve: Inspiration is everywhere, you just have to train yourself to notice it. Most if it comes from interactions with people or observation them from a distance.
Kita: Do you prefer to do your own thing or work with others?
Steve: I like working with others because you can create something that is bigger than what each of you could achieve on your own. Very often, I have a clear vision of what I want to achieve and then work with others to refine it and add to it.
Kita: Is it performing or creation that really does it for you?
Steve: The two are very different. Creation can be very time-consuming and frustrating. You can’t rush it, and you have to trust that the ‘aha’ moment is around the corner. Performing is about working and preparing so that, when you are on stage, you have a laser focus that transmits your music and your lyrics. Working with a band, it’s about having the band work as a single organism that is responding effortlessly to each other.
Kita: Do you ever get stage fright? How do you deal with that, if you do?
Steve: I don’t get stage fright. Ever. A long time ago, I realize that if I practiced ahead of time, and had the confidence and focus when performing, the audience would accept me at that moment.
Kita: How about the day-to-day aspects of life? Is it rough to mix with your work?
Steve: I am predisposed to experience things creatively, and that is a nice tool to have. Actually applying creativity does take a certain mindset, a certain vulnerability.
Kita: How about the business side of art? Do you find they harmonize easily for you?
Steve: The business side is not nearly as much fun. Booking gigs, promoting oneself, using social media for marketing is just a necessary evil to be able to get your art out to people.
Kita: What are your biggest struggles or hardships relating to art?
Steve: Having the discipline to regularly create a space where creativity is possible. Another struggle is to intentionally refine your art, to be able to offer something new to the world.
Kita: What were you goals when you first jumped into this? How about now?
Steve: To share my music with the world, to explore my own notion of creativity, have fun and make a few dollars here or there.
Kita: What's your favorite part of art? Least favorite?
Steve: I love the way art forces you to think, to reexamine your preconceptions. Ultimately, art can help create a larger, more inclusive world for you. Of course, sometimes art can be nothing more than enjoyment or a release from the stress one might feel. I am not too keen on that type of art though. And, sometime art can make you uncomfortable if pushes you into an area that is dark for you.
Kita: How do you find the music community has received you? How about the larger SLC area arts community?
Steve: Salt Lake has an amazing music community and I feel honored to be an active part of that. I feel very much like they are my extended family. I try to give back as well by hosting house concerts and working with IAMA, so there is a lot of good energy being shared. All of this is true of the larger arts community. We are truly blessed to have so much art available to you.
Kita: How about those closest to you?
Steve: I think my friends and family see how passionate I am about creating and performing music and, even they don’t always understand it, they respect me for it.
Kita: Do you enjoy working with others? What kind of settings do you enjoy doing so in?
Steve: I enjoy both leading a band and sitting in with others as well. Because of my education in music, it is easy for me to join another artist and play some leads with them. As soon as I understand the melody and chord structure, I am off to the races.
Kita: What's the typical process from start to finish of getting a song ready to go?
Steve: I usually start with a melody and a line or two of the chorus. That’s a little backwards for many people. From there I flesh out the melody and outline the verses so I can tell a complete story. After everything is fine-tuned, I play the song endlessly, tweak it more, until the song is really inside me. Then I get and perform it.
Kita: If you could go back and tell your beginner self one thing, what would it be?
Steve: Master finger-picking while you are young!
For more info on Steve and his band, check out: http://steve-bassett.com/home
To purchase his CD, check out amazon.com here: http://www.amazon.com/So-Beautiful-Steve-Bassett/dp/B009YAT6XY/ref=sr_1_6?s=dmusic&ie=UTF8&qid=1382586275&sr=1-6&keywords=steve+bassett
If you have anyone else you'd like us to chat with, leave a comment below!