Interviews Video Interviews

Interview: Look for the blessings — Saxophonist and composer Daniel Bennett on staying motivated and creative in uncertain times

New York-based saxophonist, composer and educator Daniel Bennett was in the middle of a tour to promote his latest album when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. With the whole world on an indefinite lockdown and his upcoming shows canceled or postponed, the always-optimistic musician refused to panic, looking instead for ways to stay motivated and creative in this unprecedented situation.

“You’re not just playing music to keep your mind occupied,” he told me during our  Zoom conversation earlier this week. “You’re playing music to prepare for when this thing is over.”

Daniel’s positive attitude is grounded in resilience and a steadfast determination to “look for the blessings”, to see adversity as an opportunity for personal and artistic growth.

“You will get ahead exponentially when things are going bad,” he explained. “Because when this thing is over, you’re going to be way up here and the guy who is hiding under his bed… well, he’ll come out, but he’s going to be looking for his car keys and looking for his slippers.”

In a recent tweet announcing our upcoming interview, Daniel wrote: “We are mobilized and we are winning. Artists have nothing to fear. I have a lot to say. You don’t want to miss this!”

His energy and enthusiasm also inspired me to adapt and make some changes to the way I am presenting these articles. I decided to switch to publishing video interviews for the foreseeable future, feeling that it makes the artists’ message all the more resonant, especially at the current moment.

Daniel and I spoke about the ongoing pandemic and its effect on the music industry, but also about We Are the Orchestra, his creative process and his plans for the future. Check out the interview below!

Photo credit: Jesse Winter

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