Interview with Jeff Crosby
What inspired your passion for music and who has been there supporting you from the beginning?
I always wrote poetry as a young teenager and I think music
really turned me on when I realized the power of having a musical
backdrop for the words. I was around 15-16 years old when I first
started to play the guitar and piano and instantly was writing songs
soon after. It’s amazing to me how powerful a phrase or word can be
with the right chords/music supporting it. It became a huge outlet for
me and I became somewhat “obsessed” with writing songs and performing
throughout high school and after. Being from a small community I had a
lot of support from local folks and business owners. Always letting me
play in the corner or open up for other bands passing through. Also my
mother and father were extremely supportive as they saw that I was
passionate about what I was doing. I’d say the community I came up in,
McCall/Donnelly, Idaho, and my family have shown endless support from
2. How do you feel about people downloading music rather then buying
I hate CD’s. Nothing worse than a scratched CD on your favorite song.
I’m really fine with whatever people do to acquire and listen to my
music. I do personally feel that people need something to bring home,
look at the pictures and words, and put on their shelves though. Until
that gap is filled for MP3′s and downloading there will always be
something missing in my opinion. Also it’s a shame that the track
order of an album is becoming more and more in-significant with
downloading as that’s something I think artists spend a lot of time on
when making a record. It’s still evolving so much. Who knows how we’ll
be buying/getting music in 10 years from now.
3.How do you feel about the music industry today?
Hmmm…I feel good about it I suppose? I’m 24 so I grew up in the
Napster, Myspace, I-pod, and MP3 generation. I was never really
familiar with the old model of the music industry when there was heaps
of money to be made by artists and record labels. Performing,
merchandise, and touring is all I’ve ever known. I get by with that. I
don’t make tons of money or anything but I get by.
4.Where do you see yourself five years from now?
I see myself sitting on 3-5 more albums and dividing my time between
touring, my place in Los Angeles, and my hometown in central Idaho. I
also will have travelled to India, South America, and Japan on my own
time and will have a more evolved perception on the meaning of my
life. Who knows. I don’t like to plan too far ahead. I feel it’s
inspiring and good for my art to be spontaneous so that all could
5. Do you think singer/songwriters are the best interpreters of their
own work or do you believe some cover versions can be better then the
Interesting question. I always enjoyed Jimi Hendrix’s version of “All
Along the Watchtower” better than Dylan’s version. I don’t know.
That’s like saying “Do you think Sean Connery was a better 007 than
Roger Moore. It’s all a matter of opinion I suppose. I’m always in
favor of the “authenticity” of the original personally.
6.Who have you always dreamt of working with and why? How would you go about accomplishing this?
I would love to collaborate with Gregg Allman because everyone says I
look like him. I just think it would look funny onstage…and I love his
organ style and voice. But on a more serious note I would love to
write a song with Robbie Robertson from “The Band” or have “Beck”
produce one of my albums. I can’t realistically say I’m striving for
any of these collaborations to happen. I just think it would be fun.
7.As you are starting out your career in the music industry what steps
do you plan on taking to reach your goal?
Keep writing songs about my opinions and life experiences that people
can relate to and performing as much as possible. Writing music that
matters and that will have a positive impact on people. I also just
relocated to Los Angeles, CA a few months ago to swim in a bigger pool
of artists and see what its all about here. Maybe I’ll start doing
door to door music sales…is that too old fashioned? I could be like
the Schwan’s man…or a missionary…for music…My cousin is in a great
band called VAST and I asked him what I should do to get my name out
there when I was younger. His advice was “Play everywhere, all the
time!”…I’ve been following that advice and it’s done some good things
for me so far.
8.Have you found that as you are starting out your career in the music
industry there are aspects that have taken you completely by surprise.
If so, what are they?
When I first started playing out in Idaho I was under the impression
that if you worked hard, were a great player, a good performer, and a
good songwriter you would “make it”. Being here in Los Angeles I now
realize that it seems to be more “who ya know” and being in the right
place at the right time to get your music out there. Everyone’s got
their own unique story though. Hard work always pays off in the end I
9. What is the greatest thing about working in the music industry? And
what would you change if you had the opportunity?
You get to express yourself. I’ve had people come up to me in tears
after shows saying how much they could relate to a song or how
inspiring a song was to them. It’s a great feeling to know you’ve
connected or touched someone with your music or art. That’s what
motivates me to keep writing songs. If I could change anything in the
music industry? I would limit the amount of times they can play a song
on the radio daily. That way I wouldn’t have to keep skipping past
that Foster the People song on every radio station…
10.If you could have asked anyone for advice when you were starting
out. Who would you have liked to ask? What would you have liked to
I had plenty of great advice when I was younger as I was playing with
guys that were twice my age. I was really fortunate in that aspect. I
always listened to my elders. Maybe I would have liked to ask Tom
Petty how he writes such great/honest songs in such a simple form.
Sometimes it’s so hard to just be simple. He’s the king of that in my
eyes. One of my favorites.
11.From your experience in the entertainment industry what advice
could you offer people looking to get where you are today?
Play everywhere, all the time…
12. What courses/classes would you recommend someone take if they want to be a professional in the music industry?
I wouldn’t know. I never went to college. Depends on what you want to
do in the music industry I guess but I think it’s all about the street
13.How many years were you fighting to get to where you are today and
what was that time in your life like?
I’ve been playing out and touring for about 6 years. Some times have
been brutal, reckless, and maybe a bit depressing and lonesome…but it’s
been mostly rewarding and inspiring in the sense that I love to
perform, write, and play music and that’s all I’m doing now for a
living. It has its ups and downs but so does everything I suppose.
14.From your experience so far, what have you found to be most
challenging? And how are you dealing with it?
It can be a bit hard for me to stay in one place. Even on time off I
find myself trying to quickly get back on the road or plan a trip
somewhere. It’s not too much of a problem now but there is something
beautiful about settling into a community and knowing everybody. I
hope to be able to do that someday. Still have a lot of work to do as
of now though.
15.Share with us your proudest moment in your career so far?
We throw a festival every August in Idaho called the Idaho-Down.
Accomplishing that feels really good at the end of it all because you
really see how amazing music is in all its forms and what it does for
people over the coarse of 20 bands in 2 days. Another one of my
proudest moments would have to be when a guy came up to me and told me that one of my songs saved his marriage. He was teary eyed and said he
played the song for his wife and told her the words described exactly
how he felt. He said it helped them work things out and he was so
grateful I’d written the tune…I’m feel proud anytime someone tells me
my music has helped or changed them.