As 2019 comes to a close, I can’t help but reflect on what a big year it has been for me personally and for Brave Musician. I’m not going to make a laundry list of all the things we did here at Brave Musician in 2019 (maybe later) but instead I thought I would answer a question that I have asked a lot recently… “How did you get Tia Fuller on your podcast?” (You can find her podcast here)
It’s an interesting story. I had met Tia briefly in the past - once at the ASU/Highland Jazz Festival where she was a guest artist (and I was a local clinician) and once at a Jazz Education Network conference - but we’d never really had the opportunity to talk. I had kept one eye on her career and always loved her playing… so when I saw that she was going to be performing in Phoenix while on tour for her album Diamond Cut last August, I hoped that I could have her on the podcast.
Unfortunately, I didn’t know how to get a hold of her.
So, I started by sending her a message through her website. I also sent her a message through Facebook. But neither got a response. I could have just given up at that point, but, I’m a Brave Musician and I knew that I had some more avenues to explore. There are so many possible reasons why I didn’t get a response and I had two choices, assume that she wasn’t interested or keep trying until I got either a yes or a no (and then I would know for sure.)
I decided to keep trying.
I knew that I knew people that knew her, so it was just a matter of reaching out to the right ones and seeing if they could help me. I started with a general post on Facebook, asking if anyone knew her and expressing my desire to have her on the podcast. I got a lot of responses, but one friend suggested that I reach out to Dr. Lou Fischer, who was my professor at Capital during my masters, and someone I work for at JEN. So, I dropped him an email asking if he had a way to reach her. Turns out, he was one of her teachers when she was a kid and he was happy to put us in touch with each other. He wrote an email that included both of us and Tia replied that she’d love to be on the podcast.
Yay! I was so excited. But I only told a couple of people, because I was afraid that it might not happen and I didn’t want to jinx it. I had an agreement but I know that scheduling can be challenging, especially with touring, so I was hoping that we could make things work, but I wasn’t 100% positive. And as the date got closer, Tia and I hadn’t been able to touch base again to set a time to record the podcast. In fact, we never set a time to record, but it was during a time that I was really flexible schedule wise, so I had faith that it would all work out.
The day of her show finally arrived and I was really excited to see her perform. The show was absolutely incredible! I was moved and inspired and I got even more excited about the idea of getting to talk to her for the podcast. After the show, I waited to talk to her until everyone else had left and then introduced myself. We went backstage, talked about our schedules (turned out she was staying in town for a couple of extra days) and made plans to meet up the next day. She needed to change hotels and so I offered to drive her.
When I look back on it now, the podcast was amazing, but for me the best part of that day was the bonding time we got while driving across Phoenix.
Although our experiences on the surface have been drastically different, we have a lot in common in how we dealt with those experiences. It was such a joy talking with her about life, playing music, teaching, relationships, family, etc. Being about the same age, we had been through a lot of similar things, knew some of the same people, and had struggled with the same issues. I’m really looking forward to seeing her again at the JEN conference in January in a couple of weeks. I’m really glad that I didn’t give up trying to reach her - which is the moral to my story today. Sometimes, you have to keep trying, be flexible, and things work out the way they are supposed to!