Feeding your creative curiosity and self acceptance with producer, composer, bassist Derrick Hodge
In this episode of How Art Is Born, host R. Alan Brooks is joined by Derrick Hodge, composer, musical director, bandleader, producer, bassist, and advocate. Hodge reflects on his early days as a musician in West Philadelphia, feeding his curiosity and creative drive, his journey of self acceptance, and shares some words of wisdom for all the creators out there.
Links mentioned in this episode
ABOUT DERRICK HODGE
Denver local Derrick Hodge is a composer, musical director, bandleader, producer, bassist and advocate. He's made history in the last year with an incredible list of firsts including conducting/arranging for the first all Black orchestra to play at the Oscars and the first all Black orchestra to play on stage at the Hollywood Bowl. In addition to being a part of the Grammys and the Super Bowl all in the same year. Derrick has made a name for himself arranging/conducting with the Los Angeles Philharmonic arranging shows for XTina, H.E.R, Gwen Stefani, and many other legends.
R. Alan Brooks (00:00:00):
Hey, I'm R. Alan Brooks.
Dele Johnson (00:00:01):
And I'm Dele Johnson, editor and producer of your favorite podcast.
R. Alan Brooks (00:00:06):
Yeah. How Art is Born, you see the name back there. So, Dele, uh, 12 years ago, I was, uh, dating a woman who was part of a family where the father had been famous briefly in the seventies. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, and they were still living under the shadow of that once famous time. Yeah. And it was weird because they were super, uh, materialistic. They were very like trying to decide if people were important enough to be talked to. Mm-hmm. And if they didn't think that you were of the class that they should respect it, they would treat you with disrespect. Yeah. Uh, obviously the relationship didn't last long.
Dele Johnson (00:00:43):
No. And for good reason.
R. Alan Brooks (00:00:44):
Definitely. Yes. Uh, and, uh, their area of fame had been in music. So with them, I met, uh, I went to an event and met a few people who were way more famous. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> way more wealthy, and those people were nice. And I thought, well, how, how ridiculous to be like semi-famous and to be a dick to people, you know? Right. But I, but I know that we've all heard these stories of people who, uh, buy into the world of celebrity and, uh, treat people poorly. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so, uh, that brings me to, uh, today's guest, Derrick Hodge. Now, he, he's done so much stuff. Um, he's worked with so many famous people. He's famous in his own right. He has Grammys, uh,
Dele Johnson (00:01:30):
R. Alan Brooks (00:01:31):
Dele Johnson (00:01:31):
He, he was, uh, the conductor of the orchestra in the pit at the Oscars ceremony,
R. Alan Brooks (00:01:38):
Yeah. All that kind of stuff. Right.
Dele Johnson (00:01:40):
He is elite.
R. Alan Brooks (00:01:41):
He's worked with these top 40 musicians. Uh, he's done so much stuff, and he shows up to the interview just as like a dude, you know, very sincere, very, uh, connected. And none of that, uh, pretense or bullshit that goes along with a lot of like, uh, celebrity stuff.
Dele Johnson (00:02:01):
R. Alan Brooks (00:02:02):
And, you know, as I, as my work as a writer, kind of takes me into more of those arenas with, uh, people who are famous or used to be famous or on their way to fame, it's, uh, it's refreshing to see the communities of people within that world who are choosing not to buy into the, the falsehood of celebrity mm-hmm. <affirmative> and who wanna make real connections and contribute positive and beautiful things to the world. And I would say, uh, Derrick Hoge, he fits very squarely into that category of people who want to create beautiful and loving contributions to the world. And that really came through in the interview. And I, I just, uh, I really enjoyed talking to 'em. I love having those interviews where, uh, I feel renewed afterwards, you know? Yeah.
Dele Johnson (00:02:46):
It was, it was amazing to, to sit and, and listen to the conversation you guys are having, how he works through fear, uh, the level of like investment and, and passion that he put into his work and into himself. Um, and yeah, he, he's had a great journey and he's, you know, he mentions his mom being in the same choir as Patti LaBelle. Right, right. Like, he's, he's been around the stardom for a long time, and he has done amazing things and has still came in here humble and warm.
R. Alan Brooks (00:03:23):
Yeah. Yeah. He comes from a powerful musical pedigree.
Dele Johnson (00:03:26):
Yeah. And he's really out and around here in Denver.
R. Alan Brooks (00:03:29):
Dele Johnson (00:03:29):
He's, he's sitting in on shows with Adam Deitch
R. Alan Brooks (00:03:33):
Dele Johnson (00:03:33):
Um, he's doing events at KUVO.
R. Alan Brooks (00:03:36):
Dele Johnson (00:03:36):
Um, so he's, he's out here in, in the Denver community despite, uh, the level, um, right. That he's at musically as a professional. So that's, it's really cool to see.
R. Alan Brooks (00:03:48):
I think you guys are gonna really enjoy this one. I, I, I think, uh, the conversation is, uh, uniquely inspiring. So, uh, check it out. I'll say, uh, just remind you that we want more people to listen, uh, daily works hard on, uh, producing and editing these podcasts. So, you know, it'd be lovely if you share it with other people. Tell a friend and tell a friend. Uh, leave comments and ratings on whatever streaming service you listen to this on. Even if you watch on the YouTube, all that stuff helps. So, um, yeah. Anything you can do to, to share. I appreciate it. Uh, thank you guys for listening and supporting.
Dele Johnson (00:04:25):
Yes. Thank you very much.
R. Alan Brooks (00:04:26):
Right on. All right. Check it out. It's a good one. See yeah.
Welcome to How Art Is Born, a podcast from Museum of Contemporary Art Denver about the origins of artists and the creative and artistic practices. I'm your host, art Alvin Brooks, artist, writer, and professor. Today I'm joined by composer, musical director, band leader, producer, bass, and advocate. Derrick Hodge. Say hello.
Derrick Hodge (00:04:48):
How's it going brother? Great to be here.
R. Alan Brooks (00:04:50):
Right on, man. It's good to have you.
Derrick Hodge (00:04:52):
R. Alan Brooks (00:04:53):
All right. So, uh,
Derrick Hodge (00:04:55):
You know, we,
R. Alan Brooks (00:04:56):
We had this conversation about like, what is, what, what's your journey like? What, the two questions I'd like to start with generally are what was the first time that art ever really spoke to you mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And then what was the first time that you knew you wanted to create art?
Derrick Hodge (00:05:10):
You know, it all, it kind of goes hand in hand, man. If, if, if <laugh>, if you let my mother tell it <laugh> Well, he's been playing professionally since in the womb <laugh>. Right, right. But he was, he was working from the womb <laugh>. Uh, but quite honestly, yeah, it's all connected for me. Yeah. Um, my journey started, uh, with my mother. Okay. Uh, west Philadelphia went to Build of Baptist Church, 50th and Spruce. She was on the same choir as Patti LaBelle. Oh, wow. Different people. And for me to stay out of trouble, she would sit me on the front row Nice. While she sang in the choir. Yeah. And she happened to sit me in front of the bass player. Huh. And I'm telling you, like, that ended up being so much for me, that informed my decision making for years to come.
And I just didn't know it at the time. Wow. I was only five years old, but, uh, I just knew I wanted to be like Joel Ruffin. Wow. The way the bass spoke to me, the bass guitar. Um, I just don't want to do that. Right. You know, and, and the, just the power of that sound that stuck with me, even though we didn't have any instruments or anything like that at the time, I bugged my mother about wanting to do it, and she became my biggest influence because she said, Hey, let's do it. We don't have the instruments at the time. Let's start in the school system, you know? Yeah. And I got, that's how I got the school band, just so I could have access to a bass, huh. Guitar. And it was too big for my body at the time. So I started on guitar. So
R. Alan Brooks (00:06:34):
How old were you in the band around?
Derrick Hodge (00:06:35):
Uh, I start, so by that point I was six. So in the first grade I started the band. Yeah. And the bass was too big for my body, so I started on guitar, and then when I turned seven, I Wow. I switched over to electric bass and, you know, I've been playing it ever since. And quite honestly, that moment where I felt like, Hey, I can do this, or I want to do this, when I really think back, that moment never came when I realized it was just, I always fed that curiosity Yeah. Young. It just felt like, oh, no, this is what I, I should be doing. It was always be doing. Yeah. Yeah.
R. Alan Brooks (00:07:05):
Yeah. What about the bass specifically spoke to you?
Derrick Hodge (00:07:09):
You know, when I think back now, I, it is, first of all, he was amazing. Yeah. And, uh, I found out later in life, you know, how he actually influenced some of the best known bass who ever come outta Philly. Oh. Like, yeah. He was just incredible. Yeah. Uh, so there was, that just his exceptional way of playing. But I think just being in close proximity to it mm-hmm. <affirmative> proximity to the sound, and, um, something about that emotion, it, it, it just spoke to me in a way. And I think it influenced me in a way where no matter what, when it comes to skillset and learning an instrument, like always trying to be in tune with how something feels. Yeah. It started, I think, because of that, just being so close to that base stamp, it was like, probably seven feet from me. Wow. And loud. 'cause the church was huge. Right. You know, so, so much of that, like, that informed if, if things didn't feel a certain way and didn't speak to me. Mm-hmm. I just, no matter how impressive, it might've seemed too many. Yeah. I, I just wouldn't gravitate to it. So I think just by coincidence, you know, in circumstances being exposed to it.
R. Alan Brooks (00:08:10):
Yeah. It's such a central, uh, instrument to a lot of black music, especially. Yeah. When, when, when you were playing in school bands, you said you started a band when you were or started in bands? I started in bands. Okay. Yeah. So was that, was that, like, what kind of music did they have you playing then? Was it like classical or,
Derrick Hodge (00:08:29):
Yeah, well, at that time I, so I did, I wasn't in the orchestra yet. I was in concert band, so it was a lot of concert band, music, you know, early brass ugal type stuff, you know, and it was just, I don't wanna say basic, but just, you know, kind of regimented. Yeah. Kinda simple playing. But I had access to the instrument. Yeah. And that was the coolest thing because of that. Um, and also growing up in a high bed of talent around me. Right. You know, my best friend was a bass player. Uh, they paired me with his brother, you know, who lived two streets behind me. Ty Tribute, it's like this gospel artist. Oh, yeah. Yeah. I know. And we started playing together, and just because I had access to instruments Yeah. You know, and then being a, I think just having access to it and being in the band, that allowed me to really cultivate that sound. So it wasn't even just about being in the band, it was afterwards sometimes the teacher just letting us jam out Yeah. And figure things out. That ended up being kind of the backdrop to so many things, my entire creative life. Yeah. What do we do after that structured moment is over? Hmm. What do we do with this information? You know what I mean?
R. Alan Brooks (00:09:33):
Yeah. Okay. So this is a real side thing. Uh, yeah. We both have the black church upbringing in common mm-hmm. <affirmative>, those early days. Uh, you, you familiar with Andre Crouch?
Derrick Hodge (00:09:42):
R. Alan Brooks (00:09:43):
So I just discovered that they made a
Derrick Hodge (00:09:46):
Comment. A lot of people, lot do people answer offended <laugh> when it's a artist they know.
R. Alan Brooks (00:09:49):
Derrick Hodge (00:09:50):
Do I know Andre? How dare you? <laugh>?
R. Alan Brooks (00:09:53):
I guess I could have been like, what? You know about this. Right. <laugh> didn't, that reaction would've been Right.
Derrick Hodge (00:09:57):
Do I know <laugh>?
R. Alan Brooks (00:09:58):
Right? Who you
Derrick Hodge (00:10:00):
Asking? Right, right.
R. Alan Brooks (00:10:02):
I just discovered that, uh, back in the seventies, they did a Andre Crouch comic book.
Derrick Hodge (00:10:07):
Is that right? Yeah.
R. Alan Brooks (00:10:08):
And it's like, uh, like when he was like in his prime and it has him like, touring and like, all these people being like, that's gospel music, you
Derrick Hodge (00:10:15):
Know? That's incredible,
R. Alan Brooks (00:10:16):
Man. So, for people who aren't familiar, just people who are listening, like Andre Crouch, uh, was like super talented, uh, gospel musician who broke into the pop in r and b world in a lot of significant ways in the seventies. And, uh, yeah. See, y'all can look 'em up if you I want to, but there's an underground
Derrick Hodge (00:10:31):
Comic legend Yeah. That I would've never thought that. Right,
R. Alan Brooks (00:10:35):
Right. You know, and of course, the comic book is my world, so I like, no, I found out on this site that just had old school comics, and I was like, Andre Crouch, for real. Anyway.
Derrick Hodge (00:10:44):
That's incredible though, man. Yeah. Like brilliance, <laugh>.
R. Alan Brooks (00:10:49):
Brilliant. Okay. So you, you're doing the school thing. Uh, it's a little more regimented, a little more, uh, simplistic, but you're getting your kind of foundation.
Derrick Hodge (00:10:56):
R. Alan Brooks (00:10:57):
So what was kind of the next step? Where'd you, what'd you move into?
Derrick Hodge (00:11:00):
So it was always that balance, you know, um, as a friend of mine, he says, like, you know, you take two sets of notes. Yeah. Always, you know, what you're being taught and then how it applies to your real world. Yeah. And for me, from six years old, seven years old, you know, I was very blessed to be, you know, surrounded in that hot bed of, uh, hotbed of town. Yeah. We moved to Willingboro, New Jersey. Okay. And that's where I joined the band. And because of all the musicians around me that helped cultivate, you know, so much, like, my friends were playing in church Yeah. At really young ages. And they were also like in the bands and orchestras with me going all the way through 11, 12 years old. Mm-hmm. So we all, you know, kind of had that exposure of other things that we don't necessarily hear outside of school.
Right. But then our teachers were, were really just fertile and allowed us to just cultivate That's cool. Build whatever ideas we had would let us just work that out. Hmm. So, I always saw school as a platform, as an environment where no, it, it can be fun. Hmm. You can try things, make the most of the resources around you. And that ended up being the backdrop through my entire childhood. Like, I stayed in the orchestra until I graduated. Yeah. High school. I was in the jazz band mm-hmm. When I, um, all the way through high school. But I also, you know, got on my, you mentioned Andre Crouch. Yeah. My very, my very first tour. I think I was 12 with the great James Moore. Wow. And, uh, you know, my first record, I think I was, I, I think I might've just turned 14 Huh.
With, uh, James Poiser, who, you know, produced a lot of artists over the next few years outta that Philly. Yeah. You know, sound, you know, for years to come. But it never seemed like I was just doing a bunch of different things that weren't connected. It just felt like all music. Huh. It felt like it was all fun. Why not try it all? Yeah. And like I said, my biggest influence was my mother. Right. So, because I always had that environment around me where it was like, try it all. You ain't weird. You know, do it. You know, like, you wanna give up, you wanna stop boxing and just keep doing the music. Keep your hands, do it. And I didn't feel weird about that, and my friends didn't say that was weird. So because of that, man, I think that curiosity, it never felt weird pursuing it all.
Yeah. And honestly, I didn't know that that would be the thing that I would need kind of just to keep me grounded and to keep me moving in a focused way through my adult life. Hmm. You know, especially when you get outta school, you know, and I got into college and I had all these interests, but you know, when you get in, you know, things are very focused. I was a jazz major. Yeah. Uh, playing upright bass and electric bass, but I was into composition. I was into films. I was into all these different things. Uh, but, uh, didn't have the skills for writing it yet. Of course. Yeah. And just a platform to, to try that. All that just wasn't available in school. However, I always had that person, you know, <laugh> that always encouraged me to try it all. So that's,
R. Alan Brooks (00:13:58):
Derrick Hodge (00:13:59):
Cool. That's the thing, man. Yeah. 'cause I
R. Alan Brooks (00:14:00):
Hear this theme, like, throughout your story of your life that you tell 'em. Right. It's like so many artists have this, these experiences when they go to school where the school is trying to confine them and discourage them. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But you had it where your teachers were cool, like taught you your bases, but also gave you room to trust
Derrick Hodge (00:14:15):
Though, man. Absolutely.
R. Alan Brooks (00:14:16):
You have like, you know, your mother who's supporting what you're doing. Like some people have their parents who were like, nah, you can't be an artist. You know? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So it's really cool to hear like, all that support.
Derrick Hodge (00:14:25):
And I'm telling you, man, that that was, I'm glad you said that. That ended up being everything for me, because it wasn't just being curious. It was, I didn't know what I didn't know yet. I just knew I had to drive to do it. Yeah. And I didn't hear the nos. And now when I think back, you know, I'm reminded sometimes Yeah. Remember such and such was like, yeah. They could never see you. Do I, I don't remember, ah, that, like, that was just noise to me. And I, I think back, like, why did that not matter? Can I even not remember? Yeah. Because I, it just did not already had a life of those saying, Hey, try it. Go for
R. Alan Brooks (00:14:58):
It. That foundation.
Derrick Hodge (00:14:59):
And honestly, taking those, you know, preconceived, what they call risks. Yeah. That was everything for me. And, um, I think why I championed the arts so much now, and not just allowing resume and hype, define, but shoot no going out and any moment like this to really speak to my truth. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and talk about even moments I had where I was just afraid, but I kept trying. I think opportunities that have come has also come for me to also be able to speak about these other things, because it went hand in hand when I was afraid, but just didn't stop. Mm-hmm. And there were people along my creative life that made, made that possible for me. Yeah. You know,
R. Alan Brooks (00:15:41):
You know, I think it's a really interesting thing for somebody to come from, say like, like bass playing to mm-hmm. <affirmative> composing so many things, because I think I, I saw, I met Marcus Miller once Right. And he talked about all the
Derrick Hodge (00:15:54):
Things. That's the sensei man. Yeah. Woo.
R. Alan Brooks (00:15:56):
Right. So he talked about all the things that he had composed, and I didn't even know, you know what I'm saying? Yeah. Like, he's present in so many things
Derrick Hodge (00:16:03):
R. Alan Brooks (00:16:03):
Yeah. And I was just like, oh, man. Like, it's, it's just a, yeah. It's a really interesting thing. Mm-hmm. So it's mm-hmm. It's, I think it's really dope to see, um, how you started there and then expanded into all the different things that you do,
Derrick Hodge (00:16:18):
You know? Thank you. Yeah. Thank you.
R. Alan Brooks (00:16:20):
Uh, on the side note, he talked about, um, Marcus Miller talked about the Jamaica Funk song. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> Jim Funk. Yeah. Yeah. There was a, this, uh, Bernard Wright. Oh, yeah. Okay. So I encountered his music in a weird way. It was still in church. He did a few gospel albums. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, they were like, uh, in the nineties, it was like him trying to make hymns contemporary. Yeah. So I knew him from that stuff. Okay. Did not know that he was, that
Derrick Hodge (00:16:45):
That was a Bernard. Wow. That's, that's amazing. I
R. Alan Brooks (00:16:47):
Know, right. And so then later I was like, oh, that's him. And then I discovered he was like, uh, one of the musicians on the Jamaica Funk song. Yeah. I was like, yo, this dude has a, like, he just passed away, I think last year,
Derrick Hodge (00:16:57):
Year and a half ago. Yes, he did.
R. Alan Brooks (00:16:59):
I was like, man, it's just
Derrick Hodge (00:17:00):
Rest in peace.
R. Alan Brooks (00:17:01):
Yeah. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But it's amazing to me how like, uh, when somebody is like fully in that world, they can do so many different things to touch so many different parts of society.
Derrick Hodge (00:17:10):
R. Alan Brooks (00:17:10):
And people that can know them from, and I think that's true of your work, because you do, like, um, you, that's such a breadth of like, all the different places that you touch.
Derrick Hodge (00:17:19):
Thank you, man.
R. Alan Brooks (00:17:19):
I wanna know for you, like, when you're, um, approaching music mm-hmm. <affirmative>, is it just like cathartic for you? Or are you trying to like, give something to the world healing? Or is it both?
Derrick Hodge (00:17:35):
You know, um, first of all, let me show love to Marcus Miller. I can't, I hear his name mentioned, you know, I, I've got nothing but love for him, you know, and it's, it was an honor. You know, last year we did some dual day shows together and stuff like that. He, I was super honored to do that with him. He was very kind when I met him, man. Oh, he's, he's, yeah. He's just the coolest man. Nice. Um, but when I think about in terms of that curiosity, going back to that, for me, Marcus Miller was one of the greatest minds to me. 'cause he was doing film score. Yeah. He was doing all these different things, you know what I mean? Ros songs, Luther VROs, and then go Right. Doing the, but you know, that so many things people dunno is him. Right.
Right. You know what I mean? Um, but he did, he tried it all and things overlapped. It wasn't within like, you know, separate time. And I was following his career so closely. That breeds life. It breeds life into me, man. Yeah. So, Marcus Miller to this day, is one of the people that I feel like has just been a champion. Nice. You know, like in my life. And then later meeting him and getting a chance to play with him, and yeah. How gracious he was with his time. Again, I, I just felt like that wasn't a sign I need to be taking this energy and making sure I'm passing it, you know, forward. Uh, but what was so interesting how that ties to your question, man, um, when I asked questions, you know, with heroes like him Yeah. And when I think about how that actually relates to me, I was surprised how similar some of the answers were.
Often when I'm creating, it's, there's a certain appreciation I have for people that are choosing to honor my art and let it speak to them. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, when I'm writing my albums from Message of Hope and all these things, when I'm still getting messages to this day about how that might've helped someone's life. Right. You know, them to get through. I think what gets me the most is in that moment of creation. Like, I was honestly just trying to get an idea out at the time that I felt was just necessary to happen. By all means. Yeah. By any means. Like, whether if it was a voice memo or just get to my studio and singing the idea out and getting it out, there's always been this underlying thing where something about the spirit of this idea is hitting me where I just have to get it out right to the point.
I'm not even necessarily thinking about, oh, this is going to, people gonna love this. Or even thinking too much about, um, how I'm being perceived in the creation of it. It's more so putting on blinders no matter what. Let me just get this idea out. And I think because of that and kind of being naive in a way where, okay, no matter what we'll land on, land on our feet with something, it's helped the music, when I listen back to it, it, it's, I feel it coming from an honest place. Oh, no. That's how I really felt. Yeah. At the time, creatively, for better or for worse, that's how I honestly felt just being a servant of the moment. And I think that's been the, that's been the main thing for me. It's like just being a servant of the moment. I like that when it comes time for creating.
Yeah. And I, I think along the way, it's, it's been more of a thing, man, where when people tell me how they're reacting to it and how those moments spoke to them, yeah. It's, it encourages me to keep going with it. And they encourage others to do it in that same way. Like, trust your own voice. Mm-hmm. You know, like my journey. If you're going to music schools and you're doing all this stuff, if you wanna, like, you know, be an artist and create, there is no real start date or end date to that start now. Right. What is it that you have to say? Right. Be sure to give yourself time to do that wherever that is. Whether it's sitting there watching E S P N and Stephen a's going off at the time, and then you realize, wait, I oftentimes get an idea when I'm sit back, pause that. Yeah. Turn on your phone. Record that idea. 'cause that can sometimes be the beginning of the, the greatest honest spark. Yeah. So being willing to trust that. 'cause honestly, you don't know where that'll take you. For me, that has ended up being fallout compositions. Mm-hmm. You know, now, or it's been a piece where I'm just kind of bebop on my chest and singing.
R. Alan Brooks (00:21:48):
I love hearing that, man. You know, it's,
Derrick Hodge (00:21:50):
The process is the same either way. Yeah.
R. Alan Brooks [AD] (00:21:55):
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R. Alan Brooks (00:22:24):
It's interesting what you're saying, like, like what is the thing that sort of feeds you essentially like mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, a big percentage of people who come on the show, we've encountered each other in a dance floor. Like the dance floor is like my thing. Right. Okay. Uh, so like, if I get stuck on something writing, uh, go on the floor in the middle of like, my third Michael Jackson Spin
Derrick Hodge (00:22:44):
R. Alan Brooks (00:22:45):
Suddenly it comes clear and I'm like, I to leave the dance floor and like, make a note on the phone.
Derrick Hodge (00:22:49):
I'm saying that's real, because you remember not the second spin.
R. Alan Brooks (00:22:52):
Derrick Hodge (00:22:52):
Mid third spin. You
R. Alan Brooks (00:22:56):
Then I gotta step off to the side. And, and I think, uh, I think people undervalue like being flexible with yourself about the things that feed you and give you a place of creativity, you
Derrick Hodge (00:23:07):
R. Alan Brooks (00:23:07):
Absolutely. I wanna ask you, uh, so do you do this thing? So I do, there's this thing for me where, um, I purposely avoid drama and bullshit. Right. Because when people try to draw me into that stuff, it feels like they're robbing me of creative energy.
Derrick Hodge (00:23:24):
R. Alan Brooks (00:23:25):
Yeah. Like, I'm, like, the energy that I've wasted on this, I could have been using to create something that mattered to me. Wow. And so if I find like friendships or even romantic relationships in the past mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, that were trying to draw me into a lot of unnecessary conflict. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I feel like it's the, the act of creation feels divine to me. And if you're pulling me away from it for something that really doesn't matter. Yeah. I resent it, you know? And Wow. I don't know if you had that experience at
Derrick Hodge (00:23:55):
All. No, I hear you, man. Yeah. That, that, that's a real thing I think for me. Uh, yes and no, man, I, I'll say, I think for me, I, I <laugh> I get on people's nerves up top because I, I, I, I'm just positive smiling all the time, and people get mad at me. You like, <laugh>, I don't wanna hear you. Gimme that positive. I just want an vent. Get outta here, <laugh>. Right. But the truth is, um, those experiences, that's all what makes this world what it is. And if I'm true, honest with myself, yeah. Both sides have actually fed my creative, you know, I try to be water and, and, and the yin and yang and all that, how it doesn't necessarily often a affect my person, like the energy that's around me. Yeah. In terms of me taking that in and it feeding my mood.
Oftentimes for whatever reason, I can separate that. Uh, maybe just from, I've seen a lot of things in my life. Yeah. Just on a real side too. Yeah. Um, and in the midst of conflict, in the midst of different types of things, you know, from love watching, you know, others dealing with conflict as well. Seeing that, that's actually informed some of my decision making too, with my creative. If, if I'm truly honest with myself, that pain that I saw experienced, I don't know if I would've noticed it so much if I hadn't been in a situation where I could experience it separate myself from it and realize, oh wait, this is, this is an underlying pain somebody's coming from. Yeah. This is an underlying thing that they may not know how to deal with. And they're drama, they exude, they're pushing out on me, but wait, there's another story there.
What are they dealing with? Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and some of that energy has, has led to songs that I've written in the past that, you know, may not actually be directly my story. I might, I might be channeling an energy, I felt a story of a narrative of someone else. Right. That, that was around me, and that energy and that emotion almost like I'm writing to film. Yeah. You know? Um, but that process of being water and acceptance, you know, for better or for worse, I think that's, that's helped me in my creative journey. Yeah. But, but not everybody. I will say if I, 'cause I know energy is real. Yeah. And taking that in, I know for a fact if, if that affected me in a certain way where negativity was going on, I, I know for sure I, I would separate myself from it.
Yeah. But for serving me creatively and being true to the moment, sometimes when listening back, I can hear, oh man, I remember the time I wrote. I remember what happened. That's interesting. That we, it's, it's really interesting. Yeah. And then, then it comes down to decision making. Oh, now I have an opportunity to try to express that amongst 74 people in the orchestra. Yeah. Who do I want to represent that pain? Do I want to be very obvious in a certain type of way? Or do I want to mask that? Do I wanna take that pain and make it sound in a really weird tambour in the heart? Right. Although people think of beauty in the No, there's also dirt in there too. Ah, do I channel that energy there? Yeah. You know, so it's become a beautiful way of, you know, how do I choose to channel that energy? But the the biggest thing is accepting it it all for me. Yeah. Both sides. Yin and yang. It's, it's really weird, man. Huh.
R. Alan Brooks (00:27:15):
Derrick Hodge (00:27:16):
It's really weird.
R. Alan Brooks (00:27:18):
Derrick Hodge (00:27:18):
So, but true. Yeah.
R. Alan Brooks (00:27:19):
Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that's really dope to hear, like your perspective on that, man. So, okay. You did the school thing. You were doing tours when you were very young. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, when you finished school, how did you make the jump to like, full-time musician or where were those things kind of already in place for you?
Derrick Hodge (00:27:35):
Yeah. Um, so when I graduated, uh, from Temple University, I was fortunate, you know, when, when I said there were people in my life that, you know, encouraged me to, you know, be fearless and try things, keep feeding myself and make uncomfortable, comfortable. They didn't just say that. They also helped. While you're doing all this and figuring this out there, you gotta eat. Let's, let's figure this out. And some of my first records when I got out of school was by those same professors, Tara Stafford put me on those jazz records. Nice. And I used him on, uh, certain films that I was writing at the time Yeah. And writing music for at the time. So the relationships directly, you know, with people in the greater Philadelphia area. Yeah. Um, I graduated when I was 21 and there was a lot of records happening mm-hmm.
<affirmative> at that time. So through my senior year of college, those people that were in that environment around me, the James Poysers and all, that's how I, in June Rabbi. And that's how I ended up on all those records. Yeah. You know, from musics and Jill and Floetry and all those guys. Okay. Anthony Hamilton. So it was really just tapping into the environment around me. Yeah. But I didn't, I never stopped feeding that curiosity. So most of the work that came was, you know, performance based playing the bass. Yeah. Which I love, and I'm thankful, but I knew I was still really hearing a sign I wanted to write for film. Yeah. So I just started writing and there was music. I still have that sheet music to this day that I wrote that some, a lot, a lot of it's never been played or seen. Hmm. I just started writing it and making up in my mind, this is, I'm, I'm writing it as if this is a commission that's gonna be turned in Yeah. And people are going to see it. And believe it or not, I did, I ended up doing it. It became, uh, something I did everywhere I went on tour, I would bring my scores with me. Nice. And believe it or not, that's how I got my first film.
R. Alan Brooks (00:29:27):
I was just about to ask that questions
Derrick Hodge (00:29:28):
One of the musicians, uh, he saw the drummer Rodney Green. Yeah. Um, who saw me on tour all the time, always writing. Yeah. You know, and my brother Robert Glass, but he used to see me writing Yeah. All the time. Uh, Rodney got a gig filling in for the great Terrence Blanchard. Okay. And he said, Hey man, here's Scott is always writing, transcribing all the time, all the, like these films. He's like, got his headphones on, he is doing on the plane. Yeah. You might wanna meet him. So it ended up being someone else, like, working on my behalf, you know, like in the moment I'm just being curious and feeding that curiosity. Right. That, that's the thing. You know, like I said, that's been my whole life, the consistent thing through my life. But someone else noticed and he connected me with, you know, someone else.
And Terrence Blanchard, uh, reached out, I filled in Yeah. You know, for a show with him. And then when I got in that band, I just bugged him with questions like every moment I could. And then I just decided I'm gonna go to LA Oh. Boxed up my computer and did a one trip to one way trip out there. And I said, I'm just gonna be out there. I'm gonna meet everybody I can. Dope. Letting them know I'm not going any way. And Terence Blanchard got me on my first film, uh, uh, who The Bleep is Jackson Pollock. Okay. And then from there we did the levies Yeah. Uh, film. And that's how things kind of worked in that way. But really what fed so many of these different things, it, it's, it might seem like different worlds, but it was really just feeding that curiosity.
Yeah. Yeah. I, I, I'm thankful for how things might look when reading, you know, a resume or something like that. Right. Or, but in the, in the end, it was just being curious <laugh> Yeah. And feeding that. Hmm. And fortunately things worked out in a way, if I said I made all the right moves and I did this, and that's how I worked out, I would be lying. Hmm. To you. Sometimes the answer is just do try feed that. Huh. You know? And, and that's how I got into the film writing and the composing. But that other side of me, you know, performing like that was still happening. So it is like things just, you know, kept working around. And so then it became just a matter of, you know, how do I balance it all mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So that, that's been the challenge ever since. Figuring out a way to balance it. Yeah.
R. Alan Brooks (00:31:39):
It's a really interesting thing. Like, I love hearing you talk about your experience, man, because so many, um, people who are quote unquote aspiring artists mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I think that I find is that they're not gentle with themselves. Yeah. They don't allow themselves the space to like, be creative and be curious and fail or succeed. They don't allow themselves that mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, 'cause there's just a lot of, uh, fear around all of that. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And I wonder for you when you're creating things Yeah. What is it like when you feel fear, and then how do you move through it?
Derrick Hodge (00:32:13):
Um, I'm so glad you asked that because in reality, that's one thing me and so many people I've talked to, like we, we, we share in common that, that that's a very real thing. Yeah. Fear. Yeah. And it's not about saying all the right things. Like don't fear, just sometimes the answer is like Muhammad Ali, all the stuff he said in the end of those things, he said, y'all, it was fear, but I didn't let it control me. Right. Sometimes it's knowing it, but just moving forward by any means necessary. Mm. Um, and the act of doing becomes a habit where if you feed that enough, I tell anyone where, you know, they may not know where they want to go creatively with things or they're not sure how to, you know, weeded out the noise. There's so many forms of noise now. Yeah. It, it can be the pressure of every 30 minutes of young kids looking on their phone. Right. And seeing what other people are doing, seeing how others are marketing themselves and promoting themselves and getting traction. And by doing that, so often it's easy to, you know, not focus on what it is that you wanna say. Right. I, I would say in the midst of all of that, okay. Acknowledge that at any given day you can be afraid of something. And that's perfectly fine.
Try acknowledging that and then tap into it knowing that it may exist. You might be surprised where you land. Hmm. And just be patient with yourself because, um, I will encourage any person that hears this, you know, go for it. I will listen to ideas you have. If you send it to me, I will give honest feedback. I encourage you to keep trying. But in the, the react, the fact of it, the matter is, everybody's not like that. Right. People aren't gonna always care in the moment, but none of that can stop you. If you have something to say, say it. If you don't know what you want to say yet, just think about why you're doing it in the first play.
R. Alan Brooks [AD] (00:34:20):
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Derrick Hodge (00:34:51):
Yeah. So with fear, it's acknowledging that Yeah. That that's a very real thing. Now what? Right. And fd, the sooner you get to that question, whoever you are, the moment you start answering that question and try to find answers, sometime the, the, the act of doing and trying eliminates that distraction of even letting your mind's thoughts influence your activity. Mm-hmm. Or now, because sometimes the answer is be afraid and have all those questions, but not stopping and then landing on your feet with an idea that was so beautifully you Yeah. 'cause you created from that space that the only thing that stopped, that would've made that not happen is you not doing mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you're not always gonna create in a space where you're just feeling the most positive, where you about yourself or anything, but just do. And I guarantee, if you're willing to go through that fear, and sometime the fear is <laugh> when you create being willing to listen to what came of that.
But I challenge anyone that's into it, you know, beyond music. Yeah. With anything, um, you know, with great creative minds like yourself as well, you can see that even from, you know, art itself. Like, try it and don't be afraid to look at what you see mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and then do that next step. Do it again, and do it again, and do it again. And that's the thing you can control to any creative, I would say just start with really acknowledging it's okay to be afraid. Yeah. But go move, do. Right. If you're feeling a certain way about yourself, turn that voice memo on and say these thoughts, huh. About yourself in that phone. Okay.
It the ugly truth that you may perceive as the ugly truth. Yeah. Speak it. Let it out. Deal with that. And whether you wanna listen to it when you're done or not, that's your choice. But at least you gave space to that. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, now you're acknowledging, okay, I've given space to that. I don't care how old or young you are, that's something you can do. Now, let's put this aside and let me get to what do I, what do I wanna do? What am I curious about? Yeah. What have I recorded? Let me go back and listen to it. What's wrong with it? What do I feeding All those questions, it puts a very beautiful set of blinders on you. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> that's going to get you to something that's honestly you no matter what. Hmm. And that's what the hope is. Like, get to something honest, to something that's real, and that's what you can control.
And doing that, the, that's music. Right. The music business, <laugh>, that's a whole other thing. Right. You know, um, but what you can control is getting ideas out that are honestly you and you being the source of cultivating it. Hmm. That can become infectious, and that's what you can control. No one will ever, I don't care how many people in this world, no one will ever fully sound like you. Yeah. Or do art. That's exactly like you. Even if you're channeling all of your influences, you think your art might be, when you look back, you'll be like, man, I thought I was being myself, <laugh>, I listen to myself. Oh man, I'm hearing, man, I, my sound was just like Marcus Miller on this <laugh>. I was, I guess he was a bigger influence to me than I, but that was unapologetically me in the moment. Right. Let me do this next song. Let me figure this out. Hmm. Before, you know, you have 30 songs or something. And then it's like, okay, what do I wanna do with this body of work? But no matter what it was honest, be unafraid to just be honest and deal with that fear.
R. Alan Brooks (00:38:21):
Yo, I love, I love the way you think about and approach. All right, man, it's really dope. I, I think, um, that that vulnerability, that gentleness with yourself after doing this for, uh, this show for a few seasons mm-hmm. <affirmative> talking with a lot of artists and asking that specific question. Yeah. The general consensus is to recognize the fear as part of the process of creating art. It's, but you can't let it stop you. You know? And, uh, I really, I love hearing all the different ways that the different people I talk to Yeah. Find their way through it, you know mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um,
Derrick Hodge (00:38:52):
And that's it. Yeah. Acknowledgement and finding a way through it. Yeah. Or realizing, hey, I'm in the midst of still finding my way through it.
R. Alan Brooks (00:39:01):
Yes. Yeah. And it's okay. Like, nothing's wrong with you fulfilling fear. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, but you can't let the fear make the decisions.
Derrick Hodge (00:39:08):
Wow. Okay. Now I wish I worded it <laugh>, all that stuff I just said. Yeah. What? Yeah, what he said, <laugh> <laugh>.
R. Alan Brooks (00:39:16):
I was thinking about how like, when,
Derrick Hodge (00:39:17):
What he said word,
R. Alan Brooks (00:39:19):
I was thinking about how like, when the deer is caught of headlights, right? Like out of fear, they freeze, but that actually puts them in more danger
Derrick Hodge (00:39:24):
R. Alan Brooks (00:39:25):
You know, 'cause they stop. 'cause fear made the decision. Right. They stop. I've been thinking about, uh, you know, I don't talk about a lot on this thing, on this podcast, but, you know, uh, I used to rap. I used to hire jazz musicians to back me and stuff like that. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and I, what it was like in the late nineties, early two thousands, the, the external obstacles to making music was like, I had to save up five to seven Gs for like a M P C sampler or, you know, another 10 Gs to get in the studio mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, and there were all these sort of like, things that I had to work towards. Whereas now, like, you know, you can pretty much do it all on your phone, you know, if you're really industrious mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And it's interesting to, because I, I guess I, at that age, I thought that the external obstacles were what was stopping me and my friends from doing things mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But now that things are so much, uh, they're, so there are a lot fewer external obstacles mm-hmm. <affirmative> to create. To create, yeah. 'cause the business, as you mentioned,
Uh, but the peop so now like, it's just like all you gotta do is create mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And now I see how much fear is gripping people. So that, that's why that's a really important question to me.
Derrick Hodge (00:40:34):
You know, it really is, man. Yeah. It really is.
R. Alan Brooks (00:40:37):
So, uh, I'm interested in hearing how you balance art and commerce. Right. Because, uh, you know, some people, some people believe that art has no value if you can't make a living off of it. Of course. I, I don't agree with that. I think art has value just because it's art. But if you want to make a living out of off of it, then there are things you have to do to approach it differently. So, uh, for you as a creative person who's making a living in what you do mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, I don't know, what are your thoughts about how to balance that for people?
Derrick Hodge (00:41:09):
Yeah. You know, for me, uh, I realized early that part of what speaks to people, it with my art mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, is, is coming from a place where I, I, I thought everything I created was from an honest place, but sometimes very, very vulnerable moments where I'm creating. And oftentimes those are the moments that people respond to over the years to come. And, uh, because of that, I knew that was part of my creative purpose. Okay. I have to keep feeding that. And because of that, I knew in order for me to tap from that space, I have to work with blinders on at times where I'm really focused on just giving something honest to the world mm-hmm. <affirmative> and then see where we go from there. Knowing that I've been afford afforded the opportunity to be in the music business Yeah. To sustain myself and to now have a family, you have no choice but to think about for that other side.
Right. You know, why you're being unapologetically yourself and being creative, you know, life is happening. Right. Uh, so for me it was a decision. How am I going to choose to be unapologetically in the moment yet acknowledge and move in this business itself? And I chose to do both. Hmm. You know, and for me, that answer was okay, make sure I understand about writing and, you know, writing as much as possible, uh, you know, owning with as much as you can. Yeah. Uh, but a big thing, writing and understanding on the performance side, the music business is, it's, it's a people business. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, so oftentimes if you start by just not working to be, you know, graded at what you do, but also not burning bridges. Right. <laugh> be surprised. That is actually one in the music business. That is one of the greatest tools that anybody, you know, can have mm-hmm.
<affirmative> right now. And I don't mean, you know, sucking up the people and all that stuff. No. I just mean, you know, be your true self, but also work within this business with a certain empathy and a, a certain level of respect for any situation. Mm-hmm. You're in. I chose to honor each situation. A lot of financial breakthroughs that happened for me came from moments where I wasn't even thinking about the money. It was just about, you know, creating a product Hmm. And valuing a relationship, you know, and things worked out financially from that. So how do I honor Okay. From my journey, it was really, you know, relationship based. Yeah. How do I keep that in value that, and make sure I'm owning as much of the situation that I can, and then see where that takes me and ownership for me and the writing side of it.
That's kind of been, you know, the thing that has allowed me to be able to still give the time, you know? Yeah. To write and think, you know, and approach things in a very fearless way where I'm not necessarily, where I'm not chasing. Right. Mainly what's like happening around me, you know, in a way, allowing that all to inform my decision because those, that's the world we're in, you know, but not allowing that to just affect my art and my creative. Yeah. It's been that balance of, okay. And meanwhile let me write and make sure, you know, own as much as I can, and I give love. We started just talking about the Marcus Millers mm-hmm. <affirmative> and the Terrance Blanchards. Yeah. Uh, those were things that I saw early with them. Terrence Blanchard, you couldn't even be in his band and write, you know, he and his, his wife who was his manager at the time, uh, you know, Robin Burgess, they made sure like, no, you got a hundred percent writers of anything you did, huh?
They helped me get my publishing administrative set up my publishing all together. Yeah. When I didn't even know yet all the way what I needed to be working on, you know? Yeah. So, uh, I'm thankful that people were helping, you know, putting me on game in that way. Yeah. Too. But I would say the first thing, try to own what you can, and the, the beauty of it is creatives now, they have so many ways of creating. They don't have, they, they can, you know, work with different people now, but really you can start creating now. Yeah. You don't have to split all this stuff because, you know, you just wanted to get into a certain studio to work with somebody. Right. No, you can record right. On your laptop, you, you know, while you're on a plane. Right. All this stuff. So I would say, uh, never think it's too early to start registering as much as music that you have.
Oh. Documenting it if you like, I keep mentioning voice memos, but all, all these ways of documenting ideas you have that's actually documenting ideas and timestamping it. Hmm. Don't be afraid to do that. Uh, for instrumentalists, the biggest thing I say, uh, don't burn the bridge. It, it kind of works in reverse. I've seen many once, once they get the golden opportunity, they blow it by not necessarily understanding fully, uh, what is perceived as their value financially in the market. Right. So they ask for something that they're unaware, that many aren't even getting, oh. You know, so then they show the ignorance there. Right. And then go off on people and then burn a bridge to that. I've seen that and understanding as a people business and maneuvering and not blowing and wasting your money. I think for me, that was the biggest thing. I stopped wasting much, like spending money on all kind of things here and there, or the flash of things.
Oh, yeah. I decided instead, you know, to invest in my N pc. Right. You know, and get my laptops and get my, you know, mic pre and spend all this money on all that stuff. When others were saying, you know, Hey, look man, <laugh>, I gotta look a certain way. Right. I understand that too. But I decided to just keep investing so I could feed that curiosity. Right. Which for me was film scoring. Yeah. And that ended up being some of the best investments, so that when the, when they said, Hey, d, I see you hustling. I'm putting you on your first film this week. Nice. I'm like, oh, I have my laptop here. Right. I'm not my, I have my Mac G five at the time here, and I'm willing to create. And that started with an investment into yourself. So I, I tell people, no matter what they're doing, oftentimes be willing to invest in themselves early and be fr like start with something that is very, so don't be afraid to work.
Yeah. Don't be afraid to take a job. Some of the greatest creators that are living, if you go back in their story, they had jobs, they did this and that. Right. Like, be willing by any means necessary to do what you feel like you need to do to feed that curiosity. And that sometimes requires thinking outside the box, not thinking you're a failure because you're not making 100% of your money from the music business. Right. That may come, but be willing to see yourself as an entity where, you know, something else can fuel that something else that you're doing, an investment that you're doing, learning about money and an investment that could end up fueling your music, where you can make unapologetic decisions later in the music business. Yeah. So be willing to think in those ways. Not necessarily how do I make the most money by charging the most from one specific thing.
R. Alan Brooks (00:48:30):
This is great, man. Yeah, man. Uh, you know, so I've only been writing like five or six years and, um, figuring out these things. It's a really interesting thing to so many, uh, people that I talk to who have, uh, who are creatives in any arena. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, there's a, I find like one of the biggest problems is not knowing what exactly you want, like not having a clear goal.
Derrick Hodge (00:48:52):
R. Alan Brooks (00:48:53):
Like what is success for you, you know? Yeah. Like, as a writer, is success for you getting published by a major publisher, or is it making a living? 'cause those are not always the same thing. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, and so like the stuff you're talking about where like, 'cause you know, some people do music because of the flash. They want the attention and stuff like that. You're talking about investing in your equipment. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, investing in the things that will allow you to sustain the business of music. And because your goal was to make music.
Derrick Hodge (00:49:20):
That was my Yeah. Yeah. The way that I like making music. Yes,
R. Alan Brooks (00:49:23):
Yes. Right. In a way that was like whole and true to you. Yes. And so I think, like, uh, what I hear in what you're saying is that it's very important to identify what represents a certain level of success for you, and then make decisions that guide you towards that. Absolutely. And then once you reach that, there's another one, like, you know, there's, there's not like a, like a, you've reached it, it's not like a you're finished, you know? Yeah. It's a whole life journey.
Derrick Hodge (00:49:48):
Yeah. And, and I gotta say, you, you mentioned something that I failed to say. That's been one of the biggest things for me that I thought, I'm putting pride aside. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> I thought didn't make much of a difference. And I thought in my mind things were clear. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I thought in my mind, you know, given goals in a certain moment I thought it was clear. Yeah. But I was encouraged, like, d stop talking about it. Write it down. Ah,
Write something down. Like, like I'm speaking about speaking things to voice. For me it was, I, I, listen, I started to listen. Like, lemme just write these ideas down. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> like thoughts that where I feel like am now what do I want to do? Write it. What, what I think is so clear. When I wrote it out, it was like, huh. It first of all, it, it made it real how I saw my reality. Yeah. And it made it real. How unclear in certain ways what I wanted to happen. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, was, and it was like, oh, man, writing it down helped me so much. Hmm. <laugh>. Yeah. So I encouraged, like, it doesn't even matter the extent, just start by being willing to write down what you think you want to do. Yeah. And where you think you want to go. What you think are your obstacles, what you think are things that are already working for you. Who are the people in your life that can help you get to that. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, all write things down. I like that. That's a, that's a,
R. Alan Brooks (00:51:18):
Yeah. 'cause I feel like when it's in your, your emotions, in your mind, it's like trying to grab water. Right. Like, man, it's, it's so formless. But when you put it down, it becomes a tangible thing that you can evaluate and be like, is this realistic? How can I make it realistic? You know, like all the stuff you just talked
Derrick Hodge (00:51:33):
About. Yeah. And even sometimes once writing it down, seeing, oh man, okay. That's part of who I am too. Writing something down, it doesn't feel realistic. Yeah. But I'm not erasing it. Right. I'm gonna see what, you know. Nice. And that too. Yeah. But it took me writing it down to help me not be scatterbrained and Right. You know, all of a sudden now and I, that that idea's gone. I didn't realize it was gone. Right. I forgot I even had that idea in the first place for me. So many things changed when I, I wrote things. Yeah. I started writing things down.
R. Alan Brooks (00:52:04):
Yeah. Okay, brother. So you, uh, multiple tours, multiple albums, uh, movie TV scores. What do, what's next for you? Like where you, where you want to go?
Derrick Hodge (00:52:15):
Man, I'm thankful right now for all, for all that has, has happened. Um, I feel like that's, it's all led to a space now to just feed in a very clear way that my life is about giving Yeah. And making sure I'm, I'm providing an environment and a platform for other creatives Ah, to be fearless. Yeah. And be free and be themselves. And, uh, movement now with Color of Noise, which was the name of my last album. Okay. Which is also reflecting this movement attached to everything that I'm doing, which is about acceptance of self and self-love, and allowing what you think of yourself and whatever people think of you. Like, throw that all into a melting pot and just allow opinions to be and just be and move. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>
Color of Noise mainly though is about me not just speaking it, making sure any opportunity that I have, I'm now outreaching and making sure those that want to be a part of it know that they can be fearless Yeah. And work on whatever they want to do within that frame. So I'm excited. I have a Color of Noise tour going through August when I'm, you know, touring with the band. Some of the musicians on the record, color of Noise. I had just met 10 minutes before we recorded. Wow. You know? Uh, which was really about that spirit of self-love and acceptance. Yeah. So we, you know, we've been touring that, not just speaking about it and having a cool album, but making sure the members of the band reflect that acceptance, self-love. Yeah. What they have to say. And that whole album was done in first takes.
Oh, okay. You know, so putting that all out there, I'm trying to, you know, really honor that. So with the Color of Noise Orchestra that we're putting together right now, um, it's all in a a, an attempt to reflect all that. So we we're gonna have performances going starting in 2024. You know, I'm thankful to be, have been working with a lot of symphonies, you know, over the years. Yeah. But now, uh, aside with continuing to do that, this Color of Noise platform musicians will be able to come work with me, play my music, and perform with different artists, do recordings with me. Yeah. Um, and we're now working on actually having a tangible space Huh. Where I can actually work on my music. People can watch be a part, huh. Uh, outside of the music school system. Like, I want to actually be an environment for them all to be able to come and be free. We teach, and then I also spend as an hour a date even just listening Yeah. To ideas that people have. So I want people to look out for that. Everything is just connected to Color of Noise. Yeah. That brand, that idea. So
R. Alan Brooks (00:54:45):
I gotta say, man, hearing your life's journey mm-hmm. <affirmative>, the color noise feels like a natural evolution of everything that you've been doing in your life. You know, like that that thing about, like, I keep saying, being gentle with yourself, you're saying self-acceptance. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> that, that thing of being curious and being like open and giving and feeding it. Yeah. It feels like it all has led to this. So that's really dope to hear that this all kind of come together in this dope
Derrick Hodge (00:55:09):
Way. Yeah. Thank you. Thank you. And like I was saying that, that I feel like it's not about coincidence. Like if it was a plan that I, I, I can't honestly say the steps that have happened and certain things that have happened, you know, um, that have gained attention. The timing of it was not something that I always planned for. Yeah. You know? But I think about the opportunities that happened within it. Oh. It wasn't just about that. It was also showing up early and realizing there was somebody there Yeah. That had been waiting to just let me hear something they're working on for 10 minutes. Right. You know what I mean? Right. And then that song ends up two years later Yeah. Being picked up and people listen to it on the radio all the time, you know? Right. Because of that and realizing that was part of my story. Yeah. You know, somebody had to reach back and put me on my first tour when I was in college. I feel like it's all led to this moment, you know, to not just first, first tour
R. Alan Brooks (00:56:03):
When you were 12.
Derrick Hodge (00:56:04):
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. It, it, it's crazy. It's, it's, so, I feel like this is the natural evolution. I'm glad it's coming across that way. 'cause from here on out, man, it's about feeding that. Yeah. Yeah.
R. Alan Brooks (00:56:15):
Uh, on a side note, what brought you out west?
Derrick Hodge (00:56:18):
My wife is from Denver. Oh, okay. Yeah, man. So we were in la we had our child and no family. Yeah. Said, let's, I was flying her here every time. Right. Like, I went on tour and, uh, we said, let's try it. Yeah. And I'm so glad, man, we moved here. I've been here, uh, eight years now. Okay.
R. Alan Brooks (00:56:35):
Derrick Hodge (00:56:36):
And I love it, man. Yeah. Denver's cool. Everybody's chill, you
R. Alan Brooks (00:56:39):
Know? Same. That's how I feel. Yeah. Yeah. Like, I feel like it's not the place to go. Like if I needed cultural validation Yeah. <laugh>, but I grew up in a all black city, you know? Same. Yeah. But yeah. But what I love is, uh, that it, the art scene, all the art scenes mm-hmm. <affirmative>, they're all very supportive, like different cliques. They all show up and support each other. Yeah. It's a beautiful place to be creative.
Derrick Hodge (00:56:58):
And I'm discovering that actually now. Yeah. I'm discovering that more and more now. And even the underlying, like the, the cultural thing, there are a lot of, you know, transplants that are here. Yeah. And when I actually get, even knowing people and getting, knowing people in the neighborhood, it's like, okay, a lot of people are here that want that. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But there is sometimes everybody is kind of spaced out, you know? That's definitely true. You might not even know your neighbor. Right. You know, is connected to all this stuff. Yeah. So, I, I'm excited and I'm excited for even platforms like this to speak about it. 'cause I, to see where we can go with color of noise here and galvanizing, you know, so many and just opening their eyes, Hey, there is a platform where people can just come an environment. People can just come and be Yeah. Them if they want to come and just do art while I'm in the next room working on something. Yeah. They can do art all day. And if that leads to conversation, it's the creative. And then we go from there. That's how, you know, true cultural moments happen. Yeah. So I'm excited for that. I, I see an opportunity here in Denver at the same time. 'cause on the surface it does seem like that the cultural thing might be lacking, but I think there's promise there word.
R. Alan Brooks (00:58:06):
Yeah. Huh. All right. So I'd like to wrap up with, uh, two questions. The first is, where can people find you connect with you online, website, whatever.
Derrick Hodge (00:58:16):
Absolutely. People can find me on d hodge.com.
R. Alan Brooks (00:58:20):
Right on. Um,
Derrick Hodge (00:58:21):
Uh, social media handles. IG is just D Hodge world. Uh, Twitter, Dara Hodge, Facebook official, DAC Hodge. Nice. And, uh, you know, any one of those platforms, they can kind of just join on dope and just be a part of my journey. Okay. Definitely being clear with everything we have going on in the future, and I'm excited about it.
R. Alan Brooks (00:58:40):
Yeah, man. It sounds, I'm excited about it, honestly. It sounds dope. Thank
Derrick Hodge (00:58:43):
R. Alan Brooks (00:58:44):
Uh, last question is, what is inspiring you creatively these days? Music, books, movies? Like what, what have you been digging? What has been feeding you?
Derrick Hodge (00:58:53):
What's been feeding me now is just the, the cultural moments that I've had an opportunity to be involved with, with over the last two years. And really choosing to just feed that and figuring out ways to just feed that no matter what. Yeah. You know, with last year in particular, you know, with the Oscars and the Grammys and Yeah. Bowl and all that stuff, I so thankful Right. In Colorado, um, realizing that, that that's going out into the world like that, it's just pushed me to just pursue this color of noise thing and make sure that people all the way know that's happening and that things aren't necessarily happening in the biggest studio at la. Like, you see, like, it's all reflected to my story. Yeah. Self-acceptance. You can write this stuff while in the coffee shop. Right. You know? Um, and I felt like I just wasn't doing enough to make that clear. Like, the way ideas have happen that people are celebrating, no, it's happening in a very modest way. So now it's just, okay, how do I make sure that's clear? Hmm. How do I create more moments, you know, to make sure that people are seeing my process and how I'm doing it.
R. Alan Brooks (01:00:05):
Yeah. No, I love it. Feels like you're creating an environment for more creativity to take place. Absolutely. It feels like that's like where, like the Harlem Renaissance came from or like, man, any movement where there's a group of people, like even the beat poets, right? Like, it's a group of people who find a, an environment where they can be creative together and then something beautiful grows out of
Derrick Hodge (01:00:23):
R. Alan Brooks (01:00:23):
And it feels like you're sowing the seeds for that, which is really
Derrick Hodge (01:00:26):
Dope. Oh, man, listen, I'm, I'm putting to test, man. We, we brothers, now I'm, I'm gonna bug you <laugh>, we gonna get together, you know? But I feel like I'm glad it's coming across that way, because that's the hope. Yeah. Just to make sure people know that these moments that they're celebrating, I appreciate it and likes and all that, but in reality I wanna support and make sure they know Okay. How it happened. Yeah,
R. Alan Brooks (01:00:48):
Derrick Hodge (01:00:49):
How it happened. Right on. Yeah.
R. Alan Brooks (01:00:51):
I think that's where we're gonna end, brother. I'm excited. Hey, I really appreciate you talking to me. It's been a really dope conversation, man.
Derrick Hodge (01:00:57):
Oh man. Thank you. Thanks for having me, man. Right on. I appreciate you.
R. Alan Brooks (01:01:00):
Alright. Special thank you to today's guest, Derrick Hodge. Thank you. To the listeners, if you're not already, please be sure to subscribe to How Art is Born, wherever you get your podcast, for more episodes. And if you can leave a review, it really helps out. Check out M C a Denver on YouTube and subscribe to the channel to watch the video version of this podcast and get behind the scenes clips from today's episode. Visit m c Denver's current exhibitions Tomasi Jackson, across the universe in Anna Sue Larkins Indigenous Absurdities. How Art Is Born, is produced and edited by Daley Johnson and executive produced by Courtney Law. Additional thanks to Rachel gr for their work on marketing support for this episode.