Unconventional Genius sets out to broadcast influential ideas and progressive business stories through the minds and voices of some of the most prolific names in the tech, CE, publishing, and professional world. Max Borges, Founder & CEO of Max Borges Agency, speaks with industry leaders to unveil motivational narratives on how they found success. Listeners can anticipate learning business tips and tricks relevant to their own professions and life goals, while also having the chance to witness how most stories of triumph are truly “unconventional.”
Roger Joseph Manning, JR. Songwriter and Musician on The Creative Process Behind Timeless Music
It is quite common these days to hear people talking about the creative process. Anyone from graphic designers to app designers legitimately use the phrase to describe what it takes to be successful at what they do. But a long-time area of fascination for me has been the creative process that goes into making timeless music. And when that process is done in the context of a group of people - a band - it’s nothing short of amazing.
I’m immensely honored to be able to present you with this conversation I recorded with Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. formerly of the bands Jellyfish and Imperial Drag. He’s been one of the songwriters I’ve respected the most and I was thrilled to have this chat with him. You’ll hear Roger describe what’s going on under the surface of the creative process for most artists as well as his description of the path he’s walked to become an in-demand musician who’s requested to play on albums for well-known artists and unknown hopefuls alike.
Topics Featured In This Episode
[2:31] The first instrument Roger learned to play - from pots and pans to today [5:18] Hearing all kinds of music and expanding his musical horizons [9:10] Roger’s first jazz lessons and instruction [11:51] Trying to write a song and the drive to become a better songwriter [16:35] Roger’s self-education in experimenting with musical palettes (arranging) [24:40] Did Roger know he was creating something special on past albums? [36:40] The pain behind the creative process for many artists, including him [46:55] Artists Roger would love to play with Writing songs that endure: The goal of every songwriter
When Roger speaks about songwriting, his eyes instantly light up. You can tell that it’s a topic that still captivates him 30 years after the formation of his first band, Jellyfish. As he recounts the first time he tried to write an original song of his own, he admits that it was amateur and awful. He was embarrassed even to ask for constructive criticism. But that didn’t deter him from trying again. Something inside told him that he’d have to fail a lot to find success, and he was willing to put in his reps.
Fast forward to today and the music he created with his Jellyfish bandmates are some of the most timeless songs I know. The heart and soul of the music and the way it connects with the human condition are testaments to the benefit of all those years of hard work. In this conversation, Roger shares openly about his journey into music across the years, and to a deeper knowledge of himself as an artist and a human being. I hope you take the time to listen.
What do AC/DC and the Beatles have in common? Outstanding musical arrangements
One of the most fascinating parts of the conversation I had with Roger about his creative process had to do with the issue of arranging. You’ll hear me bring up AC/DC as an example of straightforward rock and roll, and the comment set Roger up to educate me on the intricacies and nuances of arranging songs in ways that connect with listeners on a deep level. We walk through the styles of the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, and more as Roger uncovers the details behind what makes a song truly good. It was a delightful journey I’d go on again anytime.
At the time, did Roger realize he was making timeless music?
Roger is quick to say that during the creative process you never know if what you’re after is even going to materialize, much less whether or not it’s going to become one of those timeless melodies that connect with people across generations (Think, “Yesterday” by the Beatles). It’s a process of discovery, one that takes the songwriter and artists as much by surprise as it does anyone else.
But he also says that sometimes, after you’ve finished a song project, you just know it’s right, it’s the way it’s supposed to be. There’s a sens
Nate Kelly, Stress Relief Products To Prevent Stress In The First Place
Nate Kelly leads the team at Adero - a company that has created a technology solution that organizes your things so you can save time, reduce stress, and simplify your busy life. It sounds too good to be true, but once you hear how it works you’ll wonder why someone hasn’t created it before now. Listen to learn more about Adero and to hear how Nate’s path has formed him into the exact leader needed in order to make it happen.
Beth Comstock, Vice Chair at General Electric on Courage, Creativity, and the Power of Change
My guest on this episode of Unconventional Genius is Beth Comstock. She’s one of the most powerful women in the business world right now and has recently released an amazing book that recounts her transformation from a shy publicist to the first woman Vice-Chair at General Electric.
Andrew Yang, 2020 Presidential Candidate, on The Freedom Dividend and the Future of America
On this episode of Unconventional Genius, I talk with Andrew Yang about The Freedom Dividend and the future of America. Andrew is an entrepreneur, author, and founder of Venture for America, a national entrepreneurship fellowship that has helped create over 3,000 jobs in major cities across the United States.
Inbal Etgar, Creative Director at frog Design, on The Importance of Design
The Unconventional Genius podcast welcomes guest Inbal Etgar, Creative Director at frog Design, to discuss the importance of design. Inbal leads the product development team of mechanical engineers and industrial designers at frog, which has been in business for over 50 years. During our conversation, Inbal talks about her role at frog, how they help companies succeed and what she sees for the future of design.
Stuart Lombard, Founder and CEO of Ecobee, on Becoming the Smart Thermostat Leader
This week on Unconventional Genius, I talk with Stuart Lombard, Founder and CEO of Ecobee about how he led his company to overcome adversity to become the smart thermostat leader. Even what sometimes seems like a victory in business can sometimes turn in to an unexpected setback..
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As an aspiring entrepreneur, I love listening to other leaders in the tech industry about how they made it. Not only do I learn about a new company or a facet of the company’s history I didn’t previously know every time, but it’s also so entertaining