We had the good fortune of connecting with DZIRAE GOLD and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi DZIRAE, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
During my earlier years in life, I believe I had a relatively healthy work/life balance. When I think back to grade school, high school, and college, I knew how to have fun and still get my work done. The part that became unhealthy for me back then was the competition of it all. Rather than just focusing on learning the content I needed for life, my main goal was to get the best grades and to give the best performance compared to my peers. And as long as my closest competitors weren’t out performing me, I could rest easy and live a healthy, balanced life. However once I entered the work force, I realized I was working for people who would expect more of my time and energy than I was willing to give to their causes. I struggled with all of my career employers on this issue, because I value a healthy balance between work and life more than I think many members of the older generations do. I am an artist through and through; I refuse to be overworked and undervalued. I believe this is a growing sentiment among my generation. It was actually for this reason that I decided to take the leap and work exclusively for myself. What’s interesting is that I find myself more willing to spend extra time on projects now than I ever did in the past. And I think that’s partially due to the drive that comes from relying on my own business for income, and also due to the passion that I now have for my work. But unfortunately, no matter how passionate I am about a project, I am not immune to burnouts. I’ve had to learn this the hard way. If I overbook or overwork myself I will suffer from lack of motivation and focus. But if I set clear and achievable goals with necessary downtime worked in, I can’t fail! Ultimately, I know different humans operate differently, but I’ve learned that to achieve a healthy balance for myself, I must listen to my mind and body so as not to force inspiration where there is none.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have a local band that is currently just me (on vocals and keys) and a drummer. We’re very proud of the sound we’ve discovered together so far. I like to describe our music as modern soul and jazz. I play pop-like keys, with a very rich and jazzy vocal tone on more soulful melodies, and my drummer tends towards pop and blues. The journey here has not been easy, and it’s still not smooth sailing all the time. We released an album under our former name and style and it simply wasn’t right. It actually took a great deal of trial and error. I know many artists go through these self-discovery phases, so I’m certainly not embarrassed of our previous sounds and styles, but I’m grateful for the growth. We’ve finally locked in on what shows off our strengths and makes us unique. One thing I am most proud of, and that I believe sets me apart from most musicians today, is that I received classical musical training. I actually have a bachelors degree in vocal (opera) performance. That alone presented challenges and a separate learning curve. I spent many years of my life singing without a microphone and learning to project (there’s a different type of nuance involved with microphones and it took me a couple years to really figure out how to work a mic and allow it to help serve in a performance), but it also presented several advantages. I learned excellent vocal control and advanced music theory, both of which I still use ( and sometimes don’t use) to this day. You know what they say: “You’ve gotta learn the rules to break them.” So anyway, it feels like it’s been a long journey to now, but every step has helped me turn my sound into something I take pride in.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
First things first, breakfast has to be at Denver Biscuit Company. I don’t let anyone come to Denver for the first time without trying DBC’s cinnamon rolls and mushroom gravy (separately of course). We’d also take a full day to walk through/bar hop RiNo, I never get tired of taking in the street art and visiting my favorite coffee shops and breweries over there! If you haven’t been to Lekker for coffee yet, it’s a must! The owners are the sweetest mom/daughter duo I’ve ever met. We’re obviously going to Union Station at some point. I absolutely love eating and drinking at the Terminal Bar and The Cooper Lounge, and I like to show off that space because The Crawford Hotel has hired me to play in Union Station at least a half dozen times this past year. It’s a fun space to play. The acoustics are amazing and the patrons are always interesting and entertaining to engage with! Finally, I personally have a deep appreciation for rivers and creeks, so we’d likely spend a good portion of time at Centennial and then walk along the river to Larimer Square, which is just a dream at sunset as the lights turn on. I also really like the resale shop on the corner, Garage Sale. It’s almost too groovy inside AND they have a bar! The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many people that have helped me get to where I am today. One of my music group’s first opportunities came from a Denver food truck called Uptown & Humboldt. It’s run by these two amazing men, Gio and Hayden, that I’m so proud to call friends now. They value the arts and the local art scene deeply and are great about collaborating and building up other businesses. Not to mention they make life-changing food! They gave us so many opportunities to play that led to a plethora of other opportunities to perform, network, and gain fans, so I am infinitely grateful to them.
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