We had the good fortune of connecting with Jay Stott and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jay, what’s the most important lesson your business/career has taught you?
Just don’t quit. As a songwriter and performing artist there a lot of ‘two steps forward and one step back.’ The main thing I focus on is just to keep going. You get a lot of nos. A lot. I have found that right at the moment I started to really think about giving up, I’d finally get a yes of some sort. In the in-betweens often the creative process is sustaining, so I try to focus on that. I love rehearsing with my band, or learning new songs, or writing new songs. SO I try to stay focused on those things and just keep going.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a performing artist/songwriter. It took a long time to figure out how to be a songwriter- I had done lots of different types of writing: journalism, essaying, fiction writing. I was always some sort of writer, and always wanted to write songs, but it was always a battle. When I was about 40, everything that I had learned from all the different types of writing seemed to coalesce, and suddenly, songs started coming out much more easily. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, but I had learned how to just do the work, and worry less. That means accepting that a lot of what you write will suck. But you just keep writing, and sometimes what you write is good! Along the way, I learned a lot about craft, which helps me to move away from suckiness a little quicker.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well, that’s the joy of living in Colorado. I would take them to a show at Red Rocks, any show. I would take them up to Rocky Mountain National Park- driving Trail Ridge Road is one of the most scenic things to do in America. We would go to the Carousel of Happiness in Nederland and ride a few times around on a flying pig. Then get a coffee at the train car next door. If they are beer people, we would go to some of the awesome breweries on the Northern Front Range, and if they fish, I would take them fishing at some of my favorite spots- the Arkansas, or the Poudre.
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?
The community of Song School, held every year before the Folks Festival here in Lyons at Planet Bluegrass. It’s a multi-day campout, hangout, classes, late night jam session, good time. I’ve learned so much in my 10 year association with Song School- made some awesome friends, and felt like I knew I was part of a ‘tribe.’ Being creative can be a lonely and confusing way to live, the folks at Song School have helped me find my place and learn to navigate the creative world.
Other: Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/7soPnDGNGrtZjSpofrCIRI Please credit photos to Courtney Nicholsen-Paine http://www.thewildernessgems.com/