We had the good fortune of connecting with Neil Sullivan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Neil, why did you pursue a creative career?
My choice to pursue a career as a musician stemmed from my desire to live a meaningful life. I was born in Concord, Massachusetts about three miles from the site of Henry David Thoreau’s cabin on Walden Pond. As a young musician finding catharsis and purpose within my craft, his words emboldened me. “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived…” The place I grew up in had an overwhelming culture of pressure to succeed and to achieve status. For me, music became the bridge between my inner and outer worlds. I knew dedicating myself to my art form would lead me on a path pure of heart, aligned with the Thoreau-inspired vision I believed in: to be bold and true. At the same time I believed that it was a calling that could also reconcile the pressure to be successful, as long as I worked hard enough at my goal. The choice to follow this path has enriched my life greatly, offered me a wealth of experience, and has affirmed another of my Thoreau mantras, ““If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours…”
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
At this point in my life, music continues to be a lifeline. I often feel like a fish out of water, or better yet a human being dropped into the middle of the ocean. Music has always helped me make sense of my experience by giving me a creative outlet. Through being a performer I learned that by sharing the most honest, personal, and emotional sides of myself I can be most deeply received. That realization both allowed me to feel empowered to be closer to myself, but also to be open and vulnerable with others. Music taught me the strength in softness.
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.
Backcountry skiing/snowboarding at Hidden Valley in Rocky Mountain National Park… Fox Theatre, Boulder Theatre, Caribou Room, Red Rocks! Valley View Hotspring! Orvis Hotspring!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Jonny Jyemo – A good friend, and one of the nicest and baddest drummers on planet earth. One of my closest brothers. Jyemo is the leader of the mighty ‘Jyemo Club’ … a 10 piece explosion of a band fusing latin dance music with reggae, rock, and the rest. “It’s time for every style get used to it”, as Jonny would say. I am deeply grateful to this man for his supporting all of my original music over the years as a drummer and over-all musical partner, and for him including me in his epic band. I thank Jonny Jyemo for some of my best musical experiences, including playing on stage with him at Red Rocks in 2017. Chris Wright – A truly dedicated master of his craft, as talented as he is kind and generous. Chris is the owner of Violet Recording, an amazing studio in Boulder, CO where I have had the pleasure to work on many occasions. Chris has been a great mentor offering me opportunities to contribute musically to ongoing projects and learn along the way. Most importantly Chris has helped me bring my own music to life with his expertise and passion for his work.
Photographer: Edie Angela Fuertes