May 29, 2024

Anna Azarov Photography

Hi Avatari! Thanks for being here today!

My pleasure thanks for having me! 

What was the single best thing that happened this past year?

There were two amazing things that happened to me this year. 1) Because of the pandemic and the stay at home order, I got to slow down and be with my family. This was really important for me because my son was two years old (now he’s three). So I got to be present for this amazing time in his life and his development. He’s learning to talk, to play, to imagine. His sense of humor is kicking in. And I got to witness all of it. If I were on the road, I might’ve missed out on most of it. And 2) also because of the pandemic, and not being able to play live gigs or tour, I was forced to change my marketing strategy. I focused all of my efforts on connecting with my fans and nurturing my audience online. Basically, I updated my business model to the twenty-first century! It’s been a godsend. I was able to pivot successfully and I feel like I’m a better artist today, and better able to serve my fans than I was pre-pandemic. So in spite of all of the tragedy and the destruction the pandemic has inflicted, there have been a couple of very powerful silver linings for my family, and for me personally, which I don’t want to lose sight of.

What was the single most challenging thing that happened this past year? 

Again, there were two things that happened this year that have made 2020 one of the most (if not the most) challenging years of my life. My family lost two beautiful members. Both unrelated to covid. My Uncle Tommy passed away. He was more than just an Uncle to me. He lived with my mom, dad, sister, and me while we were growing up. So he’s been there all of my life. Almost like a second dad. And he was larger than life, and possibly the most forceful supporter of me and my music. He’s someone that would call up MTV and say “you’ve gotta listen to this song, it’s great” and he would actually get someone to listen. It used to embarrass me, and now I just think – wow I’m so lucky to have had someone like that. He fought pancreatic cancer all year – fiercely, valiantly – and he surrendered at the end of September. 

We also lost Sue, my mother-in-law. An amazing, kind, spiritual woman. She was a teacher in her youth and she taught my wife to read before she was in preschool. She passed suddenly, and this was especially difficult because she was in the UK and my wife was not able to get back in time to see her before she passed away. Watching my wife go through the grief of losing her mother has been heartbreaking. 

But again, there’s been a silver lining amidst all of this pain. And that is – my wife and I have been able to go through this together, and that is so powerful. Each of us losing one of the most important figures in our lives has brought us closer. In the same way, I believe, going through the pandemic together (as a human race) can bring us closer together. It’s a shared experience that can make us stronger, wiser, and more connected once everything is said and done.

What is the biggest thing you learned this past year?

That life is precious and short. So do what you love, with all of your heart. And that even amidst the most tragic events, there are silver linings. It’s up to me to find and embrace them.  

What would you try if you knew you could not fail?

At first, I wanted to say – being a musician. Haha. Then an image popped into my head of being in a plane getting ready to jump out of it. So maybe skydiving? (I’ve always wanted to fly. Like actually fly.)  I think the connector is that I believe it’s so important to live your dreams. I’ve been lucky enough to know exactly what I wanted to do with my life and to do it. I was at Harvard University, on a path to Wall Street. And I discovered that that was not my dream. So I changed courses and moved to Los Angeles to pursue my true passion. It’s been a bumpy road, but I can go to sleep at night knowing that I’m doing what I love and living my dreams.

What brings you the most joy and how are you going to do more of that this next year?

Two things: 1) spending time with my family. Being with my wife and son. We went to the beach yesterday (we’re lucky enough to live in Southern California and we can have a beach day in December). And it was one of the most fun, relaxing days of my life. Just playing in the sand and chasing a three-year-old around. I highly suggest it! 

And 2) PLAYING MUSIC. Writing songs, recording songs, and playing LIVE. In 2020 I was focused on marketing myself and connecting with my fans on social media. It’s actually been a blast and I’ve learned so much. In 2021 I’m going to release a ton of new music. I’m really excited about that. I have ten songs that I recorded pre-pandemic which I’m going to release over the next year. I’m also excited to write a bunch of new music. I have all of this new inspiration from the joys and heartbreak of the last year which I’m excited to tap into and express. And, like most artists, I can’t wait to play live again. I think there’s going to be a live music renaissance when this pandemic passes. I can’t wait to be a part of it! 

What activities would you like to add to your routine to help you manage stress this year?

I picked up an amazing book/routine over the last few months. It’s called The Morning Miracle. Basically, it has me waking up at 5 am (I know I know, and I’ve never been a morning person either, but I’m starting to become one). And before the world wakes up, I do five activities to start my day – meditate, say affirmations, visualize my perfect life, read something inspirational, and exercise. I’ve only been doing this for a couple of months, but I’ve gotta say, I feel like a new man. I’d like to keep doing this.

What advice would you like to give yourself as you go into the New Year?

Don’t forget to take a moment to slow down. Each day. To smell the flowers. And to tell the ones you love how much you appreciate them, and how much they mean to you.

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Thank you for your time!

Thank you! It’s been a pleasure! 

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