Jerad Finck

Washington native Jerad Finck is my kind of singer/songwriter – the kind who knows how to write a song for the sports fan! As a lifelong homer (Go O’s and Ravens), I’m bound to hear Finck’s sound over and over considering his hit “Goodbye” is a tune of choice over at ESPN. The song has been a part of coverage for the US Open, Major League Baseball and will act as the official theme song for their “Year In Review” 2010 edition! Nice!

Aside from Jerad’s work with ESPN, the guy has more in his impressive body of work including the 2007 record, “The Bird has Flown” and his more recent self-titled collection. We asked the indie artist to tell us more about his sound: “My sound is really a mix of a lot of genres, but I mainly fit nicely into the pop/rock club with a singer/songwriter heart. I think above anything else, what stands out is the sincerity and truth to the music. The mainstream audience is so inundated with over-processed manufactured music, that a lot of them have become calloused and uninterested. I try to bring something real, and something with depth, to captivate the listener with experiences that we can all relate to.”

If you’re looking to catch a live Jerad Finck show, you’re in luck. The guy has completed three national tours across 46 states and over 50,000 miles on the road. Check out his schedule on his web site and keep reading – there’s more to learn in the XXQ’s.

XXQs: Jerad Finck (PEV): How would you describe your sound and what do you feel makes you stand out over the others in your genre?

Jerad Finck (JF):  My sound is really a mix of a lot of genre's, but I mainly fit nicely into the pop/rock club with a singer/songwriter heart.  I think above anything else, what stands out is the sincerity and truth to the music.  The mainstream audience is so inundated with over-processed manufactured music, that a lot of them have become calloused and uninterested.  I try to bring something real, and something with depth, to captivate the listener with experiences that we can all relate to.  There is something to be said in being delicately complex.

PEV: Calling Spokane, Washington home, what kind of music where you into growing up? Was anyone your main influence?

JF:  I spent most of my childhood going between Spokane, and my family's farm in Odessa, Washington.  So, the first influences I really remember was a whole lot of country.  Even now, I appreciate the songwriting and craftsmanship that comes out of Nashville.  After that I really got into Jazz, and played a lot of it. Really though, my heart has always been in "that" sound which I found when I began listening to The Beatles.  

PEV: Having played in the business for a good time now, what was it like for you when you first started out?

JF:  I think the main thing that has changed is the overall approach.  I remember when I was just starting and couldn't wait to be found in my Garage by a major label and whisked away to the big time.  That of course never happened, and today, the industry is evolving into a DIY type of exchange. I've been in this business for awhile now, and that is mainly because I was too stubborn to give up. If you can stick with it, and prove yourself in spite of everything and everyone that will tell you "no",  you just might have a chance. A chance was enough for me to keep chasing it. I love what I do, and can't imagine doing anything else.  

PEV: Do you remember the first time you thought to yourself – “I am really onto something!”?

JF:  Ha! I think the first time I strummed a "G" chord I was onto something.  It wasn't so much about "makin' it in the biz" but the feeling I got when I was making music.  The first time I wrote a song, I had only been playing guitar for 3 months, and used every chord that I had learned.  I knew then, what I wanted to do, and felt that I had a lot to say, and a lot to contribute to the music world.

PEV: With that, what can fans expect from a live Jerad Finck show?

JF:  Fans can expect a real working band that is there to perform.  I have always been a fan of the powerhouse groups like The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, The Eagles, Crosby Stills & Nash, Sister Hazel etc that was made of players that could all sing.  I absolutely love the sound of harmony, and make that a real focus within my group.  I want to be able to deliver a live experience that is truly a live experience in of its own, and gives our fans something entirely more profound than any record could ever capture.

PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage?

JF:  Let's make this better than last time.

PEV: Any preshow rituals before going on stage or do you just wing it?

JF:  Not really, we are definitely wingers.  I like to be in the moment.

PEV: What was the underlining inspiration for your music? Where do get your best ideas for songs?

JF:  Everyday life for me is all the inspiration I need.  Little things in life inspire me, and a song has a way of capturing a memory that is completely unique in its own right.  Every song I write has its own story, and that gives them each a life of their own.

PEV: ESPN has been a large supporter for your hit “Goodbye,” including the track in coverage for the US Open, MLB Baseball and coming later this month as the official theme song for their “Year In Review” special highlighting the biggest sports moments and events from 2010. What was it like to see your work showcased like this?

JF:  ESPN has really been amazing.  When I signed my first license for my music on TV, I really didn't know what to expect.  It was when I saw my name on live broadcast during the US OPEN that it really hit me.  It was absolutely awe inspiring and humbling and I am grateful to ESPN for everything they have done.  Their support has been nothing short of amazing.

PEV: Do you ever find yourself getting writer’s block and if so, how do you get over that?

JF:  The only real writer's block I ever encounter is more of a self-induced need for growth.  Every song that I write, in my own opinion, has to be better than the one that came before.  This is something in me intrinsically that I really can't get over, and I just want to constantly improve.  I love writing songs, and I love the impact they can have on the listener.  I just want to write songs that will live longer than I do.

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about Jerad Finck?

JF:  I am a complete nerd with a massive video game and comic collection.  Massive really doesn't do it justice, it scares mortal men.

PEV: Was there a certain point in your life when you knew that music was going to be a career for you?

JF:  I can't really remember a moment when I didn't know that music was going to be my life.  It's always been such a part of me, that there really isn't any separation.  It's always in my head, and it has always been there.  I really can't imagine doing anything else.  It brings me peace and gives me direction.

PEV: What one word best describes Jerad Finck?

JF:  Tenacious.

PEV: How is life on the road for you in the music world? Best and worst parts?

JF:  Life on the road is definitely a love/hate relationship.  I absolutely love traveling and meeting new people. I have seen things and had encounters that are without doubt, the definition of absurdity and brilliance, and I love every second of it.  The hate part, I think is again my own doing.  We are definitely workaholics and tend to cram as much as possible into every tour, and will drive until we literally cannot go any further.  There's been tours where we haven't slept for four or five days, and this isn't because of crazy rockstar parties, but insane schedules with TV, Radio, Appearances, Shows, etc, and distances that need to be traveled.  However, when I'm on the road, I can't think of anywhere I would rather be.  It truly is just a freeing experience for me.

PEV: Is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?

JF:  I can't wait to hit Europe.  I have been there a few times, and am always amazed by the history and culture there.  I would love to spend extended time there touring and diving into that world.

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career? What’s it like when you get to play at your hometown?

JF:  My Family, has been nothing short of amazing with their support. When I was just beginning, I threw everything I had at trying to make this happen, and even when I was destitute, my family pushed me to keep going.  Most of my friends thought I was crazy, and probably still do, but I believed, and still do in this dream, and nothing was going to stop me from going after it. I would rather spend my life going after I want, than settling for what I didn't. Playing in my hometown is always great, and I love to see the faces of the people who used to come to my shows in front of 3 at the local coffee shop.  

PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?

JF:  Video-game controller in hand surrounded by the newest issues of Amazing Spider-Man.  I also read a ton of books, and tend to really be a homebody when I'm not out on tour.

PEV:  Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?

JF:  There is so much undiscovered music  that it's hard to really focus on one.  I know one artist that completely blew me away was Brandon Flowers from The Killers.  I always loved their music, but I had no idea how incredibly talented he is.  His Solo album has been burning up the CD player in my truck since he released it.

PEV: If you weren’t playing music now what do you think you would be doing as your career?

JF:  Well, until recently I have always had to have a "day job".  I must say, it's an amazing feeling to really be able to just do music now, but when I was working, I was a PSRS (Psycho Social Rehabilitationist)  I have a Master's in Clinical Psychology and have always been drawn to social service as well. I worked a lot with the Mentally ill and Disabled, so if I couldn't follow my music, I would probably find a home in that field.

PEV: So, what is next for Jerad Finck?

JF:  Bigger, Better, and more mature.  I really want there to be an evolution or growth to everything I do.  I am very excited to get out on the road and make an impact.  That, and of course, the next album.

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