03-19-20 interview with Daniel Routh, member of the award-winning acoustic bluegrass band Nu-Blu about
his music career and how the coronavirus pandemic is devastating creative artists.
Q: Welcome! Thank you for answering my questions at this trying time. Have you always been interested
A: As far back as I can remember I have been. In my early childhood, it was the music of the 50s and
60s that we listened to mostly. I remember coming home from a Saturday night shopping trip and listening
to the "oldies" radio channel and loving it when I heard "Hold On, I'm Coming" by Sam and Dave. It was
one night heading to church when I heard Flatt and Scruggs do Foggy Mountain Breakdown and heard that banjo.
That was it, I was hooked.
Q. How do you keep your creative juices flowing?
A: That's easy for me. I handle the band business and management. I don't get as much time as I'd like
to on the creative side. So, when I get that time I've always got lots of ideas that I'm ready to try out.
Q. Do you have any upcoming projects you'd like to tell us about?
A: We have a new single releasing next Monday on March 23rd called "Horse Thieves and Moonshiners."
It's a great tune and one that's not what you think by the title. I hope everyone will go follow us on Spotify
so that they get the first listen when it drops.
Q. What is something you wish other musicians understood?
A: I'm split on this. I wish they understood the business side of the music industry better. Which probably
leads to the second thing. I wish bands would work together more and cross promote more. It's a small world
of music we all live in. If musicians understood marketing and branding better, they could have a better handle
on helping each other and not think the music business is so much of a competition.
Q: What is the #1 thing you'd like to tell up-and-coming musicians?
A: If you want to be a full time entertainer, learn the business side of things. Period. You can't make a
living off music if you don't know this.
Q: What advice can you offer to a musician who is struggling with his or her inner critic?
A: I used to struggle with this. And still do. We should all always strive to be better. But I found that
when I stopped playing for the other musicians in the audience and started focusing on performing for the
fans, the entertainment value went up 100%. Remember the music is only a small part of it.
Q: Many artistic people struggle to develop a routine that allows them time for their creative work. What
advice can you give that will help them create a balance between work and social life?
A: Well for me it is my job. But for others, I always tell folks to keep it accessible. Don't keep your
guitar in the case. Keep it on a stand so you can pick it up when you have a few minutes. If you think of
a line for a song write it down immediately so you don't forget it. Being social is key; it's relationships
that make things happen in your career.
Q: How do you manage your time when you are working on more than one project?
A: Lots of yellow legal pads, LOL. I have an ongoing pad and checklist for each project. I also have the
band broken down into categories: Radio, studio, booking, etc.
Q: What do you do to relax and to just have fun?
A: I love WWII aircraft. Amazon Prime has all the old training films on how to fly them. Currently, I'm
memorizing the climbing settings for all instruments for the B-17 bomber.
Q: Do you have a support system?
A: Yes, it's everyone from family to fans. Each person is a part of that and I draw energy from each
part to keep going. It's essential.
Q: What are some of the challenges and obstacles you have faced during your music career?
A: Oh wow. Record labels folding right after we were signed, Carolyn's strokes, you name it. I feel
like we've had so much happen, but each thing has taught us more and we have learned.
Q: What is the most rewarding aspect of your career?
A: Being able to make this happen for Carolyn. It's always been her dream to be a full time performer.
Being able to make that happen, that's the most rewarding.
Q: What inspires you?
A: I pull inspiration from seeing other artists be successful. It inspires me to keep pushing to get there.
Q: What is your greatest inspiration?
A: My dad. He taught me the value of hard work. That's the only reason we've been able to do what we do.
Q: What is the favorite question you were ever asked and what was your answer?
A: Do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife? My answer: Yes.
Q: What is the best advice you've ever been given?
A: At the end of it all only what's done for Christ will count.
Q: If, at the age you are today, you could spend a day with you at age seven, what would you take back in
time, what would you say to that little boy, what would you do with him?
A. Don't listen to those that tell you that you have to fit into the norm. It's the outside of the norm
that will be what you really want to do. Follow your joy.
Q. The coronavirus pandemic is devastating countless creative artists. Will you please give us an inside
view of how it has affected you and your band?
A: Well, the first part of our tour this trip was normal. Almost sold out shows and good festival turn out.
Sales were good. The pandemic hit right in the middle of our tour, that's when the shutdowns started.
I could see what was coming and immediately started making calls and working on contingency plans, how
could we get home and how could our whole band make it through this challenging period? We depend on our
fans, both in ticket sales and merchandise sales to make 100% of our living. That is still the case, but
now we must do this through online sources vs. in person attendance at shows. We could set back and freak
out or worry. But that doesn't get any of us anywhere. I'd rather work to create a way to reach even more
new fans during this time period.
Q: Your famous last words, will you share with us a piece of advice, a favorite quote, whatever you wish?
A. I'd like to challenge the music industry. We have a unique opportunity right now to take music back and
change the landscape for all artists going forward. The more social media has driven our industry, the more
we have to give away our music to just stay relevant. Our band has been forced to make our living from touring.
Now with everyone at home and with sports shut down, folks are realizing the value of music again. We need to
realize this and stop giving it away or play and then ask for a donation. Creative artists need to find ways
to get online ticket sales and online merchandise sales. In the end, we will all be stronger for it and we will
all be able to continue to make the music we love.
Daniel, thank you so much for doing this interview. Our California music family will appreciate your answers.
We wish Nu-Blu the greatest success and we hope you will get home safely.