We had the good fortune of connecting with Tony Kamel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tony, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I guess you could say my entire career is a risk. Being a musician, or a creative of any kind really, requires it. All of the ways I look at risk are as cliche as they come. It doesn’t really feel like I’m taking any risks because I have a big enough ego to believe that it’s going to work out just fine and people will listen to the music I make and like it. I’m not saying I’m egotistical, but I think you have to have a healthy ego to create something (music, art, a business, anything really) and believe that even a single person will consume it, let alone many. It seems the first big risk I took was quitting a high paying medical sales job at the end of 2012 to play music full time. It didn’t feel risky at all to me, really. It felt like a huge success and privilege just having the opportunity to make a modest living playing music. All I wanted was to make enough to get by and that goal remains. It’s still the way I look at it. The process and hard work of making that happen is all I really need. Any wealth, awards, or otherwise are simply happy accidents.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The death of a friend sort of shook my outlook when I made the decision to give a career in music a shot. Since then, I’ve travelled the country in a bluegrass band called Wood & Wire and played shows under my own name as well. Over the last 9 or so years we put out 4 full length records, 2 EP’s, and a live record – one record even got nominated for a Grammy in 2018 which was a blast. In the spring, I’ll start work on a solo record with legendary Texas songwriter Bruce Robison (think “Travelin’ Soldier” by the Dixie Chicks and “Wrapped” by George Strait) and his production company called The Next Waltz. He build a studio in Lockhart, TX that has all vintage gear, and no computers. The idea is to try and recreate the magic of the older records we all love – none of those artists had digital tricks at their disposal back then and the recordings are every bit as good or better than most of the stuff coming out these days. I’m really excited about it, and a little nervous which is good. I’ve learned to love that nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach and take it as a good sign. We’re shooting for a retro and rootsy sound. One of the fun things about this process is going to be working a lot of the vibes out in the studio. I can’t wait. We hope to have it out in the fall.Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
After nearly 16 years in Austin, we moved about 20 miles west to Dripping Springs 3 years ago. My best friends and I aren’t young anymore so going out to the bars and the all of those things in Austin makes me tired just thinking about it. I’d probably take them to a laid back show on a weeknight to C-boy’s or The Continental Club gallery if we went though. There’s also a great new bar down south called Sagebrush. That said, I’d rather do some outdoor stuff in the Hill Country near Wimberly or Driftwood during the day and maybe hit places like The Devil’s Backbone Tavern. There are some cool breweries and distilleries in the area as well.
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?
My parents deserve all the credit in the world. They encouraged me from a young age and encouraged me when I quit my job. That said, most recently the support of my wife is the most valuable thing in my life. On a grander scale, the support of my large network of family and friends in Houston has fueled a large part of my music career. They’ve been packing the Houston shows since the very beginning and continue to do so. Nowadays, it’s hard for most of them to leave their houses with kids and obligations. It’s never lost on me the effort it takes for most people to get out and go to a concert – babysitters, planning, etc. I really appreciate it every single time. I’m a lucky guy to have grown up where I did.
Other: Tik Tok: tiktok.com/@tonykamelmusic