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What's Up Magazine

The One-Man Wonder: An Interview with Local Jazz Musician Slim Man

Dec 15, 2016 04:00PM ● By Cate Reynolds
Written by Robyn Bell

Whether he’s belting his heart out on stage, creating a recipe in the kitchen, or writing his next blog post, Slim Man is a fellow of many talents.

A long way from his childhood home in Baltimore Maryland, Slim now lives in Palm Springs, CA and most recently won the 2016 Best Jazz Vocalist award at the Coachella Valley Music Festival.

He has also recently published a one of a kind cook book, Slim Man Cooks, which combines personal stories, family recipes, and even specific music tracks and videos to go along with each recipe. Drawing from his Italian heritage, the 52 recipes showcase a talent that can only be learned through tradition.

In addition to the cookbook and music performances, Slim also manages to find the time to write a thoroughly entertaining newsletter that not only gives insight on a personal level but also provides more than a few laughs and thought provoking topics.

As a die-hard traditional artist, Slim Man took a few moments to explain his relation to music, and what is important to him in the big picture: “Too much focus is concentrated on tweeting and Facebooking and it takes time away from the most important thing, which is to create.”

Get in the holiday spirit at Slim Mans Christmas Show. He will be performing at Rams Head On Stage Wednesday, December 21st, 8 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m. and tickets are $22.50.


To start, you recently won the Coachella Valley Music award for Best Jazz Vocalist. Did that come as a surprise to you?

Yeah it did, it wasn’t something I campaigned for or anything. When they told me I was nominated I was baffled. I was hanging out at the awards party with a few friends and someone said “Slim, you got to go inside! You won!” It was very unexpected.

How would you define the relationship between yourself as a musician and your fans?

You know for me it’s on this level that is quite wonderful because I actually am in touch with a lot of people and can answer every email personally. I’ve made a lot of great friends; I don’t consider them as fans just friends who like the music. Also, when I play around Baltimore, I know a lot of the fans and their families. I wouldn’t say it’s very personal, but there is definitely a connection.

What influence do people like your dad and your friend Marc Antoine have on your music?

You know my dad was into Louis Armstrong and the blues and jazz guys, and I guess he passed that on to me. I saw the movie “The Five Pennies” and that had a huge impact on me. With Marc, it’s a real inspiration because he is a huge guitar player that is very committed. It’s something he takes seriously, practicing really hard, and working nonstop. To watch him get up in the morning and play for hours, that’s an inspiration to me.

Do you think music has lost anything over the years because of technological advances?

I think it has lost something. The focus has been taken way from creating something great, artists are more focused on creating a social media page or other things that detract from the primary music and music has suffered half-baked ideas and guys who can’t play their instruments.

The five million tunes that are uploaded to iTunes are affecting how often you come across a singer who really connects, as Adele, or someone who really connects with their music and someone who has concentrated on their craft. Too much focus is concentrated on tweeting and Facebooking and it takes time away from the most important thing, which is to create.

You have success in several areas including cooking, writing, producing, and music among others. Which of these hobbies is the most demanding or challenging?

The music is not a hobby, that’s what I do. Cooking is a hobby and it takes a lot. Creating recipes and doing it the right way, filming the videos, and doing all the photos for the cook book, it takes a lot of time to do something right. The music thing is pure joy. It was a hobby, now it’s something more than that. The cook book is doing well, there are QR codes on them and you can watch a video of me cooking that particular dish.

Your newsletters are pretty comical, who are your comedic influences?

My dad loved comedy movies. When I was a kid, the Marx Brothers were always on. My family always had the Crosby’s on around the house so there was always a comedic influence present.

Louis C.K. is a favorite. I like the social commentary. It’s funny how comedy has gotten away from the jokes to social commentary as a real step in that world.

You often mention the struggle of living with Attention Surplus Syndrome. Could you elaborate a little more how that manifests?

I really do. I think about things for way too long and when something grabs my attention and I’m digging way deep into it, then I don’t know how I got to where I am. It’s the way I’ve always been. Earlier today I was thinking and before long I found myself wondering where do expressions come from?

Moving from Baltimore to the West Coast must have been quite the shock, what is the biggest difference?

It’s different out here, people are different. It’s a huge difference in the way people are cracking jokes on the East Coast and they don’t do that out on the West Coast. It’s a totally different sense of humor.

Also, people are more patient and not in such a rush. If anything, the most difficult is that people on the west coast get up so early and go to bed earlier. Football starts early in the morning.

Even the topography and geography is different. East Coast is more vertical and West Coast is horizontal in the way that the East Coast has skyscrapers and the West Coast will only regularly go up to two stories.

Will you ever move back to the east coast?

I’m not sure. You go where you’re wanted. If I was offered an opportunity in NYC, I would go back. I miss it out there, for sure.

What can we expect next from Slim Man?

I want to record an album in the old way. This means in a classic studio and to do it all in one day with musicians in one room. That’s the way Louis Armstrong used to do it. All in one day. Whatever goes on goes on.