Posted On 12 Aug 2015
Tag: Albert Einstein, All Access, All Access Music Group, American Heart Association, Artist Interview, Back To Music, Brian Wilson, Children's Hospital, Disney, George Clinton, Grammys, Hollywood, Hollywood Hills, Hugh Hefner, Human Brother, Jack Shultz, JD Shultz, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Mickey Mouse, Musicares Foundation, My Julien, Perry Farrell, Ric Ocasek, Robert Plant, Robert Smith, Ron Howard, Steven Spielberg, Sylvester Stallone, The Art of Elysium, Vision Days On The Life Ride
In the following All Access interview, multi-instrumentalist and multi-media artist JD Shultz aka “Human Brother” shares his point of view on consumerism influence on art and technology and the future of music in relation to it.
Growing up, it sounds like you were constantly surrounded by art and music. Tell us about your upbringing? How did your parent’s careers influence you as a child?
I was born into a family of artists. I’m the middle child with an older brother Adam and younger sister Rachel, whom are both professional artists as well. By the time I was a toddler, my parents were supporting a family of five with my mother Carole’s sculptures in Los Angeles in the early seventies. My father ran the business while my mom sculpted the original pieces out of clay. My dad then took the original sculptures to have molds made so we could make reproductions of them to sell at art shows around Southern California. Collectors of those sculptures would include Steven Spielberg, Hugh Hefner, Ron Howard, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, and Sylvester Stallone, to name a few.
My dad, Jack Shultz became a painter at the age of 40 in 1982. He sold around 13,000 original paintings from 1982 to 2007 when he retired. My parents paved the way for my siblings and I to lead an adventurous life in the arts. We are all eternally grateful to them for that and so much more. May they both rest in peace.
As far back as I can remember there was always music being played or some sort of art being created in our household. At the age of 5, I began beating rhythms on the dinner table. Soon after that, my parents bought me my first drum set. The rest is history.
Can you explain how you taught yourself to play multiple instruments?
With the miracle that is music coming so natural to me, and being so driven by it, I began playing other instruments, such as guitar and bass in my teens and then piano in my 20’s. I took a few lessons along the way, but felt more compelled to approach these instruments one on one. We’ve had a strong and monogamous relationship 🙂 Having fun and not taking it too seriously is actually how I fell madly in love with playing and writing music.
In 2009, I began my first solo music endeavor by taking up singing. In my circle, I was always known as the musician who didn’t sing. Well, that notion finally came to an end. I needed a name that best represented my music and what I’m standing for. “JD Shultz” sounded like a law firm. (Laughter)
I wanted to think of a name that was not only universal but could possibly help unite people from all races, age groups, and musical tastes. My music has elements of alternative and classic rock, electronic, world and pop. The lyrics are very positive, uplifting with an underlying theme of world unity behind it all. Thinking along those lines, Human Brother just came to me one day out of the blue.
Today I am working on a series of Mickey Mouse paintings for a potential licensing deal with Disney. I will also try to spend some time working on a new song called “My Julien”. Julien is my 18-month-old son.
A typical day for me is waking up, playing in bed with my two kids…getting them off to school/day care. Then, depending on my artistic deadlines, I’m either working on new and commissioned paintings or writing and recording music at my home studio in the Hollywood Hills.
How is your forthcoming album “Back To Music” different than your last album “Vision Days On The Life Ride”?
I think I have a better understanding of who I am as a person, artist, and my sonic vision that’s been lurking in my shadow for 30 years now. On the first album “Vision Days on the Life Ride” released in 2010, I was working more with loops and drum machines. On “Back To Music”, I went straight to my roots by playing live drums on all the songs. It gives the album a much more organic feel and texture.
Can you explain your point of view on consumerism influence on art and technology?
I believe that our advances in technology are incredible but as predicted by experts and people like Albert Einstein, it’s something the world needs to be very careful about. I honestly believe that by letting technology fly at light speed with little or no boundaries, we are setting ourselves up for something we’re not prepared to actually face. A world where buttons do most of the creating while the brain takes a backseat – a lot like a robot. It’s humanity’s false sense of “progression” by “regression”. I see a very lazy “race” up ahead if some drastic measures are not taken.
Learning how to communicate with an instrument and expressing yourself creatively from an early age only helps you to connect with your true self. In keeping your childlike heart, you will actually help yourself become a more well-rounded adult. We all played with crayons and made art when we were toddlers. We should have never stopped. It’s a form of expression that feeds the brain and soul in ways that can never be replicated by anything.
Society as a whole is now looking down upon the importance of art and music education. We have to reclaim that creative throne in schools worldwide for the well being of this planet we call home. Would anyone want to live in a world without art and music? Absurd thought, right? That’s kind of where we’re headed if we don’t turn things around. I think we need more balance between the tidal wave of technology and the organic gifts that were given to all of us free of charge from day one.
If it’s not in a video game or an Iphone app, the kids of today seem to care less. That should be a rude awakening to everyone.
Art and music are two things that we are so blessed to even have here on earth. They should never be taken advantage of…only utilized methodically and cherished by everyone.
The current population of art and music makers is shrinking as the world population continues to grow. Nowadays, less and less people can actually make a good living doing it. It’s a sad state of affairs, but if you do the math, art, music and the human race really need everyone’s help.
The vast majority of young people now making music have little or no training. And if you think pop music today is sappy, watered down and recycled, let’s cut to 20 years from now. That’s a scary thought.
It seems we’re in a time where people are in a rush to get to their very next thought, and not being fully present or aware of the moment. The moment is all we really have, and this is a very short life. “Be there or you’ll miss it!”
Is patience the lost virtue? It seems that A.D.D is now a prerequisite to being a kid. We all need to slow down, get back to the basics of what it really means to be human and learn how to fully know and love yourself so you can reach your true life potential.
It all starts in the home. Parents need to take full responsibility and put their children on that shining path. We’re not sheep, we are human. Take charge and really reach and teach the kids right. They’re all our future.
How do you balance your art work with your music work? Do you find that you enjoy one more than the other today?
I love both art forms equally. I do make the majority of my income from my art so I find myself being busier making art these days.
In both mediums, I try to enjoy myself in the moment while tapping into my subconscious mind to create something unique and beautiful out of nothing. I’m truly blessed do be doing what I love. That is the key to happiness. Do what you love at all costs.
What musicians have consistently inspired you? Who would you love to work with in the future?
Growing up in the late seventies and early eighties, I’m from the school of classic rock, funk and new wave. My dream collaboration would be with Brian Wilson, Ric Ocasek, Robert Plant, George Clinton, Perry Farrell and Robert Smith. Those are some of my greatest living musical heroes.
Your artwork has been auctioned and sold at many major events. Which one has meant the most to you?
I’ve done an extensive amount of charity work. I dove in about 15 years ago when my agent asked me to donate a painting of hearts for an event put on by the American Heart Association. They used the image of my painting for the cover of the program that night and the original work of art auctioned off to help a little boy receive a heart transplant. I found another true calling that evening: giving back. There’s not a better feeling in the world than knowing you can make a huge difference in someone’s life by doing something that comes so natural to you. What a blessing.
Being a die-hard musician, I’d have to say The Grammy’s/Musicares Foundation was closest to my heart. I’ve donated 9 paintings over the last 10 years or so and have raised around 130K for their noble cause of helping musicians who’ve fallen on hard times.
That is one of the most beautiful and heart wrenching memories of my life. I took my friend Demetria and my guitar to the Children’s Hospital in Hollywood. We played our songs for the terminally ill kids at their bedside. I had never experienced anything like that before in my life. I remember being so nervous that I’d let them down in some way; but all the kids were so receptive of the music and us being there. I will never forget how comfortable and welcome they made us feel. Bless all their hearts.
What do you hope is your music’s main message? What do you hope listeners take away from it?
My message is “positivity”, “protecting the earth and future of mankind” and “keeping hope alive.” I want my music to just bring a breath of musical fresh air and inspire someone to create something unique of their own.
Where do you see your career going in the next 10 or even 20 years?
I would love to make one of my dreams come true, which would be stepping on the big stage with my music.
For now, I’m on a personal mission to raise millions of dollars for charity with my art and seeing how many people’s lives I can touch.
Other than being a father, the charity work has been the most rewarding thing I do. I will continue to create art and music at the same pace and see what the universe has in store.
Is there anything that you would like our readers to know about you and your work?
I’m the eternal optimist. I believe it’s never too late to make a change in peoples lives and the world we live in.
I also believe I could be a good influence on the youth as well as the younger parents of today. I welcome any assistance on my quest. If you like my music and/or my art, please feel free to share it. My music can be heard and downloaded at www.humanbrother.com.
My art can be seen and appreciated at www.jdshultz.com.
Gotta get Back to Music!