When people attend a live concert, they’re essentially seeing a movie in live action––and as a music director, Kevin Teasley’s job is to oversee those moving parts. Also an accomplished pianist, producer and mixer, and artist with credits on feature films and television shows, Teasley says he improves his many crafts by surrounding himself with “young cool people” who have taste-making instincts, staying up on technology and, possibly most importantly, having the modesty to appreciate other artists’ work.
“I’m a fan of my colleagues’ music,” he says. “You can’t be jealous of your colleagues doing wonderful things. Watch trailers, movies, shows and be a fan. I’m energized by seeing people do amazing things. The older I get, the more you don’t know. You can’t be at a place where you think you’ve been doing it so long, you can’t learn anything new.”
Teasley recently worked on The Grammy Awards telecast’s Motown tribute performance with Alicia Keys and JLo, and has both a Backstreet Boys tour and JLo tour on the horizon. His TV credits also include the DirecTV Super Saturday Night concert for the 2018 Superbowl, featuring JLo. While a master at bringing other musicians’ performances to life and an accomplished artist in his own right, Teasley takes a pragmatic approach to staying on top of the game.
“I’m kind of a nerd,” he admits. “I read all the trades. I read books on time management, leadership skills. You have to be technically savvy, and you really have to develop your team from the beginning. And you have to have a detached love of the music. When I was younger, if I did a song or arrangement and someone didn’t like it, I would literally be hurt for days. As with anything, when rejected a lot you get better, because you have no choice. You won’t always hit the bullseye, but that’s part of the process.” • K