Off Camera 24 | 2/9/15
Jon Brion
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A long time ago, Jon Brion asked some fellow musicians, “What if there was a performer that made up every song on the spot?” Consensus was, the songs would suck. “But what if they didn’t?” persisted Brion. The short answer is his legendary live show at L.A.’s Largo, the key components of which are mind-blowing musical genius, an audience-generated set list and surprise sit-ins by a list of musical luminaries. It’s almost as fun to watch the audience sitting in slack-jawed delight to see and hear what happens next. It’s a truly rare experience that tends to turn people into “you just have to see it” evangelists. As word got out, Brion found himself in increasing demand as a producer for artists like Fiona Apple, Kanye West and Elliott Smith. A more unexpected line of work emerged creating quirky, curious film scores for directors like Paul Anderson and David O. Russell. Brion’s artistic path hasn’t always been easy, but it’s always been clear. He’s defined his career by taking things he didn’t like (school, most live music shows, needle-drop film scores) and turning them into something new and completely his own. He’s a one-man case study on how truly unique talent can succeed in an industry that rarely embraces iconoclasts. Sometimes the biggest victory is getting away with being yourself.


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