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Meet Blake Baldwin from North East LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Blake Baldwin.

Blake, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Well, I started playing guitar pretty early on in in High School. I had some lessons on drums before that but my parents never got me a drum set so I sort of lost interest. I do remember I broke one of my Dad’s guitars when I was in band class in 5th grade (sorry Dad). He wasn’t a musician per se, but I have some great childhood memories (and embarassing videos) of him and his friends playing guitar and making up goofy songs for us kids on the spot.

At some point in the middle of 9th grade, I was dating this skater punk girl a grade older than me and I saw she had this beat up strat in the corner of her room, and one day I was like “Hey, can I borrow that?” I don’t even really know where the impulse came from to be honest. I dove in pretty deep and was immediately learning as many Misfits and Bad Religion tunes as possible.

Not too long after that I was playing in punk and metal bands with my friends. Like a lot of people, I graduated from high school not really knowing what I was going to do. I definitely didn’t see myself as collegiate material and honestly I didn’t really care either. But I had some incredible experiences writing music with people and I got serious enough to get through community college and eventually land at CalArts. Ultimately though I think it was just about keeping the feelings of joy that came from those early experiences going.

After I graduated I moved to Northeast LA and I’ve been working as a teacher, instrumentalist, songwriter, and composer as well as working on my debut album with some really talented friends and musicians.

Has it been a smooth road?
Haha, no it has definitely not been a smooth road but I never really thought it would be either. The realities of being a working artist are difficult on multiple levels, financially, emotionally, sometimes physically, and I’ve seen a lot of people fall in and out of it over the years, and often for some very good reasons.

There are lots of potential pitfalls but the big obvious one is staying afloat financially doing stuff you don’t want to do while your pursue the things that you do. Resiliency and a high level of self-care is super important.

I feel like there is also some balancing act of not caring/really caring about what happens to some of the music you make, like, I’m going to play guitar and make music regardless of what else is going on in my life and whatever happens, happens.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
Well, my debut album is coming out February 14, 2020 and I am super proud of that. My first single “Creatures” will be out November 29th with singles coming out every month until February! You can find me on all the streaming platforms.

My friends Evan Jiroudek (drums/precussion/vocals) and Matt Denis (Bass, Mixing/Production) really helped me make something special and I’m excited to release it into the world.

As an artist I am proud of all the lines that I’ve blurred for myself. Like, I used to just see myself as just a guitarist, but then I started collaborating with people and writing my own songs. Then playing other instruments, and learning to write for orchestra, and learning recording and producing techniques…. Etc. It’s hard to explain but this growth has made my artistry feel potentially infinite and not defined by a single label like “guitarist,” and thats a really exciting feeling. It makes me feel free and those lines are becoming increasingly blurred the more I learn, the more music I listen to, and the more people I play with.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Haha oh man. I have a hard time with questions like this because even though I am from Los Angeles, I sometimes have a love/hate relationship with it. There is some really incredible stuff here for sure but sometimes I have to ask if it’s good for me. I mean the food here is incredible so at least I can get fat and die here and be happy.

But is it a good music city? Yes, there are a lot of great musicians around doing really cool stuff. For someone like me, I think this works out well because there are a ton of avenues that a musician can use to promote themselves and their music. Yeah you can be in bands and do sessions and stuff, but there is also the film/tv/media industries as well and that can be a huge source of income for people. Everyone’s trying to hustle a different angle of that here and it’s motivating to be around. I kind of wish we had a more centralized hub sometimes though.

I guess I would say to someone just moving here that if you play certain genres of music you might fair better in other parts of the country but really, LA has great stuff going on and you might as well give it a try here.

But also, please don’t move here cause it’s crowded enough as it is.

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Image Credit:

Mallory Turner

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2 Comments

  1. Linda Guglielmelli

    September 11, 2019 at 05:57

    Amazing artist and singer. Blew me away when I heard his voice.

  2. Robert Baldwin

    September 11, 2019 at 17:17

    Broke my guitar eh ? Humpfh…

    Blake’s start came as a love for music from your’s truly.

    He actually knows almost every lyric by both the Beatles AND Garth Brooks library.

    His interest start was @ 9 years old when I got him the Greenday “Insomniac” CD.

    What he didn’t tell y’all is that he’s an expert dirt bike rider. You’re welcome son.

    If there’s a nice, sincere, grounded and committed woman out there, Blake would make a great husband and father. He got the from me too… Ciao…

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