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Meet Kaspar Jalily

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kaspar Jalily.

Kaspar, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I grew up in France. My parents are both immigrants from Iran and the Netherlands. I grew up in between the three different cultures. My dad, who is a classically trained pianist, introduced me to music at the age of six, there was always music around the house, either someone playing an instrument or a record, or my dad teaching piano to his students. My mom was a painter, so my environment growing up was filled with art.

I picked up the guitar at age 14 to jam out with my school friends, and after high school, I decided to take it seriously and try to make a living out it. I started picking up gigs but my first real opportunity came at 19 years old when I got a chance to go work in the states after an agent saw one of my videos on Youtube. Work has been fairly consistent since then.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The first wall that I hit after high school was that I was willing to enter some public school to study jazz guitar but after many auditions got declined everywhere, I auditioned. Looking back, I’m thankful that’s how it went, as after getting all the negative replies, I decided to look at the liner notes from the albums I was listening to and just called the guitarists that played on these albums for private/online lessons. It was an incredible experience to be able to talk to the people who actually made the music that touches me rather than going to a teacher that will teach you a generic guitar program.

As far as my career, it can get tough as a guitar player to stand out in the industry as it is one of the most popular instruments, but It’s also part of the game so I practice the instrument and maintain a consistent online presence to make sure I’m on my A-game.

Growing up with three nationalities and being able to work internationally is definitely a blessing but it also always is a struggle as far as administrations are concerned. Between living in Europe, working in the States and having my family in Iran, it gets really difficult as far as immigration is concerned and can lead to some nerve-racking and unfair situations. That’s the main thing that has been holding me back a lot. I’m hoping for the future that our world leaders can take initiatives to make it a more connected place rather than trying to isolate cultures and populations.

Although adapting to different cultures and social environments can be challenging sometimes, It’s a challenge that I’m very grateful for.

Tell us more about your work.
I’m a guitarist but I think of my guitar playing as a service and the activities that come from it as products, like performing, teaching, recording, arranging and promoting industry products.

The internet has been a game-changer for my generation ( I grew up in the ’90s) and I couldn’t be doing what I do now without the internet. I got my first big calls thanks to internet videos and now have an online business that sells guitar lessons for students, guitar sound packs for performers, guitar samples for composers / beatmakers.

A lot of musicians disagree with my vision saying that this business structure takes out the passion out of the art but as far as I am concerned, I feel like I have found a way to share what I do and enjoy to a wider audience and make a living out of it at the same time.

This online business also allowed me to have the freedom to choose the opportunities I really wanted to go for rather than having to say yes to every opportunity because getting work as a freelance musician is tough.

I was lucky to perform with some of my favorites musicians in the world like Cory Henry and Lee Ritenour, both American artists.

I also perform with corporate orchestras all around the world for “high profile” clients, the music we play is mostly top 40 but it’s always a fun hang, great conditions and pay.

There are very few solid performing opportunities in France but if you watch french TV, you may catch me rocking with some french pop artists.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I’d say the biggest luck I had is growing up in a loving and healthy environment/family. I also had access to quality public education in France which is shamefully, not the case in every country. I was also lucky to get noticed by people who were able to provide me with opportunity to push my career. Being good at what you do is not enough these days, being at the right place at the right time with the right people is also necessary so that’s what I try to do as well to help my luck!

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Image Credit:

Nathan Chia, Telly Jalily

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