What’s it like to travel all over the world with the sole purpose of entertaining the crowds with your music? We found out this week when we interviewed one of London’s hottest jazz acts, Jay Phelps, who has been touring for the past few months promoting his album Jay Walkin’ which has gotten rave reviews. Jay talks to us about his tour, the different audiences he’s encountered, and how he gave an impromptu concert at an airport terminal…
1) What’s the most unexpected experience that has occurred to you on a business trip?
In the music industry, unexpected is to be expected. The most unexpected experience would have to be when I was in Montreal and the flight was delayed 36 hours. We were told it would be 24, so when we all came back to the airport and had to wait a further 12 hours, myself, and the members of my band just started jamming in the terminal. The security staff tried to stop us, but the very agitated army of 200 people were not in favour of us stopping so we were able to continue for a while longer. That was a trip.
2) What is your favourite part about travelling for business?
My favourite part about travelling would have to be experiencing different cultures. The food, music, people. I also like to see how different cultures express themselves when it comes to listening to music. Some dance, some stay still, some move their heads or their hips. There is quite a variation.
3) What’s the first thing you do when you get to your hotel?
It depends on what time the show is. Usually we have about 30 mins in our hotel from when we arrive. It’s a bit of a bummer, but that’s the name of the game. If I have time I steam out the bathroom and have a mini sauna.
4) What is the one thing you cannot do without when you’re travelling?
When I’m travelling I find it hard to not have my music, like an ipod or even my computer to write music. The duration of the journey always feels shorter than if I didn’t have those things. I shouldn’t complain though, I know that musicians of yesteryear never had these devices.
5) What do you love most about your job?
I love the fact that when the trumpet is on my lips and I am taking a solo, I am my own boss. Nobody can tell me what to do. There is an out of body experience that happens and for me, nothing can compare to that feeling. Well almost nothing.
6) Room service or eating out?
For me it’s a definite eat out and walk around to take in all that is new to me. I can never understand it when I see some of the musicians I travel with stay in the hotel, they might as well be at home.
7) Your number 1 advice for business travellers is…
To try create an experience in the city, village or town you’re in even if you simply walk around the block.