We had the good fortune of connecting with Damian J Sanchez and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Damian J, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
Both the music and film industries have one thing in common – no one knows what they are doing. Recordings for both musicians and actors are a disorganized mess and they never pay on time and do not have the artists or talent in mind when providing necessities! All that being said – I love it! Why? Because as long as you represent the only professional component to this mess, and people can depend on you to do what is right all the time – you’re hired! You are outstanding by completing basic tasks, presenting yourself professionally, and just meeting the needs of what they are looking for, whether it be something as simple as walking across a tarmac to being able to play what is on the page in front of you. There is no secret to success in the film and music industry. As long as you are 100% professional, the only other factor standing in the way of your “making it” is “the look,” or “sound.” What they have in mind will always trump what hard work you have done to be where you are today. If they are looking for a reggae band and you are a redheaded Irishman, well, chances are you will not get the callback on that audition. It makes sense. However, if you are Jamaican with dreads and get the gig but show up late, well, chances are that day is your last. So perhaps my entire statement of how everything is a mess makes sense. In a world of confusion, you stand to be the beacon of hope, the rock to which they cling, and if you do not have it together, then who will lead this band of misfits. There have been a few sets where things are right and tight, but I could count those in one hand. The majority are all thrown together at the last minute and are just flying by the seat of their pants. To an outsider, all is well and a recording or a video appears to be so professional and the artists make it look easy, but in reality, chances are it was a nightmare to get to that point!

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Who I am today is obviously different from who I was ten years ago and so on. The one common thread that ties all these different “me’s” together is music. Music has been a force in my life. It has kept me going because while I do not have a normal 9 to 5 job and never have all my life, I have always had something occupying my mind. Whether it be a gig, an audition, a composition, a recording session, a repair, a tour coming up – to some extent and music is my full-time job along with all my other creative journeys such as being a “Saxchef,” a writer, an actor and an innovator of all these different disciplines. All these different interests and hard work in each lead to be unique. I can truly say as a musician, no one really focuses on the multitude of woodwind instruments I play. I strive to feel as competent an oboist as a bassoonist, as a flutist- you name it I am always trying to sound my best on every instrument I play. A lot of voices in my past continuously told me playing all the woodwinds was not the best road to success. Better to focus on one and have all your efforts concentrated on one. Well, one man later told me differently, and I loved his life, so I pursued my passion. I always wanted to play them all, so I did. This was hard. No one would want to do this unless if truly desired, passionate about doing it and determined to succeed. And when it gets hard, you just keep focusing, push through the adversity, and do not stop. You go. You reach farther into that rabbit hole and see what you pull out next. Life is full of surprises, and just when you think you have no way to open that door, it opens on its own. I overcame challenges with strategy. My wise cousin told me once, “you think a ton, you act on a few things, you work nothing.” Roughly, the idea is to do all the work in your thinking process. You can strategize your solution to any challenge. I have learned to find those solutions, not by trial-and-error wasting precious time and effort – but by truly thinking first, and then acting. I would like the world to know there is no one on this planet that wanted to make music more than me. I might not have made a lot of money and achieved a lot of fame in my career – but the hang, my friends, those moments of sheer bliss and joy – those, no one can ever take from me in the end and what I leave behind for posterity is a testament to my undying dedication to making art for all to enjoy forever and ever, amen.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I am biased being brought up in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Miami. I would show my friend Little Havana. Our beautiful Cuban heritage shines through every corner of Flagler and 8th street. Go down one and up the other. We would walk Calle Ocho starting at 17th avenue to Brickell. Along the way, visiting Futurama Gallery where a certain painting hangs of me playing jazz at their monthly block party. We would sit and play dominoes in our historic Domino Park, famous for being part of Miami Vice. We would visit Cuba Ocho, where all the artwork from Cuban artists is being featured on its walls and surroundings. We would eat at the only Mexican restaurant in Little Havana. Why eat at a Mexican place among all these Cuban places? Because it is the only Mexican place in Miami that makes their own mole, chicken mole is a delicious chocolate chicken dish from Mexico that combines dozens of different flavors, mainly chocolate, to make a decadent sauce in which they drown their chicken. So delicious and so different from our Cuban food. Also on the hit parade would be Brickell Key and Biscayne Key, where all the water surrounds our beautiful cityscape. Watch the sun go down before we hit Wynwood, another neighborhood that has given me the most gigs because it is an artist refuge. Wynwood is where art happens in Miami as we hear music all up and down NW 2nd. We can visit galleries there and grab a coffee from the first in-house roaster in Miami, Panther Coffee. Finishing our day with art and music before grabbing my favorite sandwich, Pan con Bistec, a Cuban take on a steak sandwich from my favorite hidden treasure- a coin laundry! Mary’s Coin Laundry on 27th Avenue and US-1 has a small cafeteria known for their amazing sandwiches, my favorite Pan con Bistec in Miami! That is a good even blend of all of Miami, but in reality, we see Miami in weeks, not days because there is a lot to see!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Dr. Daniel F. Ross, Arkansas State University, Professor of Oboe. My mentor and the man who changed my life forever got me out of Miami, Florida, and gave me the opportunity to study music and the oboe. He was instrumental in my development when life had me at a crossroads. Had I not met Dr. Ross, I would have never left Miami and never discovered the world in which I live today!

Website: https://www.damianjproject.com

Instagram: @damianjproject

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/damianjproject

Twitter: https://twitter.com/damianjproject

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/damianjproject

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/damianjproject

Other: https://app.castingnetworks.com/talent/profile/249498887

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