John Vento, songwriter and musician, joins SPC host David Delmar to share his success formula. John found the ability to connect and collaborate with other musicians to write and record high level albums. While battling health issues, like cancer, John received clarity about how to make drastic headway in his life and career. Tune in to hear how he overcame adversities and found his success formula for life.
Hello, this is David Delmar, your host of SuperPower Creatives, and you’re listening to our episode Music: A Success Formula for Life.
I believe everyone is a creator, and it’s this inherent birthright that’s the source of our superpowers. Stepping into this person core is scary though. This show celebrates creatives that stayed true to who they really are, making a living using their creative super powers. The stories they share will excite and inspire listeners to do the same, making positive change in the world.
I’m so excited to welcome our guest for today’s show. He’s a true person of character, expressed musically, that carries right through into his life, and a creative who looks at the proverbial box and knows there is no way he could ever allow himself to stay stuck in such a place in his music or his life.
John Vento is often called a chameleon in the Pittsburgh music scene and while his critics may use the term as a pejorative, it’s a compliment to him because he understands that they’re just frustrated. They’re motivated by that sense of wanting to know definitive, but the inability to lock in him into a specific music style is kind of how he rolls. And they just have to kind of roll with it because they don’t have any choice. So, after all, he’s been the front man of the high-energy, hard-rocking bands like The Businessmen and the Nied’s Hotel Band and is known for his introspective, brooding solo recordings, which, you know what, is pretty fascinating, I think.
But here’s the thing: Rather than a drawback, Vento, he considers such diversity to be among his strengths and his fans agree. They relish in his tumultuous trek toward achieving his artistic vision, which he accomplishes by channeling of eclectic influences through his own raw emotions, which I dig, as a fellow musician. That’s the stuff. Helping to engineer the rollercoaster ride is a stout core of collaborators, including John Randall Fox, Tim Hadley, and Frank Ferraro, along with renowned playwright and lyricist Emil Hartmann.
Many members of this crew have been with him for more than a decade. I mean, it’s pretty easy to understand why. As he consistently showers them with appreciation and accolades because those are well-earned, and he’s one that likes to recognize a job well done. He himself, a one of a kind performer, he professes a great distaste for the word “solo.” “Without my collaborators,” his thought is, “I would not have accomplished anything.” It’s no surprise to those who know him, as he truly is a humble, loving, and grateful person who treasures his family and his friends. Certainly that comes across loud and clear in his honest, front-the-heart songs. And that, undoubtedly, is another quality which endears him to his fans and as he puts it, “If just one person is touched in some small way by one of my songs, that’s the greatest reward that I could receive.”
So, of course, it’s purely logical that Vento would find a great following in the town. His steely resistance to categorization is the essence and backbone of Pittsburgh, built by a veritable melting pot of blue-collar workers. The once-gritty city has risen from the heat through the smoke and haze to become a sparkling, spectacular hub of culture and learning. Yet, it remains true, and we say that on the show all the time, “Thank you for remaining true.” It remains true to its deeply forged identity. John’s 2019 MTS release is “Love, Lust, and Other Wreckage.”
The single, “Rainbows and Lightning” reached the Top 20 on iTunes Canada charts, receiving national and international airplay. He is a January 2019 Billboard Magazine Emerging Artist, folks. John, absolutely terrific stuff and a mindset near and dear to my heart. Thank you so much for being here today.
Thanks so much for having me. I appreciate your patience in navigating me through the technological connections that we just created. Thank you, my friend.
You’re very, very welcome. It is just my pleasure. No problem whatsoever. I thought you did just fine, no question about that. Well, I want to just thank you for being here and, also, for the powerful decision to stay true to your non-categorization in your music, which helps others, I feel, including myself, to be strong with that same conviction. I love that.
Well, thank you.
Thanks so much.
Yeah, go ahead.
No, I was just gonna say that a very dear friend of mine that is a great artist, he had a line in a song years ago, and he said, the line was, “I watch the river run because it knows which way to go.” And just, basically, the old saying, “Going with the flow” is another way of saying the same thing and letting your art or your spirit go where it wants to be in a natural way.
Yeah. I love that. I mean, I feel like that is the true essence and calling of life that is available for everyone. But certainly, not everyone listens to that. And there’s a lot of strife and life just gets a lot more difficult than it absolutely needs to be. And that’s a beautiful line right there. I’m gonna definitely remember that. Well, we’re talking about our show today, Music: A Success Formula for Life, and definitely that, what you just shared, falls right into that. In particular, John finds creativity increases his music’s viability for himself then extending that to his fan base and how his experiences as a described chameleon has benefited his music and also his life.
So, John, how we always start the show is with the same question for everybody, and it’s this: What is your creative super power?
Wow. That’s a great big, question.
Indeed. That’s why we put in on first.
Oh, yeah. Then it gets easier from here.
You know, first of all, I think my superpower is the ability to collaborate with other talented and passionate people and create a combined vision. We’re all focused on the same thing. That’s probably what I’m most proud of, and not only in music, but in life, I’m so blessed to be surrounded with sincere and honest and talented people that are willing to invest in a vision that I might have, whatever that vision may be. In this case, we’re talking about music and this new project, “Love, Lust, and Other Wreckage,” it was really quite an effort to pull together such a diverse, talented group of people and create the product that we did.
And, I mean, I think that is a superpower that is such an important one to have in today’s world because that collaboration, that finding the togetherness and having it be about “we” instead of the “me,” there’s such an important, important leadership quality to so vital today. And I’m just really happy to hear that that’s what you shared for your super power because you channel that into music, like you’re doing with this amazing cast of very talented people you’re working with, and that’s the kind of stuff that reshapes how we experience life ’cause music has that kind of power. What have you found in the collaboration process with that amazing group of talented artists? What has been one of the single value moments or experiences you’ve had with this latest project, John?
I think a couple things. First, it forced me to be more open-minded and look at a different perspective, or should I say, at least consider a different perspective, because as a leader, especially of a project of this magnitude, it’s tough to make everybody happy. It really is. However, at the same time, when you are surrounded by talented people who share the vision and who have the right ethics and they want to contribute with ideas and input, you gotta at least consider it and play it out. And that was the whole process. This project took over two years, and there was a lot of trial and error, a lot of fine-tuning, a lot of molding. Ideas were thrown in that might’ve seemed crazy, but we tried them anyhow. Some of them stuck, some of them didn’t.
And I think this album, in particular, really opened my eyes to being more pliable, if you will, and considerate of input from others.
That’s awesome. I mean, that’s going against the grain of the proverbial current of the way the world is trying to mold itself into, and that’s some serious headwind, but, nonetheless, obvious strength that you found in that.
I think so, yes.
Yeah. I mean, I can imagine that had to have been a very deep journey to some true surrender and really just allowing the creative process to do what it brought everybody together to do. So, it’s really powerful. Such amazing stuff. We’re gonna take a quick break and I want to stay together here with this. And I’m gonna find out a little bit more about what went into this latest album. What was one of the things that you tried that worked? Maybe something that didn’t work out when we get back from the break. But before we do jump into a break, let’s tell people where they can go to find out more about you.
Okay, sure. Well, I’ve got a website, johnvento.com and I’ve got Facebook, John Vento Music and Instagram, John Vento Music. And I guess I do Twitter. I have people that help me because I’m not quite as well-versed. So, I’m out there in the world of social media. The website, of course, is the hub. People can download music and listen to stuff I’ve done and see videos and so on and so forth.
Awesome stuff. All right. So, well, we’ve been talking with John Vento today about our episode, Music: A Success Formula for Life. We’re gonna take a quick break, and when we come back, we’re going to continue with John and absorb what it is he’s sharing here and how what he shares is something you might be able to apply into your life today.