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Artist Spotlight with Biscuit: Interview with Bassist Uriah Duffy

BISCUIT: Berklee School of music did offer you a scholarship I believe, and I was wondering why you didn’t take them up on their offer?

URIAH: Well, after high school, my son was about to be born, so I was having a baby at 18 years old, and a lot of people said that it would be a really and crazy difficult time for me. But looking back, I realize that moving out into our own place was the beginning of adult life for us. I decided I was not going to live in Boston, studying music on the small frozen streets, and realized that being a student with a baby was just not for me. So I opted for California to try out new opportunities there.

BISCUIT: Once you moved away, you started to play every style of music that you could, and found that you could quickly play any type of music by ear. Was that something that came naturally to you?

URIAH: It definitely came naturally to me. Victor Wooten teaches a lot of this kind of thing in his workshops. He teaches that music is a language, and reminds us of how kids learn to speak through trial and error. Unafraid of making mistakes in their mimicked speech, they just eventually get it in the end, and begin learning how to put sentences together. Sentences are just an improvisation of words in a language, and he explains that music is the same way too. I fully believe this metaphor, and feel I learned music in this manner, hearing it, and then repeating it. Sometimes you mess up, but you’ll fix it the next time.

BISCUIT: Would you say that this is a skill that you are born with, or something that comes along later?

URIAH: No, I think it can be learned, and in fact I feel that genius can be learned. It depends on many factors, such as your own drive, your environment, etc. I believe that everyone can do anything if they put their mind to it. I have found that my own personal path was through repeating music on the bass. I also found that I did not have that same patience with any other instrument though. I found that I could just repeat back what I had heard on the bass guitar, and would memorize almost everything. This was an extremely valuable asset towards becoming an in-demand musician.

BISCUIT: You became known for your prowess on both four and five string basses, mainly in the Bay area of California. Was this the time when you started to see that there may be better things ahead for you, and your music career?

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