With his son Joey’s phenomenal jazz talent becoming apparent from a young age, Denny Sila has adapted from a business owner and father to additionally being a musical mentor, fostering his son’s talents from small shows in Indonesia all the way to the Grammy’s.
Do you remember the initial moment when you realized your son Joey could be a jazz star? What was going on inside your head?
Denny: I never thought about Joey becoming a jazz star. Introducing the music and nurturing his talent were my only focus after I saw how comfortable he was on keys.
Coaching/mentoring Joey, while obviously rewarding, must have been time consuming. At first was it difficult to balance working with coaching your son?
Denny: My wife and I ran a tourism business together, but it helped that I worked at home. It was very time consuming because it was more than playing the instrument, but also understanding the music and experience it first hand. The whole experience was truly rewarding as we realized more and more that this is God’s gift that we need to share with the world.
What were those early gigs you had booked for Joey at local Indonesian venues like?
Denny: Not many, just a couple of jazz festivals. Joey played traditional jazz, which is not popular there, but we held on to the music that we love and that Joey loves to play. We did not try to adjust to what most venues would like to have.
Were you nervous at those first shows?
Denny: Maybe not as nervous as the audience and critics who never saw someone playing jazz this young. We are always thankful for the opportunity.
You say that you have helped your son learn the more difficult aspects of music, especially jazz. How do you teach difficult, intangible assets as the swing, the feel, and the groove of a song when you are mentoring?
Denny: I knew it was either he has it or he doesn’t. So in the beginning to help him be familiarize with the language and feel, I carefully selected and played records of the jazz greats so he could play along and have fun. The focus was not to copy but to experience the feel, the language and to gain some kind of intuition on chord progressions, voicings and improvisation.
You’ve helped your son Joey produce two finished studio albums now. What was a day in your life like during the recording process? Were your days long or rigorous?
Denny: It was always a nice two or three days of recording and the process was simple. We knew what to record and there were no charts or special preparations that would require long and rigorous days. It was great fun!
What type of sound/style are you and Joey working on for his current studio album?
Denny: The upcoming album is a Jazz album and will have six of Joey’s original compositions. It is the sound of Joey that day in the recording studio playing with amazing musicians.
Any idea when it will be finished?
Denny: It was recorded in August 2017 in Woodstock and will come out in April 2018.
Given you’ve been coaching your son for a while now, what have been some of the most rewarding parts of the process along the way?
Denny: To see Joey grow as a person and a musician, a leader of his band and to see his music touches people’s hearts.
What techniques have you used in order to secure your son Joey gigs, especially at prominent events like the Grammy Awards, the New Orleans Jazz Festival, and at the White House?
Denny: Joey and I, we worked on the music. We have management and booking agent to secure gigs. Playing at Grammy Awards, at the White House and other special events came as invitations to us. Joey was honored to be part.