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Life, Music, and the Pursuit of Answers

Life, Music, and the Pursuit of Answers

By Phil Circle
Welcome to Life, Music, and the Pursuit of Answers with Phil Circle.

This is where I and my guests seek positive answers to life's questions, often, but not always, within the realm of the arts. This is also where I encourage on-going open dialogue between all people, everywhere.

When I discuss topics specific to music as a craft and business, I'm likely to attach it to something bigger. Music and the arts are the miracles that happen every day. We connect through them.

Please send me a message with a question, comment, correction, or idea for a topic. philcirclemusic@gmail.com
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Episode 19: Positive Output During Negative Times
Phil Circle brings back three previous guests to discuss how they're dealing with the COVID-19 Pandemic. Actress Megan Corse, Chris Bell, owner of Flatts & Sharpe Music, and actress and coach Mary Reynard Liss came back to visit Phil for a Zoom Meeting that was also broadcast live on Facebook. With a goal of finding the positive in the midst of so much negative, they spend about an hour addressing the issues facing their worlds and all of humanity during this unprecedented modern pandemic. Visit Phil's YouTube page and check out the video of Phil's conversation with Mary, Megan, and Chris, via a secure Zoom meeting. This episode was recorded April 6th, 2020 from Phil Circle's home in Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood. If you're enjoying Phil Circle's discussions, check out his award-winning book, The Outback Musician's Survival Guide: One Guy's Story of Surviving as an Independent Musician, available in all formats.
1:02:38
April 20, 2020
Episode 18: The "Across the Pondcast" with Dave Arcari
Dave Arcari is a Scottish alt blues musician based outside of Glasgow, Scotland, UK. Phil Circle and Dave Arcari have known each other for years and shared the stage together in Chicago, USA. During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, they decided to reach out "across the pond" and talk about how it's affecting their worlds. With additional discussion of Dave's work, they also cover some aspects of how to monetize your music in a way that's comfortable and that doesn't compromise one's creative integrity. At the end of this episode is a recording by Dave Arcari, Devil's Lefthand. The explicit listing is for language. Visit Phil's YouTube page and check out the video of Phil and Dave recording this podcast via a secure Zoom meeting. This episode was recorded March 31st, 2020 from Phil Circle's home in Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood. If you're enjoying Phil Circle's discussions, check out his award-winning book, The Outback Musician's Survival Guide: One Guy's Story of Surviving as an Independent Musician, available in all formats.
53:43
April 3, 2020
Episode 17: 2020, Hindsight, and Gratitude
Pulling from a blog written at the start of 2020, Phil Circle discusses how he's come to embrace gratitude. Through his struggle with finding and maintaining it, he shares tips on making gratitude a part of one's life and gives real life and scientific reasons for pursuing this powerful emotion. Read the blog that led to this podcast. Visit Phil's YouTube page and check out a few videos in his Hey Coach! playlist that deal with gratitude and mission. This episode was recorded February 10, 2020 at Phil Circle's home in Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood. If you're enjoying Phil Circle's discussions, check out his award-winning book, The Outback Musician's Survival Guide: One Guy's Story of Surviving as an Independent Musician, available in all formats.
31:40
February 11, 2020
Episode 16: A.I. and the Universality of Music with Frettable Founder Greg Burlet
Greg Burlet, founder and designer of the A.I. music app Frettable, joins Phil Circle from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada for this great discussion about music, A.I.'s potential affect on the world and our future, and how he came to create his astounding app. Check out Phil Circle's video about music as a universal language from his Hey Coach playlist on his YouTube page. This was recorded remotely between Chicago and Edmonton. If you're enjoying Phil Circle's discussions, check out his award-winning book, The Outback Musician's Survival Guide: One Guy's Story of Surviving as an Independent Musician, available in all formats.
1:15:18
October 2, 2019
Episode 15: How Music Resonates in Life, Soviet Rockers, and Not Signing Record Deals, with Yuri Naumov
Yuri Naumov is a Russian poet, composer, guitarist and singer. While visiting Chicago for a show, Phil Circle caught up with him at the home of mutual friends from the Russian music group Chai Key.  Yuri shares his story about growing up in Soviet Russia and what it was like for musicians like himself. He also gives some tremendous insights into music and how it resonates in our lives, and talks about why he didn't sign a major record deal. Check out this short video of Phil Circle talking about how music is a world unifying device from the Hey Coach playlist of his YouTube page. This was recorded in Morton Grove, Illinois (suburban Chicago) on August 22nd. If you're enjoying Phil Circle's discussions, check out his award-winning book, The Outback Musician's Survival Guide: One Guy's Story of Surviving as an Independent Musician, available in all formats.
1:05:00
August 27, 2019
Episode 14: Why We Create, Stage Fright is Good, and the Truth About Marketing, with Bob Baker
Why We Create, Why Stage Fright is Good, and the Truth About Marketing, with Bob Baker. Bob Baker is a music and arts marketing guru and coach who has been ahead of most every trend for the last 25 years. Also a singer-songwriter, visual artist, and improv comedy teacher, he brings his wide understanding of the arts to his work. Phil Circle and Bob cover the 4 reasons people create, why stage fright is good, and the truth about marketing for the creative. Have a look at Phil Circle's video about stage fright from the Hey Coach playlist of his YouTube page. This was recorded at the 2019 CD Baby DIY Musicians Conference in Austin, Texas on Sunday, August 18th at the Austin Hilton. If you're enjoying Phil Circle's discussions, check out his award-winning book, The Outback Musician's Survival Guide: One Guy's Story of Surviving as an Independent Musician, available in all formats.
1:04:39
August 19, 2019
Episode 13: Acting, Always Learning, and Dealing with Bigotry, with Megan Corse
Megan Corse is a Chicago-based actress. Phil Circle is her husband. They take walks and talk about stuff. This time, they recorded their conversation. They talk about the need to never stop learning and what it means to be entrepreneurs in the arts. They talk about collaboration.  Then Megan shares her experience as a woman of mixed race. She relates some stories about bartending in a small town in Wisconsin near where she grew up. She relates the insights she gained related to opening dialogue where there was real potential for greater rifts and even hatred.  If you care about creating dialogue as a pathway to healing rifts and bringing people closer together, please listen to this episode carefully. Here are Phil and Megan having a little fun with a box-opening video for Phil's book. This was recorded while walking through Chicago's Rogers Park and West Ridge neighborhoods, ending up in Indian Boundary Park. It was Saturday, August 3rd, 2019. Have a look at Phil Circle's video What's Your ID? about the identity of the artist, from the Hey Coach playlist of his YouTube page. If you're enjoying Phil Circle's discussions, check out his award-winning book, The Outback Musician's Survival Guide: One Guy's Story of Surviving as an Independent Musician, available in all formats.
1:08:45
August 5, 2019
Episode 12: Open Dialogue as a Disruptor, Cultural Evolution, and the Creative Process: Darin Jellison & Shenendoah Thompson
Songwriters Darin Jellison and Shenendoah Thompson join Phil Circle to discuss what fascinates them and the conversation goes down many paths. Darin shares his experience with the creative process as an architect, they talk about Guilt By Association Records' place as a disruptor in the music industry, how cultural evolution changes what's considered right among humans, the exponential effect of collaboration and open dialogue, and how they'd each like to change the world. This was recorded at Phil Circle Music/Guilt By Association Records in Rogers Park, Chicago on the evening of 7-14-2019. This podcast completed a weekend of GBA Records events, including live shows, radio appearances, and a boat tour down the Chicago River that was filmed for the short video Building Banter. July 12-14th, 2019 is considered the official launch of the cooperative efforts GBA is making to replace and refit the ailing record industry in America. Shenendoah and Darin are the first two artists to join Phil Circle in this Patron-funded co-op. You can learn more about Guilt By Association Records and the Patreon Campaign that funds the label by clicking their links or looking over the playlist on Phil Circle's YouTube page. Artists pay nothing to the label. If you're enjoying Phil Circle's discussions, check out his award-winning book, The Outback Musician's Survival Guide: One Guy's Story of Surviving as an Independent Musician, available in all formats.
1:24:46
July 15, 2019
Episode 11: How a 19 Year-old Capitalist is Changing His World with Jon Prizant
Jon Prizant owns Skokie Printing in Skokie, suburban Chicago. He's 19 years old (as of this podcast) and is going to school for business and marketing. His clientele includes local libraries, schools, and businesses. Jon shares his views and experience, including some insights into his own generation's thoughts and feelings about the world and where it's going. This was recorded at Phil Circle Music on June 6th, 2019. Have a look at the t-shirts Jon makes for Phil Circle and Guilt By Association Records. Jon Prizant has a good sense of what he wants to be doing. For some it's not so easy. Here's a video with Phil Circle sharing a life choice exercise, from the Hey Coach playlist of his YouTube page. Are you enjoying Phil Circle's discussions? Check out his award-winning book, The Outback Musician's Survival Guide: One Guy's Story of Surviving as an Independent Musician, available in all formats.
56:48
June 7, 2019
Episode 10: Curiosity, Courage, Creativity, and Elvis Impersonators, with Lem Roby
Phil Circle speaks with fellow Chicago songwriter, studio owner, session musician, and music coach, Lem Roby. They discuss the complex question of "What is music?" and look into how curiosity and courage are keys to creativity. They also discuss country music, tribute bands, Elvis Impersonators. We learn of their longtime friendship and hear a few reflections on their experiences together. Lem Roby fronts the band Jack Salamander, considered by many inside Chicago's music scene to be one of the city's best kept secrets. The son of an educator and a writer/editor for Encyclopedia Brittanica, Lem is not lacking in knowledge and shares it in a very accessible and laid back manner that most people close to him find refreshing. This was recorded on the evening of May 20th, 2019 at Lem Roby's recording studio in a Chicago suburb, known by many as "The Possum House." Phil Circle addresses songwriter's block in this video from the Hey Coach playlist of his YouTube page. If you're enjoying Phil Circle's discussions, check out his award-winning book (with a chapter on friends that includes Lem), The Outback Musician's Survival Guide: One Guy's Story of Surviving as an Independent Musician, available in all formats. 
1:24:10
May 21, 2019
Episode 9: What's Your Story? How Stories are Culture.
Phil Circle reads and elaborates on an article he wrote called What's Your Story? and then reflects on his own on-going story and how he has found comfort in telling it. This was recorded on April 22, 2019 at Phil Circle Music in Chicago. Sometimes, people wonder what all Phil Circle's various interests have to do with music? He answers this question in the video What's All This Got To Do With Music? from the Hey Coach playlist on his YouTube page. If you're enjoying Phil Circle's discussions, check out his award-winning book, The Outback Musician's Survival Guide: One Guy's Story of Surviving as an Independent Musician, available on all platforms.
33:27
April 23, 2019
Episode 8: Chicago Culture, World Change, and the Future of the CSO with Chris Bell
Phil Circle talks with Chris Bell, a former union pipe fitter, now owner of Flatts and Sharpe Music, Chicago proper's second biggest music lesson provider. Sitting in the lobby of her Rogers Park store, they reflect on Chicago's past and present, how it relates to other American cities, and the massive changes in the world today. Chris shares her experiences growing up in the neighborhood and reflects on what's changed and why.  Also in this conversation they talk about the future of one of the world's greatest orchestras, The Chicago Symphony Orchestra. As of this podcast, the CSO musicians were on strike for a number of reasons. Chris Bell gives her balanced appraisal of the situation and talks about her efforts to support local musicians by presenting free shows at her music store. Weeks later, the CSO won the strike. This show was recorded at Flatts and Sharpe Music in Rogers Park, Chicago, on April 18th, 2019. Phil Circle taught at Chris Bell's store until opening his own lesson facility in the neighborhood, with her full blessings. Phil Circle Music opened its doors in December of 2018, and 2019 marked 25 years that Phil Circle has been a music coach. In 2019, Expertise.com awarded Phil Circle Music the Top Music Schools in Chicago award, listing him among the Top 12 of 574 music schools and private lesson facilities surveyed. Here's a video from the Hey Coach playlist on his YouTube page. Phil still refers business to Flatts and Sharpe Music, as his niche is primarily adult professional and semi-pro musicians.  If you're enjoying Phil Circle's discussions, check out his award-winning book, The Outback Musician's Survival Guide: One Guy's Story of Surviving as an Independent Musician, available on all platforms.
46:50
April 18, 2019
Episode 7: Phil Circle's Students Speak Up About Music
Phil Circle puts together two or three student showcases every year to get his students up in a proper Chicago venue to perform. It was at the end of the March 31st, 2019 showcase, at Chicago's Uncommon Ground in Edgewater, that Phil gathered this show's participants on stage and asked them to speak up. Here's what each of them had to say about music and what it means to them.  One of these students, Noah Charles, now resides on Phil Circle's label, Guilt By Association Records.  Here's a video of Phil and Lem Roby (Episode 10) with Noah in Lem's recording studio, from the Hey Coach playlist of Phil's YouTube page. Phil's students are adult professionals in various fields, semi-professional and aspiring professional musicians, and/or working pros like himself. The intro to this special short episode was recorded April 14th, 2019 from Phil's teaching studio in Rogers Park, Chicago. If you're enjoying Phil Circle's discussions, check out his award-winning book, The Outback Musician's Survival Guide: One Guy's Story of Surviving as an Independent Musician, available in all formats.
16:45
April 15, 2019
Episode 6: Jerry Springer, Cruise Line Gigs, Why Quitting is Not an Option and Boredom is Good, with Ian Leith.
Phil Circle and Singer-songwriter-guitarist and videographer Ian Leith meet for lunch in Chicago's South Loop to discuss their experiences in Chicago music. Ian also talks about working in Los Angeles, moving to Chicago to work for The Jerry Springer Show, and what it was like playing music on the cruise lines. Phil and Ian also spent time digging into the despair of wanting to quit what you love, and how to climb out by gaining a perspective. Here's a video Ian produced about Phil, from the In The Loop playlist of Circle's YouTube page. This was recorded at Flo and Santos on South Wabash Avenue in Chicago on March 26th, 2019. If you're enjoying Phil Circle's discussions, check out his award-winning book, The Outback Musician's Survival Guide: One Guy's Story of Surviving as an Independent Musician, available in all formats.
1:04:27
April 3, 2019
Episode 5: What Am I Nostradamus? Phil Circle Reflects on 2019 Predictions
In this episode, Phil Circle looks back at an article he wrote for LinkedIn called What Am I Nostradamus? in which he made predictions for 2019. Several of these predictions came to pass at various levels and some began to emerge in 2020. He reflects on this possibility in this episode. Phil expands on these predictions, tying them into his overall theme of this podcast; Seeking positive answers to modern day problems with open dialogue. Questions about many of the mainstream issues happening in the world are posed and pondered. In on of a series of videos discussing What I Live About Music, Phil Circle mentions how music is a world unifying device. This is from the Hey Coach playlist on Circle's YouTube page. This was recorded from Phil Circle Music on Friday, March 29th, 2019. If you're enjoying Phil Circle's discussions, check out his award-winning book, The Outback Musician's Survival Guide: One Guy's Story of Surviving as an Independent Musician, available in all formats.
53:10
March 29, 2019
Episode 4: Nelson Algren, Del Close, Acting as Life Coaching, and Life as Acting Coaching, with Mary Reynard
Mary Reynard is a longtime actor and acting coach living in Los Angeles. Phil Circle and Mary met through the Chicago Actors Studio, where she was teaching for some time and whose founder is a student of Mary's late husband, the great Ted Liss.  After Mary gives a little run down of her fascinating history surrounded by icons, she and Phil move into a discussion about music and acting, coaching in these professions, and ultimately how the techniques learned to master these performing arts can be beneficial to performing well in life as a human being. This was recorded over dinner at Corky's Restaurant in Sherman Oaks, California, after Mary spent the afternoon observing Phil's recording session for a new album with Ted Wulfers (Episode 3). This was recorded on March 6th, 2019. The album Phil was recording released the following month. The song Mary was watching Phil and Ted work on was Lava. If you're enjoying Phil Circle's discussions, check out his award-winning book, The Outback Musician's Survival Guide: One Guy's Story of Surviving as an Independent Musician, available in all formats.
53:46
March 22, 2019
Episode 3: The Power of Music and Creative Collaboration with Ted Wulfers
Ted Wulfers is a Los Angeles based singer-songwriter, multi instrumentalist, and more. Phil and Ted are longtime friends, going back to Ted's time in Chicago. At the time of this interview, they had just completed a new album by Phil Circle at Ted's Sherman Oaks studio. Although they had shared many stages and social activities, this was their first collaboration on an album.  Not prone to profound discussions with each other in the past, in this podcast you are privy to the effect creative collaboration has on people. After five days of soulful creation, heartfelt performances, and conceptual production, it was only natural that music be discussed at its deepest level. Here are Phil and Ted at their most authentic. This was recorded at 663 Sound and in Ted's van, in Sherman Oaks, California, on March 7th, 2019. Ted added the intro and segue way you'll hear. The album that Phil and Ted produced was called Baritones 61.7 and ended up on several Best of 2019 lists. In September of the same year, Phil Circle returned to Ted Wulfer's studio to produce the audiobook version of Phil's book (see below). Here's a video of Phil and Ted upon the completion of the audiobook, found in the In The Loop playlist of Circle's YouTube page. If you're enjoying Phil Circle's discussions, check out his award-winning book, The Outback Musician's Survival Guide: One Guy's Story of Surviving as an Independent Musician, available in all formats.
36:13
March 19, 2019
Episode 2: Twenty-five Things I Love About Music (How Music Influences Our Lives)
Phil Circle runs through a list of things that excite him about music. As a critically-acclaimed musician and author and award-winning music coach, he's able to share many insights about the process of creating and learning music, its benefits for education and health, and its attachment to history and culture. Recorded on March 17th, 2019 in Chicago at Phil Circle Music. Here's Phil in a video sharing one of the 25 things, from the Hey Coach playlist of his YouTube page. If you're enjoying Phil Circle's discussions, check out his award-winning book, The Outback Musician's Survival Guide: One Guy's Story of Surviving as an Independent Musician, available in all formats.
44:13
March 18, 2019
Episode 1: Health and the Human Spirit (How Energy Changes Everything) with Jorge Patrono
Phil Circle discusses health and the human spirit with two-time Grammy-nominated Jorge Patrono who is also a documentary filmmaker. Jorge's work has taken him into the area of human energy and healing. He shares the insights he's gained from his work. Phil met Jorge when he rented his guest house in Sherman Oaks on a trip to Los Angeles to record his album Baritone 61.7 at Ted Wulfers' studio in. After a couple of brief, but profound discussions, Phil felt compelled to spend some time talking with Jorge before heading off to the studio one morning. This became the official first episode of Life, Music, and the Pursuit of Answers. If you're enjoying Phil Circle's discussions, check out his award-winning book, The Outback Musician's Survival Guide: One Guy's Story of Surviving as an Independent Musician, available in all formats.
1:05:19
March 10, 2019
An Introduction to Life, Music, and the Pursuit of Answers
Critically-acclaimed singer-songwriter-guitarist, award-winning author, and top Chicago music coach, Phil Circle, shares his reasoning for this podcast and declares your involvement crucial to its success. He gives a sense of who he is and why he's interested in more than just playing music, how he chooses guests, and where he sees this all going. Join in the dialogue. Visit Phil's main page at philcirclemusic.com. Follow Phil Circle on Twitter. Follow Phil Circle on Facebook. Follow Phil Circle on Instagram. Watch Phil Circle on YouTube. Join Phil's Mailing List. Become a Patron of Phil Circle and GBA Records.
11:02
March 10, 2019