We recently connected with Zac Flynn and have shared our conversation below.
Zac, appreciate you joining us today. It’s always helpful to hear about times when someone’s had to take a risk – how did they think through the decision, why did they take the risk, and what ended up happening. We’d love to hear about a risk you’ve taken.
At 32 I’ve taken many risks in my life, honestly more than I would like to admit. I chose to let my passion for music performance guide me to achieve a bachelor’s degree in music, that was a risk. I think most people would agree that pursuing a career in music, in general, is a risk. Building my band and business Eminence Ensemble from the ground up with my best friends was a risk. Driving across the country countless times, through snow, rain, sleet, and hail in pursuit of our dreams was (and still is) pretty risky! But the biggest risk I’ve ever taken was my decision to go back to school when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. After having a 30 city tour, including what would have been our first ever Red Rocks performance pulled out from under us, I was working odd jobs to make ends meet, and honestly miserably depressed. A good friend told me to look into coding, which was something I’d never done. After I did some free courses online I honestly fell in love with coding and I decided to take the risk. I applied and was accepted to Flatiron School, where I completed a 10 month, 60 hrs per week software engineering program. Six weeks after I graduated I landed my dream job at Lively, connecting professional musicians and fans for lessons, meet and greets, and live streaming musical performances. Aside from being a perfect fit, my new career in tech allows me to continue pursuing my ambitions as a performer and code while I am on the road with the band. I have never been happier, or busier!
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
I was born and raised in Breckenridge, CO. When I was a teenager I started playing music with my neighbor Justin Neely. He got a guitar for his birthday and I asked my parents for a bass. We spent basically all of our time practicing and rehearsing, even at that age. The first time we played on stage, we won the local battle of the bands when we were in middle school. We both decided to pursue music at the University of Colorado in Boulder after high school, and while I was studying classical music and jazz on upright bass at CU I was saturated with music from all over the globe. I started gigging weekly with Ghanaian drum prodigies Paa Kow and Atta Addo, where I really cut my teeth into the details of rhythm and started developing my sound. It was near the end of my time in Boulder that I, along with Justin Neely, Tanner Bardin, and Nick Baum, formed “Eminence Ensemble”, and started writing original rock, funk, jam, and dance music. From the ground up we have built a brand, played countless venues of all sizes all across the country, including some of the largest music festivals in America, and recorded multiple records. We have dedicated our lives to refining our craft, our songs, and our dreams. With the addition of the extremely talented Dylan Gleit and Wil Snyder, Eminence Ensemble just returned from a very successful five-week tour through the midwest and northeast, which was our first tour out since the pandemic hit. We just released a two-song EP on all streaming platforms called “Don’t Hold Your Breath”, and we are preparing to release a second EP in the coming months featuring Chris Myers of Umphrey’s Mcgee. We have a busy spring and summer ahead with multiple festival performances, and we are recording our third full-length album.
Is there mission driving your creative journey?
The mission of my creative journey is simply to create. It’s something I almost feel that I was born to do. Music decorates time, and without it, our time here would be a lot less interesting!
Are there any books, videos or other content that you feel have meaningfully impacted your thinking?
I read a lot of philosophy, and one of my favorite books is called “Still The Mind” by Alan Watts. Watts points out that “You may think there’s no point in singing unless you are good at it, but that is like saying there is no point in doing anything at all unless you are particularly gifted at it, which is ridiculous.”. This is the mindset I try to take into every bit of my life. We are all on a path, always constantly moving forward. It’s not always clear what lies ahead but that shouldn’t stop us from walking.
- Website: https://www.eminenceensemble.com
- Instagram: @zacflynnbass
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/zac.flynn
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/zacflynn
- Twitter: zacharyflynn06
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzGhe6JMn99ZGR9IDNEL4SA
Courtney Scout, Tara Gracer