Tidewater Women’s Fran Ward recently had a lively conversation with Brody Dolyniuk (BD), lead singer as The Virginia Symphony Orchestra performs “The Music of The Rolling Stones,” the Festival Preview for the Virginia Arts Festival.
Tidewater Women (TW): Hi, Brody! Thanks for calling. In your email confirming our call, you identified yourself as “Brody from the Windborne Music of Rolling Stones Show.” You needed no introduction. I looked you up on your website Brodyland.com, which defines you as musician/artist/producer. You are those but SO much more. You should be a household name!
BD: Thank you, Fran!
TW: Your website says to find you on Facebook and YouTube where I was going to watch ONE video as a preview to our talk. I kept watching. Dozens. And I’ll go back and watch even more. Everyone should take a look!
TW: You’re fantastic!
TW: Please tell the readers something about yourself.
BD: Well, I’m not a rock star. I’m just a normal person who loves music, and I thrive on a connection with the audience.
TW: My first question to you before I saw the videos was going to be “Do you like what you do?”
BD: (laughing) I LOVE what I do!
TW: It is so apparent. I watched you play the music of Queen, the Who, Led Zeppelin, Jim Morrison, and others. What an amazing range you have. All from the heart. The description of you as multi-talented and multi-faceted is understated. You play so many instruments (self-taught) and have, as an artist, created an ingenious pairing of rock classics and symphonic accompaniment. The combination is powerful!
BD: I love playing all styles of music. I could never have imagined growing up that this would be my life. I used to be a mechanic. My tools were my wrenches. In high school, friends would say, “You sound just like that singer...” That was just the beginning. Now I work with classically trained musicians. It’s pretty surreal.
TW: Would you call yourself a performer or an entertainer?
BD: Well, I think they’re the same. I’m a performer because I know the music. So I perform it. It gets me through life being able to present the music and be myself. I throw myself into it. If the audience connects with what I play, then I guess I have entertained them.
TW: Then it’s a matter of perspective. The first video I watched was of you at the keyboard singing Elton John’s “Rocket Man.” I had to have more. It was more than a compelling performance with entertainment value. There was depth and sincerity and compassion. How do you make the music so vibrant and alive?
BD: Thank you! Well, this music has been my companion through life. I was an only child. Growing up, I spent a lot of time in my room listening to records. You could say music has been my constant best friend.
TW: Where are you from originally?
BD: We lived all over. One day we’d be in California. The next, North Dakota; then, Oklahoma. I’ve returned to Southern California, where I have my fondest childhood memories. It’s where I first learned to love music. Piano was my first instrument. I began playing it here when I was about nine.
TW: You touch chords in a person that recreate settings from the era of the recording. Song after song, singer after singer, you convey a genuineness and a timelessness.
BD: My goal onstage is to break down a façade. I don’t rehearse my moves or what I say. I prefer to be spontaneous. There are a few things that started spontaneously and then became a recurring thing...like teaching the audience a few Mick Jagger moves, or a particular joke, etc. Other than that, what I say and do is not scripted. I just follow the moment.
TW: My last question is always “What would you like the readers of Tidewater Women to know?
BD: I guess that I appreciate what I get to do. Coming from being a mechanic to a karaoke singer, to bands, and now renowned symphonies has been quite a transformation. It has been an honor to present music intuitively that emerges from me now as second nature. I am thankful and happy. I hope the audience picks up on that.
TW: Brody, you were in line when they dished out talent. But you did not stand in the line where they served up ego. You have a spirit of play, adventure and self-discovery. I hope many readers will join me to see you on stage in Norfolk. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with Tidewater Women.
BD: You’re welcome. It has been my privilege.
The Virginia Symphony Orchestra Performs “The Music of The Rolling Stones: A Rock Symphony” • Feb. 20, 2015 at 8:00 p.m. • Ted Constant Convocation Center • 4320 Hampton Blvd., Norfolk • www.YnotTix.com or the Virginia Arts Festival Box Office www.vafest.org • 757-282-2822 ($)