Interview with Keaton Simons

Interview with Keaton Simons, Marin Magazine

ER: You were one of my favorite discoveries on Train’s “Sail Across the Sun” cruise, and then I was blown away when I checked you out online and realized your extensive musical career. How did you get your start?

KS: I did some professional singing as a child for Danny Elfman and Disney. Then when I was 17 I met and soon became musical director for SlimKid3 from legendary hip hop group The Pharcyde. That’s when my career really started.  

ER: Your music has been featured on many hit TV shows, including “Sons of Anarchy,” “Suits,” and “NCIS: Los Angeles.” How does a song get chosen for a TV or movie soundtrack? Do you still get excited when you hear your music on TV?

KS: That happens thanks to the amazingly supportive music supervisor community! I definitley still get excited 🙂 

ER: In 2012 you formed your own record label, Best Revenge Records. What are the advantages and disadvantages in that decision?

KS: It was a fun and educational adventure. The advantage is you own everything and the disadvantage is that you have to pay for everything! Haha. 

ER: You’ve also acted in several shows, including “Malcolm in the Middle,” “American Dreams,” and “Californication.” Do you love one artistic outlet more than the other?

KS: My central passion and focus is definitely music, but I also quite enjoy acting. I’d love to try a role I could really sink my teeth into. 

ER: You’ve co-wrote songs with some amazing artists, including Jason Mraz and Josh Kelley, and co-produced work with artists like Colbie Caillat and One Republic. What are the benefits of collaborating with other artists? 

KS: I really love collaborating with people! When you get the right collaboration you’re able to create something none of the individuals could on their own.

ER: You toured with Chris Cornell. Can you give us any insight about him? I’m still mourning the loss of his presence.

KS: For all the stuff I did with Chris we only rehearsed twice! A man after my own heart. He didn’t want to compromise the magic that comes with spontaneity. He was an extraordinary person in every way and I’ll always miss him.  

ER: You just released a phenomenal new album, “123 Go,” that I can’t stop listening to. How long in the making was this album/ how was the process?  And what’s next? 

KS: This was a super fun record to make! I got to do the whole thing in Nashville, TN with awesome producer Marshall Altman. He assembled a band of the best and we tracked live in the room together. Then we took it to Marshall’s studio for the finishing touches 🙂 What’s next is hitting the road and promoting this new EP! 

Keaton Simons will be appearing this weekend as part of the Taste of Yountville Food, Wine, and Music Festival on Sunday, March 18th from 2:30 – 3:00 on the Jessup Cellars Stage.  

Emilie Rohrbach

Emilie Rohrbach has taught music and theater to grades pre-school through 8th in San Francisco and Marin counties for the last 20 years. She has been a freelance writer for Divine Caroline for five years, and her writing has appeared in Narratively, Hippocampus, Common Ground, Travelers’ Tales, and Marin Magazine, among others. She is passionate about Room to Read, Shanti Bhavan, and Destiny Arts and serves on the board of Knighthorse Theatre Company.