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Random Thoughts: A community conversation with Erin Bode

Erin Bode performing at the Cotton Club in Tokyo, Japan.

This week, Mid Rivers Newsmagazine talks with local recording artist Erin Bode. A Minnesota-native, Bode studied vocal jazz at Webster University before beginning her career as a professional vocalist. Bode and her band have released eight albums and toured the United States and multiple other countries in Europe and Asia. The most recent album, Here & Now, was released in 2016 and will soon be remastered for vinyl. She has made multiple appearances performing on CBS’s “Second Cup Café,” Fox News’ Fox and Friends and Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion.” She currently serves as the artist-in-residence at Missouri Baptist University. 

What’s the farthest you’ve ever been from home?

I’d have to actually calculate the mileage, but it would have to be Japan or South Africa. Probably South Africa, that might be farther. The flights are really long, but they weren’t so bad because you’re excited to get where you’re going

What is your ‘and then it got worse’ story?

Oh, boy. There are a few of those. There was this venue we played in Wisconsin … We had never played there before. It was an intimate club kind of thing. It was also a stopover between two larger gigs. Our manager had been talking to the venue owner and kind of getting the lay of the land in what we could expect, and he [the owner] said all the right stuff. He said, “We’ll make sure to wine and dine them, and they’ll play from this time to this time, and our sound guy will take care of the sound, and there’s a piano,” and all these things we needed to have. So, we get to the venue and we don’t see the owner. He’s not around, and we can’t get into our sound check because they’re having a Bible study in the bar. … Finally, the venue owner shows up and starts to tell us about what’s going to happen that night. He said, “Well, we’ll have your sound check. The problem is that the sound guy went home and I’m not sure when he’s coming back.” … Then he said, “OK, so we have the piano here. The problem is that it’s not on stage. It’s a real piano, but there’s no way for us to move it on stage.” … Then, he said, “Don’t worry, we are going to wine and dine you. I’ve got some pizzas in the freezer and lots of Jägermeister.” … We laughed about it for years after that just for the stories … We were laughing during the gig too because it was just outrageous.

What do you wish your brain was better at doing?

Organization, for sure. I wish I was more detail-oriented. That would really come in handy, especially for entrepreneurialism. I procrastinate badly, but I’m not sure if that’s a brain thing or a more emotional one. Maybe a little of both. I also wish I was better at numbers and math. I know that would come in handy, too. So far, I’ve been OK without algebra, but there’s always going to be that one time. I have found that certain details, like when I’m focused on something, I do OK and can pay very close attention. So, in a creative sense, I think I’m much better with details. But as far as my day-to-day life and getting things done and organizing my day and making sure I don’t miss things – that’s probably one of my greatest weaknesses in marketing myself, which is why I have a team because that’s not the part of music I love.

If you could call yourself at any point in your life, when would you call and what would you say?

I usually put a silver lining on things, so I don’t see a lot of things as not having at least some form of a good learning experience, even if they were bad. For example, I’m thinking about business decisions I made that I probably shouldn’t have. But at the same time, I might have made them later on if I hadn’t made that earlier mistake to begin with. I’m sort of a “meant to be” type of person. I feel like the way things turn out, that’s how you move forward – knowing what you know now. If I were to avoid learning something, that might be to my detriment rather than my advantage. 

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