Trumpet Dynamics

Why Having a Gig is the Best Possible Way to Promote Yourself (feat. Brian Newman)

43 Interviews
1 objective
peak musical performance

Did you know what you wanted to do with your life when you were 12 years old?

Brian Newman did. He attended a masterclass with the great drummer Louie Bellson, and Louie asked all the kids, "What do you want to do with your music?"

There wasn't a doubt in Brian's mind. He wanted to make it happen as a jazz musician in New York City.

Not everyone saw the potential that he did, however. His jazz teacher in high school placed him in the 10th chair in the second tier jazz band and told him flatly that he'd never make it as a jazz player.

In Brian's words: "The more people told me no, the more I wanted it."

So, after finishing school, with first and last month's rent and $500 in his pocket, he moved to New York to make it happen.

It wasn't easy, and certainly no one gave him anything more than he deserved. He worked every job and took every gig he possibly could to make ends meet.

Pouring water for customers in a restaurant. Working for a moving company.

"I was raised to work hard, no matter what I do."

While working one of those "dirty jobs" as a bartender, Brian met a gal named "Stef." You probably know her as Lady Gaga.

They had a few things in common, and became friends.

Years later, after "Stef" had begun to become the personna we know today, she needed a trumpet player for her jazz band.

Who else would she call than the guy who had proven himself to be willing to do the dirty work, to pay his dues and expect nothing short of excellence every time he took the stage?

This is the story of Brian Newman, bandleader, trumpeter, vocalist and Verve Recording Artist.

In this interview, exclusive to Trumpet Dynamics, we take a deep dive into many aspects of his career:

  • Why it's important to honor the past, but not try to replicate it. (Referring to jazz music)
  • How people telling him "No" became a source of motivation.
  • The story of the trumpet tattoo on Lady Gaga's arm. (Brian has the same one.)
  • Why just doing the work made him the right person for the job when the big call came.
  • Performing modern pop and rock music in a jazz context.
  • Does jazz have a universal appeal, or is he successful because of his location?
  • Why Brian hates referring to his music as a "product."
  • How to promote yourself without being pushy, or "salesy".
  • What Brian did to promote himself as a musician before modern tools like Facebook and Instagram.
  • If all the gigs were to go away tomorrow, what Brian would do to get back on his feet.

What an honor it was to have Brian on the podcast and we look forward to hearing more from him in the future!

Be sure to check him out on the web at

Leave a Comment