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Stephen DiJoseph, Musician, Filmmaker, and Tourette Advocate
Episode 30925th March 2024 • Your World of Creativity • Mark Stinson
00:00:00 00:22:52

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In this episode of "Your World of Creativity," host Mark Stinson interviews award-winning musician, speaker, and filmmaker Stephen DiJoseph.

Stephen's Website

Stephen on YouTube

@stephendijoseph on Instagram

Stephen's Facebook page

Stephen, a neurodiverse musician, has released international albums with the Deko label and the ADA group of Warner Music. With 10 albums, award-winning films, and numerous live performances and TV appearances, Stephen shares insights into his creative journey and personal experiences living with Tourette's syndrome.


- Stephen's creative process evolves constantly, with creativity waiting for no specific time, leading him to prioritize inspiration and organization.

- His multiple genre disorder challenges him to create full albums for each project, bringing organization to his diverse musical styles.

- Stephen's filmmaking and speaking engagements complement his music, allowing him to tell his life story and advocate for neurodiversity.

Key Quote from Stephen:

"Creativity waits for no one. That's what I could say, any time of the day or night. And most people who are, should I say in service to it, know that and they go for it. At all costs."

Join us as we continue to explore creativity worldwide, learning from practitioners like Stephen DiJoseph who inspire and innovate in their respective fields.


  Welcome back, friends, to our podcast, Unlocking Your World of Creativity. And today we're going to talk about the world of an award winning musician, speaker, filmmaker, Stephen DiJoseph. Stephen, welcome to the show. Mark, . Stephen is a neurodiverse musician. He's broken all sorts of ground and international releases with the Deko label and the ADA group of Warner Music.

He's got 10 albums under his belt plus some great award winning films and Hundreds if not thousands of live performances and TV appearances. We've got lots to talk about and his story also includes his very personal experiences living with Tourette's syndrome. Stephen.

It's so great to have you on the show. Awesome to be here. Your career as it spans four decades by now, multiple albums and singles and all sorts of performances. How do you think your creative process has evolved over those years? What are some lessons you've learned that you could share with our listeners?

Creativity waits for no one. That's what I could say, any time of the day or night. And most people who are, should I say in service to it, know that and they go for it. At all costs. So I found that as an artist don't have writer's block.

And sometimes I don't understand writers block. I guess what I have is organizers blocked. Fortunately, I can find people to help me with that. The writers blocks a little harder. I think that the most of what I've learned is there's always something coming, and sometimes it's just not convenient, but years, it's okay. Like I, my life. I have a life as a musician and most of the times I have plenty of opportunity to put ideas down and thanks to the little phones and you just flip on and

yes. Yeah, it's so interesting hearing so many different kinds of creative, like you say, it's inspiration is one thing, but the organization is another.

So from file folders of napkins and slips of paper to the phone and the little samples and demos that we can make on our own now.

Yes. I always admired the story of Frank Zappa who said there was a point where he was working mostly alone on stuff in a studio with what was considered then a flagship sampling keyboard called the Synclever.

And he would write ideas all day. And then this person would come in at night and file all of them for him. It's like, where's that person? Yes, sir. I just have about 30 years of stuff to. Way through. There you

go. And so as we, I try to, balance those two, inspiration and organization. Sooner or later, there's a button you have to push that says, I want to record.

I want to send. I want to publish. How do you get over that? Like you said, it's not a block of writer's block, but the organization block. How do you get over the hump to get the work out? ,

I push everything aside, , and I go to what has to happen. So one of the things, one of the challenges I have on top of the organization part is the I have what I call MGD, which is multiple genre disorder.

. So that has brought me into a lot of styles of music. And so what I started to do was make full albums of each of the projects. And so that organized things automatically because. There's a procedure, a recording procedure preparing the songs, arranging them and do, recording and all of that stuff.

I think when you have a project, let's see where to start with when you have a project that helps organize everything. And as you move along with the project you need to have a list of the things that are going to happen. In other words, you're going to work on the music. And at the same time, you're going to think about where you're sending it.

And you're going to think about who would be interested in, and you're going to make those lists. You're going to have things you separated into, the where marketing used to make me shake and cringe and stuff, but I learned that is just only the part that just one part, one very important part of.

The entire creative thing, if you are trying to get your music out to people, it could be just, you just want your album to be go to 100 people, on your friends list or something, but it's still a little planning and the planning needs to be have separate lists and sometimes color coding them can help, this is red, this is green, this is yellow and that kind of, those kinds of notes at least get you in the ballpark, even if it's like giving a speech. Where I'll just have a phrase and then launch off of that phrase rather than read the entire speech, it's like the same thing with organizing stuff, you need to reach radio stations. Okay. Then you'll need a list of radio stations and you need to understand the procedure of reaching them, so there's all these little moves, but you can do them step at a time and it's a good idea to start it even when you're recording.

So that you're in the habit by the time you're done, you're not just sitting there with the record. Oh, I get the record. Hey, that's right. There

we go. I'll listen to it. You mentioned this multi genre. I was going to observe and listening through your music. You don't seem to be confined or stuck in any one particular sound.


It's like a record company's nightmare in a way. Not the label I'm with because I, obviously I, I choose. the direction I'll go, especially if it's a label that is in a certain direction or, so with this label, I could have gone in the instrumental direction, but I chose to go with the songs I had because they were very special songs to me that it's almost like a collection, a best of collection, if you will from several different projects, some that weren't really released.

But that said so I picked that genre. I, that was my pet my pet project, if you will, that I wanted to get this. Now that I had this opportunity to get it out with this international support I felt that was like a really good move with those songs.

Good move, indeed. Part of your story is also being a, excuse me, being a neurodiverse musician and advocate.

How has your experience with Tourette's kind of influenced and informed your artistry, your storytelling?

In the beginning, I didn't quite understand how. When I was, it showed up when I was six. Okay. And along with my almost simultaneously with my desire to become a musician, it was very odd.

And it was about 10 years. Didn't know what it was. About age 16, I finally heard the word Tourette's in my case. And it meant almost nothing because I don't know what the rest was. So the doctor explained, the vocal tics, the blurting sometimes cursing take moving body movements.

It gave a frame of what was going on, but I, the depth of understanding about, I had 10 years where I didn't have a label. So I figured it was just part of being. Artistic, it was in a way with the word tickle, artistic. So I'm always, that's why I have this project called a synaptic adventure, but because everybody has that synaptic adventure and everybody has this process in their brain, but this was my specific one.

So I called it a synaptic adventure, but nobody was really using the term synaptic adventure. So I feel like it became part of my project Tourette's and beyond. Because it engages, it starts with Tourette's for me, but it really is a whole spectrum of Neuro conditions that also exhibit extreme creativity In all kinds of fields, no gates, all kinds of directions you have this neurally gnarled Variants, where things are seen differently.

And it's very interesting because I think it's what makes as I studied, as I was preparing a film that I made about this, I. I just discovered that there was like, almost like a an organization for celebrities with OCD, and it seems that these conditions have these sides to them where they add like a dimension in the brain or it opens up a dimension in the brain that allows hyper creativity.

And that's what I've seen, it's it's

so interesting. You put those words, synaptic adventures together, the adventure, certainly your music is meant to evoke a lot of deep emotions, certainly. And you're thinking about your own personal vulnerability and yet that strength that comes through your music is this by design?

Is this what you're trying to communicate that? It's not a quote weakness, but rather it can be an adventure. I think I'm

like the was there's a movie called the accidental tourists, basically is the armchair traveler, I you have something that's physically noticeable.

And it's because the elephant in the room, what's it? The white elephant. I forget that they phrase health in the room, so it's I'm there and I'm playing music and I'm making these, and I guess people figure that that's part of this thing, but I wonder what it is. Some people used to think I was.

Tripping because certain gigs I'd be playing, whatever things go. So it became at a certain point a fellow fellow who does, it was an amazing designer marketer guys. Like he said, you gotta realize this is like a this is a superpower, and this is like an advantage if you will, if you want to look at it.

From this perspective, it makes the music that you're playing adds, it does something to it, whether it's not so much, I don't know what the term would be. It makes, it adds to what I do. And it's part of my life. It's like my nose, it's been with me all my life. And that is definitely in the music.

I think specifically in the instrumental music that I do on the piano it's that's the most blew it. I think of instruments that I play because it was like the sort of heart of everything. I got into guitar later and I got a percussion and I got into producing and film and all that stuff later, but the piano has always been something where it's a sort of an extension.

And so we labeled my style piano poetry, which was came in there and it the idea was classical and jazz meet quirk and funk. And that was like how the whole Tourette. And then when I would perform, I started doing a piece, I started labeling this piece Tourette's, which was like a Tourette jazz, so all of this said, the whole point is that. I'm in performances. I'm not lecturing at all. I'm just being, and that's part of the story. And then people are curious and I'm like this is my story, so that, that said, then if I'm speaking, which I do these keynote concerts, where I'm speaking on this topic of inspiration and determination and the music and accents.

The talk, but a concert is everything works together, the

poetry is evident. I love that you've coined all these great phrases, and I'm going to list a bunch of them in the show notes because I want people to see it and hear it. I don't want to skip by it. Amen. They were all too good.

Yeah. Thanks for sharing this. That's great. Yes. And we'll play some more music here too for listeners to enjoy. Yes. So we'll come back to you were talking about the international album release and the support you're getting from Deko Entertainment and also the ADA music group of Warner. What brought these collaborations to the forefront and, how does it feel to really start reaching a wider audience with these great music supporters?

That's really amazing. It's I go on my analytics map on my website because I, I'm so used to as an independent artist, like knowing how I'm trying to have my hand on the pulse of everything. But with something like this, it's really, it's not really possible to know.

What's going on everywhere. You can search the internet and I do that pretty frequently. I go on for the album title and I go in for my name and I see, so I've found oh my gosh, my music streaming in India, or it's Asia now it's Japan and it's and so that's new for me because I've, even though there are these certain services that give you quote world distribution, it's really not, it's different when you're with a label because.

They're like automatic, you're like everywhere and it's at the same time and it's it's really wonderful because that's what made me want to do the album that I did because I felt like those songs needed to be heard or I wanted them to be heard worldwide as much as I can. So that's helped in people paying a little more attention, I think I'm finding that at least,

so clearly we've been talking about the music, but you also mentioned filmmaking and a lot of speaking engagements.

How do you feel that these other creative outlets? How did they compliment each other? How they, how does one inspire the other? I often find in talking with creative people like you, that there's a lot of dashes and slashes, multi creative, there's always a songwriter, there's a filmmaker, and there's a speaker.

Wait a second. How did all these come together? So how did these ingredients help you?

In a way they didn't help. Because they made, another element to be another thing to be tended to, if you will, essentially what one thing it was organic, with the advent of the Mac, the little, that little, I don't know what they called it, that the iMac, a little multicolored.

Weird shaped boxes, and I

can still see that on my desk, right? , yeah.

I was like, oh my gosh, you can make movies? Oh my gosh, you can record your music? And everything like that started to happen. Coming from the time when you had to go to the stu for me, I had to go in the studio and that was maybe once a week and I'd wait and have to, work on things and but now here's this tool in front of me.

To experiment with things and that was and the price tag on making videos That I wanted to make was like five grand or something at the time and I was like, you know I want to try that myself when I have this song and i'll make this video and I went nuts with that The video actually got nominated in a music contest and that was pretty cool.

And I, so I thought this is pretty cool. I can, I have a knack for this. So I just kept developing that. And when I reached the point where I wanted to tell my life story about Tourette's I did a fundraiser, a Kickstarter, and I raised enough money to get the computer and get the program and.

And develop the story that way, so that I would say everything worked together, the genres are, because I just was always interested in different styles. At one point someone that I was dating as a Celtic musician many years ago, and. She said, can you do the thing you do, that piano poetry thing under Celtic music, under Irish music.

I'm like why not? It's chords or changes. My mindset and I wasn't a traditional artist. I just started doing that. And we suddenly had this like Celtic jazz duo. And so that, things like that were very organic for me. I just wanted to explore something and it became when it became something that I thought was worth.

recording, that's what I would go on to do. With the guitar, I there was a gentleman passed away named Michael Hedges, if you've heard of him. Yes, I've heard

of him, yes. Incredible musician. Loved his music, yes.

That's genius, hearing that and then when he passed, I got, I think his spirit, that energy just spread all over the earth and a lot of those kinds of tapping things started to really flourish.

And so I got into that thing myself, but I was like I. There's no way I'm going to work on this instrument like I have on the piano with the classical training and all this stuff. So I'm going to play with tunings and, get toward to what I had enough musicality that I could just start to explore with it.

So I got into that and then that became a project. So that's usually what it is. If it reaches a point where I think it's really decent, it should be put out. That's what. Direct me with all that. Love that.

You've been great talking about your music and also this idea of empowerment and advocacy for neurodiversity, especially in Tourettes.

Steven just can't thank you enough for a great conversation. My pleasure. Tell us where we can find you and follow you and hear more of your

music. Okay. So following me so Facebook, I use that a lot. josephus and film. Instagram. com slash Steven DeJoseph.

And that's with a P H D I J O S E P H, Stephen DeJoseph. Then so Facebook and Instagram are mostly where I'm at. I'm playing with Tik Tok. I don't know. And then it's a great place to hear. Your music there Stephen D. Joseph. com.

Fantastic. We're going to put all those links in the show notes.

So it's easy for people to follow and cause the work is awesome and get ready folks, cause it is multi genre. So if you think you're only going to hear one note over and over, get ready. You're going to hear a lot of good stuff. That's right. Yeah you've been very inspirational sharing your insights and your experience, and I think we'll leave the listeners with some more music as we go out of the podcast.

So thanks for sharing that too. You bet. And listen, come back again next time. We're going to continue our around the world journeys, talking to creative practitioners everywhere. We love to hear how they get in. And as we've heard today, how you have to organize those ideas to actually make the connections and gain the collaborations and ultimately the confidence to get your work out into the world.

And we've learned a lot from Stephen Di Joseph today. So come back again next time and we'll continue to unlock your world of creativity.



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