After The Road Ahead Summit, and in honor of National Coming Out Day, we sat down with rule-breaking panelist JD Samson to talk about music, forging your own path and why authenticity is so important.
You're a creative by nature, tell us a bit about what projects you're working on now?
I'm working on a solo record that I have been working on for my entire life, a book, a movie, and teaching full time to the next generation of artistic geniuses.
What does it mean to you be an out and proud creative in the music industry?
To be real, I'm just me. I just keep being me. More importantly right now, I'm becoming a better me, because the old one was just eh. Promoting people to get better is important to me. So we can shine as a team.
At what point in your life did you recognize your identity as LGBTQ was an advantage for you in your career and industry?
I'm not sure it has been. Tokenization is pretty bad for your career, and having a community has nothing to do with making money from them, or working towards capitalism. The best time in my career was when we barely charged for shows and had no intention of making money from our project.
If you could name three key elements as the sources of your inspiration to help drive you forward, what would they be?
Working as hard as I can to prove to myself that I am powerful and strong willed and can do my best at every moment. My friends and family that believe in me and make work that inspires me because they worked so hard. That in order to have longevity I need to string along a whole lot of nows.
What challenges have you faced in getting to where you are today?
Myself. Myself. Myself. Insecurity was big, including not dealing with things from my past that created more insecurity. Also, caring what other people think of me.
Why do you think forging your own path is so important?
Authenticity is one of the most important aspects of our human experience. No one is like you.
What advice would you give to someone looking to make a name for themselves as a photographer or creative?
Do your research. Learn. Keep your head in your work. Not the fame. Success comes with respect, so be the person who deserves it.