Avery Dey Interview with Bassist Keith Mason

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    This is another of a new series on SoulTracks called "Music Avery Dey" with interviews by soul music writer Avery Dey. See more about Avery Dey at the bottom of this page.

    AD:  Hello Mr. Mason.  How are you?  Are you Ready?

    KM: Well, hello.  I sure am and I have no idea what the expectations are… (Laughs)  You know, this is the first time that I have been interviewed so it’s exciting for me.

    AD:  Well I am honored for as well.

    AD: So tell us a little bit about yourself.

    This is another of a new series on SoulTracks called "Music Avery Dey" with interviews by soul music writer Avery Dey. See more about Avery Dey at the bottom of this page.

    AD:  Hello Mr. Mason.  How are you?  Are you Ready?

    KM: Well, hello.  I sure am and I have no idea what the expectations are… (Laughs)  You know, this is the first time that I have been interviewed so it’s exciting for me.

    AD:  Well I am honored for as well.

    AD: So tell us a little bit about yourself.

    KM: Ok, I’m originally from Little Rock, Arkansas…born and raised there.  Graduated there, went off and joined the military, The Marine Corps.  I did 4 years in The Marine Corps and when I got out there were no jobs so I went back to school.  I went back to college, obtained my degree and from there the Federal Government recruited me.  I’ve been with them for the past 27 years; I became eligible to retire 2 years ago. 

          With regards to my music, I’ve been doing that for a long time.  I am self-taught and I started at the age of 13.  I’m left handed and back then when I started playing in order to play a left handed bass I would’ve had to flip it upside down.  It was really ugly that way so I taught myself how right-handed even though I’m left-handed.  That was interesting but basically I’ve been playing for going on 40 years.

    AD: Wow, now are there any other instruments that you play?

    KM: It’s interesting that you ask because in the 6th grade that’s when they opened kids up to music in the schools.  I said, “Hey, you know, I want to play the drums.”  I thought that by me playing the drums that I would be taught how to play the whole set.  Well little did I know that you only played the snare, I was able to play but a little disappointed and back then money was tight, so when your parents went out and spent money…you were stuck with it.  So I played the drums (snare) up to the 12th grade. 

    AD: Do you remember the first tune that you learned with your guitar?

    KM: The first tune that I learned…I sure do.  It was KC and the Sunshine Band and it was called “Get Down Tonight”. I used to love that song and it was the very first song that I learned all the way through.

    AD: Now that you’ve learned the bass, what songs do you like to play now?

    KM:  Starting out it was mainly R&B and Funk, old school.  It was just recently that I started playing Smooth Jazz and Gospel.  I started playing Smooth Jazz in the late 90’s and really fell in love with that.  I would say Gospel was more recent than that.  I started paying gospel in 2002-2003.

    AD: What made you want to produce music?

    KM: I was married once before and I was just sitting around playing, a couple guys said, “Hey man, why don’t you come down to the studio and play with us?”  I got with a couple of guys and we were playing around, once we finished they went off and did their own thing but I hung around.  I was just fooling around and the engineer said “Hey man, who is that?” I told him that was mine; that was something that I had in my head.  He said “Wow man, that’s really live.”  So he recorded some of it for me and I remember taking it home and my first wife, she has passed now, she died from breast cancer, she listened to it and said, “This is really good, I mean really good.  You should record some of this stuff.” That was my very first CD.  It was mainly because of her.  I had a lot going on and it was my way to vent.  It allowed me to develop a relationship with the Lord. You know when folks get sick and they have a terminal illness or disease, the first person that you call is Jesus.  Just by that experience it allowed me to develop a relationship with the Lord and really get to know him and at the same time it developed this passion that I had within me all along.  To do this…to play music.

    AD: That is amazing!  So in addition to the support of former wife and current wife, are there any musicians that you admire or have learned from?

    KM: (Laughs) There are so many of them.  I have to be honest, growing up back in the day one of my favorites… Charlie Wilson.  You’ll hear me talk about Charlie Wilson and the Gap Band all the time.  I would talk about Frankie Beverly, Earth Wind and Fire, Barry White, The Love Unlimited Orchestra, Stevie Wonder it’s so many.  If I had to narrow it down my favorite would be Charlie Wilson.

    AD: Now why is that?

    KM: You know…he’s soulful.  The sound that he brings is a big sound and the connection that he had with him and his brothers.  It was all about love when he and his brothers were out there on stage together.

    AD: Have you ever or ever wanted to play with any of these artists?

    KM: I haven’t and that’s one of my long-term goals.  What’s interesting about this whole thing is that it’s a reality now.  I went on a cruise last year, and had a chance to get with Gerald Veasly and met a couple of artists on the ship. I was joking around with them but I was kind of serious too.  I told them “Hey don’t be surprised if you guys see me on stage with you guys.  With this latest CD out, I just might do that.

    AD: Yeah, so tell me more about your CDs.

    KM: Ok, I currently have 3 out but the one that has really taken off is “King Of The Most High”, the latest one.  When I put out the first CD (I believe) it was floating out on iTunes and a lady by the name of Jane Trent(?), a rep with Smoothjazz.com sent me an email and was asking about the CD.  I asked “would you think about giving me an opportunity and listening to the CD, playing the songs.  She ran it by Sandy Shore and they picked “Gathering in His Name” from the CD “Prazin”.  That was the only one that they played.  Now the second CD, “Hangin With J.C.”, I sent that to them and they chose two songs from that one: “Takes Faith” and “Angels Watchin Over Me”.  Now with this third CD “King Of The Most High”, when I sent this one over to them they came back with an email and were very excited about it.  They said this CD has potential.  They felt like it was ready for corporate listening.  They said I really need to get this out to the listeners because it was very good.  I did what I had to do, we set up some arrangements and that is how it has taken off.

    AD: What are your favorite tracks?

    KM: Boy, my favorite track… “A Decision To Love” That’s the on that they are playing;  and I would not have thought they would have chosen that one.

    AD: Really, why not?

    KM: I didn’t think that it would cross over but they chose that one and it’s one of my favorites.  Let me tell you how that particular song and title came about.  My pastor was giving a sermon and the sermon was “A Decision to Love”.  It was about Jesus, he made a decision to love us, how he died on Calvary because of his decision to love us.  That sermon touched me so much; it was in my soul.  The song was already written but I came home and I out that title to it with a couple of scriptures and that’s how it came about.

    Check out Keith at CD Baby


    AD: That’s deep!!

    KM: A lot of people don’t know this but my music is my ministry.  What I do with my music is to simply tell the story.  The story is Romans 10:9, try to save souls.  When you look at my CDs and the titles of the CD they are referenced in the Bible.  The goal is to get your head to bobbin’, get you interested in the music and then start reading the CD. 

    Traditionally what I will do with CD, is provide smooth jazz and mainly instrumentals, I’ll take one or two songs and I’ll put a hook there.  The hook is usually referencing something out of the King James Bible like on “King Of The Most High”,

    AD: Have you ever considered having your CDs sold in other church bookstores, other outlets?

    KM: I would love to do that but to be honest, just starting out and being independent, I just don’t have those connections.  I do everything myself, I do the art work, the designing, the pulling of scriptures, writing and arranging and producing the music…it’s a one man show.  I love this; this is my passion. It’s said and I believe it: “If you love what you’re doing you don’t work a day in your life.” 

    AD: I have to agree with that statement.  (Both Laugh)

    KM: To go back to your question, I’d love to get more music out because it’s all about spreading the word of God.  That’s what it’s all about for me.  I’ve been playing music for years but it really became easy for me, it really became simple when I aligned my music with the word of God.  It just took off at that point. I’ve always enjoyed it but that’s when it went to a new level.

    For a few years I played with this R&B band and people would ask me “Why are you going in the clubs playin and you are talking about Jesus, this and that?” I would tell them in those clubs I may be the only bit of Jesus that they get.  I say that to say this, it’s about sharing the word.  You don’t have to be a minister; you just have to have a testimony.  I’m not here to preach to you but to tell you how good he’s been to me.

    AD: If you had to describe your music in 3 words, what would they be?

    KM: Lets see…Soulful, Inspirational and Smooth. 

    AD: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What are your long term or short term goals?

    KM: My short-term goal is to get on a east 25 radio stations but my long term goal is to make this my second career and to perform with some of the major artists out there.  That is a goal for me because of my personality.  I’m an introvert but when I’m on stage I’m an extravert.  I can’t explain it but it’s like I’m in a completely different place.  I’m in my zone when I’m on stage and I live for that.

    AD: I’ve heard that from so many artists who say the same thing.

    KM: Wow, I thought it was just me.  (Laughs)

    KM: I remember speaking with a radio personality on the West Coast, after my second CD was released and I was trying to get them to paly it.  She said “The program Director is looking for someone who is tested and a little seasoned” What she didn’t realize is that I am tested and I am seasoned.  I’ve been doing this for going on 40 years.  I performed many times.  It’s just unfortunate but it’s true, it’s not what you know but whom you know.  That’s why I say a long term goal is to get on stage with some of the legends that have been doing this for a while.  I feel that the Lord is positioning me for this.  I mentioned that I started this early and I used to ask myself why the Lord did allow me success at an early age.  The answer is that I wouldn’t have been able to handle it. Now that I am matured, I believe in my spirit that the Lord believes that I’m ready.  If that makes sense.

    AD: It does, I can understand that.

    AD: So where can fans purchase your music?
    KM: Ok, CD Baby (cdbaby.com), Amazon, CD Universe and my website which is KeithAMason.com.

    AD: Thank you so very much again for your time.  This has been such an inspirational conversation.  I look forward to hearing big things from you.  God Bless!

    KM: Thank you for the opportunity and many blessings to you as well.



    About Music Avery Dey 

    Inspired at a young age, music has always been a driving force in my life.  Having been exposed to many genres and events centered around music, I wanted this series to bring the human aspect of the artist to the music that we love. 

    My passion for the music and desire to introduce new artists and the artists from yesterday, has been my dream for quite some time.

    I am your “Avery Dey” individual who wants to share my musical appetite through my series entitled “Music Avery Dey”.  I believe that music allows us to express emotion without words yet it cannot be silenced.  It’s a powerful instrument that influences us all. 

    You can experience more artist insights on my website AveryDeyEntertainment.com



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