Musician Otis Gibbs will be performing at Crawl Church on March 29. *Photo supplied
Musician Otis Gibbs will be performing at Crawl Church on March 29. *Photo supplied
Otis Gibbs plays xylophone and vibraphone and studied music professionally in Boston, North Carolina and Georgia.

He will be performing with an intriguing mix of music students, their teachers and other professional musicians at Crawl Church, Hamilton Parish on Saturday, March 29.

Interview by Sarah Lagan.

What motivated you to study music and why the xylophone and vibraphone instruments?

There were only a few things that motivated me to study music, and that was because my parents were proud of me doing it without having to be told to practice, and the fact that I can make money from it. The Xys and Vibes, came into my life during high school, and noticing the connection to the piano —my principal instrument.


Who inspired you most as a child? 

My music teachers are the ones who inspired me, but there were two that stood out — a Juilliard School graduate, and an English teacher who loved to sing, dance, direct choirs, and write poems.


What benefits do children obtain from the study of music?

The benefits are enormous. Well, there is a sense of discipline and drive to learn that conditions a child to do what it is that makes them happy or sets them apart from the other kids. 

With that kind of work ethic it carries right into the classroom, which benefits not only the child, but also the teacher that has to teach them other things, besides music.


What qualities do you value in others?

 I value several things in others but when it comes to music, I really look for a sense that the person is not selfish and willing to share what they know about music with others. 


What was your most embarrassing moment? 

My most embarrassing moment was when I was a teenager and I slept on the bench at the pipe organ during a Sunday service. Obviously, the time came to play, and it certainly didn’t happen because I was just too tired. But since then I’ve learned to get a good night’s rest on Saturday nights before Sunday
services.


What is your ultimate ambition? 

My ultimate ambition I think I’ve accomplished, and that was to become a really good musician. 

Now, at this point in my life, the goal is to become a reggae jazz artist.


Describe yourself in three words.

A no nonsense, musical,  humorous type of guy, I guess.


What is your biggest regret?

I really don’t have any regrets, because everything that I’ve done, I’ve carefully thought about it before so that I won’t regret it at all.


What is the secret of your success in music?

The secret to my success is just like any other tip that all musicians have heard. Practise a lot, read about other types of music and musicians doing things within music. And get out there and play as much as you can.


What is your most memorable dream?

My most memorable dream is to compose a song the whole world would like and listen to forever.


What is the best advice you have ever been given? 

The best advice I was ever given was to never show up at a gig late, and always be prepared.


What is the nicest thing anyone has ever said to you?

The nicest thing anyone has ever said to me was, can you teach me to play like you.


What is your most treasured possession? 

My treasured possessions are my instruments. Everything else can either be given or taken away. 


What do you do if you can’t sleep? 

That’s not a problem for me, when I go to bed…I’m out.


What is your favourite film? 

My favourite films are Immortal Beloved, a movie about Beethoven — his life and  his music. The other is Gandhi — the music, the culture, and the way he did things to change the hearts and minds about what was important to not only Indian people but people all over the world.


What is your proudest achievement? 

My proudest achievement was to finish University studies knowing that I’ve got it, and no one can take it away from me. It’s all up here in my head.


Describe your music.

Well, my music now is Reggae Jazz using the Vibraphones and the Xylophones to achieve that goal. But throughout its growth they were elements of Classical, African rhythms, Soundscapes, and even Latin music.


What most important lesson has life taught you?

That lesson is to not be afraid to show who you are and what you do regardless of the circumstances.