Bryan Downey is a man who wears many hats. In Sag Harbor and throughout the Hamptons, he may be best known for the benefit concerts and open mics he has organized at venues including the Old Whalers Church and Bay Street Theater. More recently, he founded Sag Harbor Art Group, which brings together musicians, poets, filmmakers and artists for community events.
Downey’s Sag Harbor audio recording facility, Bulldog Studios, has had a number of talented musicians and actors pass through it, from the lesser known to the world famous.
We posed these five questions to Downey and asked him to point us to one of his songs he thinks everyone should hear:
1. Outside of music, what other talents do you have that might surprise people?
I am a professional photographer, own and operate a professional recording studio and a custom carpenter. Always have your bases covered!
2. What’s the best thing a fan has ever done for you?
Other than seduced me, they try to promote you as in their minds you’re the best thing since sliced bread. But seeing someone cry to one of my songs. This has happened many times as I like to perform three to four original songs over a weekend for yoga students. They lay in Shavassana at the end of their practice at One Ocean Yoga. With eyes closed, they hang on every word. Best audience ever.
3. What’s one thing you don’t spend nearly enough time doing?
As I have three businesses to run and all require individual creativity and energy, I really don’t think a single thing is missing. My life is full, if it empties in one area, I top it up with the other. “Keeping still” is my answer to that one.
4. If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing with your life?
Music is not my life, it’s a toy for me to play with, of which I have many. I get the most joy in helping people, especially if it’s with one of my toys. I have produced over five albums, 100 musicians, have photo documentation of 95% of the musicians on Long Island, taught endless amounts of musical-related stuff from Pro Tools, to guitar, produced over 100 shows for singer-songwriters so they have a venue to perform originals, produced endless amounts of fundraisers and this winter bringing a homeless person into my home. WHY? Because I can.
5. What other East End musician, who is not regularly a member of your band, do you most enjoy performing with?
I am a solo performer and only sing originals, however, accordion player Walter Noller seems to speak my musical language—we just blend together well. Also, Mike Maz is not only a gifted guitar and bass player, but Mike also happens to hear what I don’t and is able to make my songs shine.
And a song…
I have two musical animated videos, edited for my songs because the guy who owned them asked if I could help produce a few songs for some kids who had no money. I did. One of these kids, Alyssa Scartozzi, now has over 114,000 hits on YouTube with her song “Do I Do”.
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