Meet Anthony Demby, the man with the music plan in New York City. Working with clients such as Soho House and Heineken, Anthony organizes some of the best musical experiences around through Humbleriot a music curation and consulting company which he founded. We recently sat down with Anthony to gain some of his wisdom on music and the role it played in his life and career.
At what age did you first pick up an instrument and which was it?
The first instrument I played was the violin and I was in the first grade so I was 6 years old. I picked up playing piano in the same year.
What is your fondest memory associated with music?
My fondest memory with music is the feeling it provides. It offers a sense of freedom that I experienced early on my life that still permeates and exists to this day. I remember when I was a very small child maybe 2 years old, I would sit on the couch and flip through my parent’s vinyl and I would just listen to records. I was barely forming full sentences at that time but music was already my language.
What can music do and what did it do for you?
Music has always been transformative for me and has the ability to communicate things we are often afraid to say with no inhibitions. I remember a few months ago, I flew to Houston to say goodbye to my grand father, as he was about to pass. He was no longer speaking but I played him his two favorite songs and I saw his body shutter when he heard those songs and a tear streamed out of his eye. He wasn't able to speak in that moment but music gave us the ability to have a conversation. It was one of the most impactful moments of my life. MUSIC is the soundtrack to my soul.
What are you most proud of?
I am proud that I get to use my love and passion for music to make a difference. I had the opportunity to produce an album called Red Hot + Fela where I took over 30 artists from all around the world to reinterpret the music of Fela Kuti. The money raised from the album went towards the ongoing fight against AIDS and HIV and I consider being involved in that project a personal check off my bucket list. The album was very well received and I deemed as my personal songbook and tribute to one of my best friends who died of AIDS the year I moved to NYC.
What do you regret the most?
I don't have may regrets in life honestly but I do wish that I never stopped playing music. As a child I played 5 instruments and I know I still have it in me.
Who are your heroes?
My heroes are people who realize that their dreams and vision are bigger than themselves and dedicate their lives to it. And allow their unwavering passion to change the world around them. My heroes are also my parents.
What lessons would you pass on to your younger self?
I would tell my younger self that the universe is abundant, to not be afraid to take risks, and truly understand and harness the power of being yourself.
What was an important learning experience for you?
An important learning experience for me is learning to be ok with detours. When I first started my career in the music business, all I wanted to be was an A&R. I wanted to go out and discover the next big thing. But that didn't happen the way I planned. I moved to LA with that intention and the first job I got I was a marketing assistant at a record label and honestly, I hated it. I left there and got a job working on music videos, still not A&R but hey I was in the business. I then got hired work in promotion for a record label working with multiple genres of music. A few years later, I finally got my shot at doing A&R for a new label, but by that time I had amassed so much knowledge from working in other facets of music, my perspective had grown and I wanted more. Doing A&R wasn't enough then. From that I learned that it's ok to have detours on the roads we want to travel on because those twists and turns will reveal new routes that were once hidden to us…and that is where the REAL journey begins.
To find out more about Anthony Demby and Humbleriot, click below: