CL057: Valerie Day and John Smith of NU SHOOZ on why to show your work


Valerie Day is a Portland based pop and jazz singer and member of the Grammy nominated band NU SHOOZ which she founded with her husband John Smith. Valerie was born into a fourth generation of a musical Northwestern family and she was blessed to be raised amidst a supportive, arts-rich home life. A musical mother paved the way for a fantastic journey – from the ground-zero trajectory of 80’s pop chartdom with NU SHOOZ, to jazz, big-band and orchestral performances with the Oregon Symphony. Her musical collaborator and the founder of NU SHOOZ is John Smith who also joins us today. John is a prolific composer, writer and visual artist. As a composer he’s written hundreds of scores for film, commercials and modern dance. After more than a 27 year hiatus, with recognition of how important it is to show your work, NU SHOOZ is back with new album called ‘Bagtown’.

In this episode of The Creative Life Podcast Valerie and John talk about having NU SHOOZ as their primary directive right now. They also tell us about creating new music for the group and doing it full time. John also shares with us how he ended his medical career.

“If you wake up in the morning with an idea of something to do. That’s Golden. It means you’re still interested, you’re still engaged, and you’ve got somewhere to go. The direction is unfolding before you one step at a time.”

– John Smith

“Do the things that move the whole thing forward for you.”

– Valerie Day

Valerie Day and John Smith ‘Show Your Work’ Show Notes:

  • Writing songs in batches of ten (11:17)
  • How Music Works by David Byrne (12:17)
  • The Portland music scene (14:24)
  • Synesthesia amongst musicians (16:00)
  • Writer’s block (16:32)
  • Inspiration is for amateurs (17:03)
  • Two types of film directors (19:22)
  • Spotting sessions (21:43)
  • Austin Kleon’s ‘Show Your Work’ (25:19)
  • Lyric videos (28:20)
  • Twyla Tharp (31:51)
  • Put your body there (32:47)

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