Meet the Artist: Joseph Keckler
October 26, 2018
Singer, writer, and actor Joseph Keckler has an operatic range that "shatters the conventional boundaries of classical singing" (New York Times). He'll bring his signature sound—accompanied by Matthew Dean Marsh on piano, Dan Bartfield on violin, and Mike Hanf on percussion—to the David Rubenstein Atrium for a free show on Thursday, November 1.
Artist or album you have on repeat?
I have been listening to Anthony Rolfe Johnson sing Monteverdi's Possente Spirto lately. Also in rotation are both the Jimmy Page and Bobby Beausoleil soundtracks to the film Lucifer Rising, the Goblin soundtrack to the original Suspiria, and vocalist Lisa Fischer.
Last live performance you saw?
I watched my cousin Melaena Cadiz play a set in Los Angeles last week.
Favorite city to play?
I love every city. Austin, Texas, has been good me. And Düsseldorf. I love Miami. Most recently I performed in Kuopio, Finland, and in L.A. Both were wonderful.
I'm afraid I've tried to make my talents known. But here's one: I can speak while keeping my cheeks inflated with air. It is grotesque yet impressive on a physical level.
Top three pieces of advice for aspiring artists?
Study old art, observe the present, respect your true obsessions.
First live performance you remember seeing?
My parents took me to see Aretha Franklin when I was a really little kid. I think I saw B.B. King when I was pretty young, too.
Artist you'd most like to meet (past or present)?
I don't necessarily desire to meet artists I greatly admire. They have already given me everything.
This week my friend Isaac is staying with me and we're recording music for a new TV project. I'm also gearing up for a performance piece called Train With No Midnight, premiering with the PROTOTYPE Festival in January.
Country you'd most like to visit?
I want to get to Japan and Australia soon.
First time you realized you wanted to be an artist?
I started drawing when I was a really small child. I come from a family of artists, so writing, painting, and performing all felt natural and near. In my late teens I understood that I was going to be a singer of some kind and began taking it more seriously.
What you wish someone had told you when you were starting out?
The number to a winning lottery ticket.
Because singing is so sensual and requires such relaxation I believe that practicing can involve both meditation and play. For instance, I like to move and stretch while I sing, repeat absurd or abstract phrases over and over again. I often practice in the dark.
You hope someone comes away from one of your shows feeling….?
Next goal or challenge you're setting for yourself?
I just want to get better and better, to make a contribution to the culture, and to enjoy being alive.