We had the good fortune of connecting with Leo DiSanto and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Leo, why did you pursue a creative career?
I believe it was the video for the Beatles’ “I am the Walrus” that channeled me into a life in creative work, that bit from the Magical Mystery Tour film where the band is capering around in weird, creepy animal suits. I vividly remember watching that video at a friend’s house as a kid and thinking, “THIS is what I wanna do with my life.” Of course, in those days and probably for too long after that, I thought creative “success” would look like Beatle-sized superstardom. It would be many years before I’d come to understand that there was a viable path forward as a working-class artist, or what I tend to think of as a blue-collar creative.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Making a living as a working-class musician is very relational; it only works if you can establish good relationships with fans, venues, talent buyers, etc. Without the ability to command major ticket sales numbers, you’ve got to be enjoyable to work with and to listen to. These points sound more obvious than I think they actually are. One of the biggest challenges of this gig is booking enough consistent work- in my case, live performances- to pay the bills. The way to grease the wheels is to become the person whose name people will say when someone asks them, “who should I hire to entertain at my event/ venue?” They’ll be looking for skill, of course, but also enthusiasm, friendliness, etc. As for what sets me apart from others, I honestly don’t spend a lot of time noodling about that. Every living being is an entirely unique, one-time-only event in this world, and making art is an expression of that very process. If you can stay true to your Muse- which, to me, involves avoiding the pitfalls of comparison/ preoccupation with how you can stand out from or fit in with others- you can feel confident that no one else in the world has what you have to offer.
What I’m most excited about is traveling the world, spending time with all sorts of amazing people, animals, and landscapes. I’m most excited about the honor and privilege of being one of the noises life makes. I’ve performed at birthday parties for babies just coming into the world, and at the death beds or funerals of people moving on. If I had to describe my story, I’d say it’s about making my best attempt at telling all the stories.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well! Which city? Without knowing the specifics, I guess I’d take em to the bus station for people watching, and to the farmer’s market for dining. You can always get your food closest to the source at the farmer’s market!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’ve already mentioned the Beatles, who set off the sort of Big Bang of my artistic formation. My dear departed Dad deserves a shoutout as well. A successful man of business with a long-term executive career with a big corporation, he was unfailing supportive of the quixotic path his son set off on at an early age. He sacrificed his car garage so a noisy, untutored teenage rock band could have a practice space. He defended the band’s right to practice when the police were frequently dispatched to put an end to the ruckus. And he faithfully purchased the requisite expensive musical equipment for birthday and holiday gifts, even going too far as to inadvisably damage his credit by cosigning a financing agreement for the most beautiful Rickenbacker guitar in the world, which still hangs on the wall of my home studio.

Website: www.leodisanto.com

Instagram: instagram.com/thisisleodisanto

Facebook: Facebook.com/thisisleodisanto

Youtube: YouTube.com/user/dastardlydervish

Image Credits
Image 1 by Peach and Pear Photography; 2 by Michelle Johnsen Photography; 4 by Dan Worcester; 5 by Scott Bookman; 6 collage by Dan Zdilla.

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.