Mike Blackburn: Cosmo Music, the pre-eminent store in Canada for musical presentation performance and clinics held its annual event on Saturday June 3rd 2017.
We headed down there with camcorder in hand to record the event for LoudGuitars and Laurie Monk’s “Truth in Shredding” and “Shreddelicious” blogs. We had hoped to get a joint interview with Nili Brosh and Nita Strauss but between them each having a performance clinic, a joint meet and greet session and various and sundry other obligations for Cosmo and Ibanez that was not to be. Nili put on a great clinic and her smile is infectious when she hits the right note or garners some applause for her spectacular playing. Unlike most guys , she was very generous with her thoughts and comments during her Q&A, mentioning several great players who have inspired her, Andy Timmons, Per Nilsson, Greg Howe, Tony Macalpine, her brother Ethan, Nita Strauss and Gretchen Menn.
Mike Blackburn: Your early years were of course in Israel. When and how did you first become aware of the guitar and when did you start to play yourself?
Nili Brosh: I grew up in a music loving household and became aware of the guitar through my brother Ethan Brosh, fantastic guitarist that he is! I subsequently started taking lessons at age 7 and got serious about playing and practicing when I was in early high school.
Mike Blackburn: You mentioned that by the time you were finishing high school, you knew you wanted to do music as a career, how did you become so focussed at that young age?
Nili Brosh: I think it had to do with going to high school in an environment where most kids were bound for Ivy League schools (Newton, MA). I knew that I didn’t have it in me to put in that much work in a conventional collegiate environment, though I had that capacity for studying music and guitar. It was literally the only thing I could see myself doing with my future, regardless of the instability of the industry and profession.
Mike Blackburn: Like many other Berklee grads I have spoken with, contacts in the music world is often listed as the number one reason for attending Berklee with the mind to a professional career. Was that also your experience?
Nili Brosh: It was! Though as much as that appealed to me, I was also very interested in the well-rounded musical education that only Berklee could offer; not to mention a Bachelors degree to fall back on. The whole deal just made sense for me at the time.
Mike Blackburn: Did you study at all with Monster Shredder Joe Stump? Does he ever smile/have a sense of humour?
Nili Brosh: I did! Because I spent my teenage years in the Boston area already, I started taking lessons with him when I was 15 and took a few courses with him during Berklee. Regardless of appearances, Joe has the biggest heart and he smiles quite often. And he does have a great sense of humour , the students all love him.
Mike Blackburn: Your hard work and sacrifices have paid off, how satisfied are you with the current state of your career?
Nili Brosh: Thank you! I’m very blessed and fortunate, and I do my best to focus on gratitude, that is my priority. In my nature, though, I’m a very “try to be a little better every day” kind of a person, so that applies to my career as well.
Mike Blackburn: Is there any technological change you would like to see on the guitar or signal chain? What is the next big innovation?
Nili Brosh: If I had the idea for the next big innovation, it would already be in the works and make me some dough! Haha! Honestly I think the latest guitar technologies, such as the HeadRush, are all fantastic and changing the game. We are in a good place and are fortunate to have easy access to so much great gear these days!
Mike Blackburn: When you watch the tiny oriental prodigy guitar kids play, are you not concerned that the way they are playing on a full sized instrument and the muscle memory they have developed is just not correct? Should these gifted youngsters not start out on say a 3/4 scale instrument and then gradually shift as they grow?
Nili Brosh: It’s difficult for me to answer that question as I can only draw from my own experience…which was starting out on a ¾ guitar. It worked for me, but different things work for different people, and so many of the players you speak of are awe-inspiring and incredible. Whatever they’re doing is working, and I’ve always been a believer of the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality!
Mike Blackburn: Last question is from Laurie Monk: “Ask about where she wants to go with her solo work. Is she working on another project?”
Nili Brosh: I am! It’s going a lot slower than I would like, but my third album is definitely in the works. It will feature a mix of many styles fused together in a conceptual way. Stay tuned!