My Life As A One-Man Band | Tommy Emmanuel | TEDxMelbourne

My Life As A One-Man Band | Tommy Emmanuel | TEDxMelbourne


Translator: Kaori Nozaki
Reviewer: Denise RQ Thank you. Hello. Hello there, thank you very much. I’m going to start by telling you
that I’m a musician, and I travel the world playing concerts, I play about 300 concerts a year
that’s how I make a living. It’s also my calling in life, I’m one
of the luckiest people on the planet. I get to make a living doing what I love, and people say,
“Are you in the music business?” I call it “the happiness business.” I play music and you get happy.
That’s what matters to me. So I was on a long flight
in business class, I was hobnobbing at up in business class. A gentleman beside me
starts talking to me, and he says, “So what do you do for a living?” And I said, “I’m a guitar player.” And he looked at me
like I was in the wrong place, I should have been downstairs. And he said, “You make a living
playing the guitar? Wow! What band do you play with?” And I said, “I don’t. I don’t play
with a band, I play solo.” And he said, “Oh, then you’re a singer.” I said, “No. No, I’m a guitar player.” But then I started thinking about it; I do have a band, and the band is me. And I think like a band, and that’s
what’s different about what I do. I think like a band when I play,
and when I write, and when I perform. And that’s how I hear music. I hear it is if it is a band,
and I write as if I’m writing for a band. So I’d like you to meet my band,
just to get started, and that is my bass player (Bass guitar music) drummer (Drum-like music) I’ve got a rhythm guy as well. Think at the money I’m saving up here. (Laughter) (Guitar music) And then finally the melody guy (Music) (humming a song) I’ll play the bridge, I think. (Guitar music) Good. (Applause) Thank you! That’s my one-man band. (Applause) Thank you. And I wouldn’t be standing up
here tonight and playing this way if it wasn’t for a great man
by the name of Chet Atkins. I was about seven years old
when I heard him, I was on the road with my family. I’m one of six children,
and four of us played music, but we were driving along in the car, I tuned in the radio,
and I heard this song by this American guitar player
by the name of Chet Atkins. And what he was doing is something
I’m just going to quickly explain to you. With his thumb,
he was playing the left hand, on the piano would play,
the accompaniment, and then with his fingers he was
playing the melody and the harmonies. So this is what it sounds like,
here is the accompaniment. (Music) And then here is the melodies. (Music) Tommy Emmanuel: Is that enough?
(Audience) No! TE: I’ll play with you. (Music) (Humming a song) So that moment was
a galvanizing moment in my life. I heard that sound, and I knew
he was playing everything at once. Everybody told me,
“Oh don’t take any notice to that. It’s a recording trick,
you can’t really do that.” But I somehow I could hear it,
and I wanted to work it out. I just kept at it, and at it, and at it,
listening to Chet Atkins. I eventually got it. Of course, many years later, I wrote him a fan letter,
and we became pen pals. Then, by the time
when I was in my early 20s, I had learned so much of his material and taught myself to play in a way
that was different from everybody else. And I knew it,
and I was enjoying it so much it; it was so much of a challenge,
and so creative in its own way. When I eventually got to meet him
I played for him, and he confirmed
that I was doing everything right, even though I had no training,
and I still haven’t had any training. I still don’t read or write music, but I can write you a song,
I just can’t write it out on paper. So anyway, this style
I developed has helped me to keep my one-man show interesting
and to try to come up with new ideas. So in my late teens, I started listening to a lot of pop music and trying to come up with arrangements
using these techniques; the technique of playing
everything at once. So some tunes by the Beatles
make really interesting pieces, and they have become
a big part of my repertoire. People love it where you get that. (Playing “Day Tripper”) Something like this! (playing and humming “Lady Madonna”) So you get the idea, right? (Applause) Thank you. (Applause) Another thing I started doing
when I was young was banging on my guitar like a drummer because I am a drummer. I’ve always played the drums and loved it. So when we were fortunate enough
to have electronics where there’s a microphone
inside the guitar, I started experimenting by playing
the guitar like a drum. So I found these patterns, and I found a way
of making it sound really interesting. (Drum-like sounds) (Applause) Whoa, look at it! Then I started trying to use
my imagination and try new things so I got myself a brush,
and I started doing this. (Music) And then I started doing this with my brush so I could get Whoa! (Applause) Thank you. Thank you very much. This stuff is
all in the name of entertainment and making my one-man band
interesting for my audience. There’s another sound and another
technique that I use on the guitar, that I first heard Chet Atkins doing. And then a little bit later on,
a great guitar player who died young; his name is Lenny Breau. This technique is called
cascading harmonics. It’s not easy to do,
but it is a beautiful sound. And the reason it’s called “cascading” is because people describe it
like a waterfall. So like this. (Cascading harmonics) I use this technique to make
my arrangements interesting and create parts of my show
that become very intimate with the crowd. Some songs
like “Somewhere over the rainbow,” or the Beatles’ “Michelle,” where I used this technique. (Playing “Michelle”) (Applause) Thank you. I use those techniques to make a sound
that I never heard anybody else doing, especially here in Australia. But when I started traveling overseas, I noticed that most people over there
hadn’t heard it before, and it was a new sound for them. These are all things
that I got from from Chet Atkins. One of the things that I think
I learned the most from him would be the quality of songs
that you choose to play. And the other thing was I quickly learned that if I wanted
to stand out as a musician, I should play my own songs. So I started writing songs
at a very young age, and I spent a lot of time
learning the craft of songwriting. Well, it’s one of the parts
of my life that I really love the most. I want to play you
a little bit of a song that I wrote. I read a book called,
“The journals of Lewis and Clark.” Lewis and Clark were these explorers
who discovered the American West, and they were led by a young native girl. After I read this book,
it challenged me to write a song to describe the American West, the great unknown, and constant travel. Let me play you a little bit of this song. If you want to close your eyes and imagine
you’re out in the American West that’s what you can do,
that’s what songs do, they transport us and take us. (Music) (Humming) Yeah. (Applause) Thank you. (Applause) Every now and again
I come up with an arrangement that involves
quite a lot of my techniques all involved in one song. One of those songs
is this song, “Classical gas.” (Playing “Classical Gas”) All right! Yeah! (Applause) Thank you. (Applause) Alright. I’m going to read a little bit because my wife helped me
put all this together, and she writes in such a wonderful way that I decided
that I wanted to read a little. This is what she wrote for me,
this I say to you. “A lot of these things that I do
could be seen as show pony tricks, but for me the real critics
are my fans and my audience. When they laugh at my bad jokes,
or when they cry at my ballads, and when they share stories
that involve my music, it touches my heart so deeply. And I know that I’m doing the right thing. My music has been played
at weddings, at funerals, others have learned my songs
and make their living playing like I do. My music has brought life
to Alzheimer’s patients, will power to cancer survivors,
and escape for grieving families, joy to people’s daily drive to work. I hear these stories, and I know that music goes
beyond what we see, hear, and feel. There’s some innate sense
that gets triggered by it, no matter how turned off
if you think you are. That’s why we tap our foot
when we hear a groove like this.” (Playing) Yeah! There’s another point
that I wanted to make here, it was one of the things
that has enabled me to live the dream life
– in other words, do what I really love – and achieve my goals. “Chet Atkins once told me that I am
the most fearless player he’d ever met. And I think that being fearless is a huge part of breaking molds
and raising self-belief. I have had many times in my life
where people told me that my plans were rubbish,
that were crazy, that I would fail. But I ignore the critics,
and I keep working to make my show and my life
better and better. Music brings people together, and I love being a catalyst for it. So I play my shows, I meet
my fans as often as I can, I answer their questions on my forum,
I read their Facebook comments, I upload videos to YouTube
for them to enjoy. I continue to tour around the world
and take my one-man band with me.” And just remember folks
that life is not a rehearsal. So you better get on with it. (Cheers) (Applause) Thank you. (Applause) Thank you. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “My Life As A One-Man Band | Tommy Emmanuel | TEDxMelbourne

  1. I have all your CDs my brother passed on to me…wish we watched you live together… rest easy Niel Fonz Kovea

  2. is it just me or does anyone else realize that ppl in my experience never tell ppl "ur guna fail and should give up". just noticed that alot of ppl say that they have been this. but i cant recall anyone saying that to anyone. maby behind their back. which is evidence that words are not nessasary in communicating in reality. idk just a thought

  3. Can anyone please tell me where I can find country music like the song Tommy played that was about Lewis and Clark? Thank you 🙂

  4. This guy is arguably one of the best all around guitarists that has ever lived. Some of his techniques are amazing.

  5. I would love to see a video that he didnt talk so much, but played more. He is an amazing musician. But I like to hear it.

  6. This guy is a great guitarist. One Man Band? I play, sing, and play drums all at the same time. There is a difference between One Man Band vs. a great guitarist. Don't even get me started with looping people or playing to pre-recorded tracks…Nothing wrong with any of it but there are actual "one man band' people out there and it's not this.

  7. Tommy is an exceptional Guitar Player but do not underestimate his showmanship. Without that showmanship he would just be another talented unknown session man.

  8. I saw Phil and Tommy play an in -store guitar master class at Lombard’s music store in Leichhardt in 1979 that was a turning point for me. They were amazing

  9. Clearly Tommy is a phenomenal musician and showman. Besides that, I can't imagine a more positive, inspiring and sincere man. I smiled all the way through this video.

  10. TEDx Talks IS THE BEST! Thank you for brining us this episode on Tommy Emmanuel, I absolutely love Tommy Emmanuel and his playing style. I have decided to jump out of my comfort zone and learn to play a few of his songs. I have created a youtube channel to track my progress. I would love some support/feedback so please hit subscribe and check it out if you like. Love.

  11. Ahh.. So °Saga – Security of illusions° start with natural harmonics on guitar. Now I got it. Thanks…

  12. Wonderful exploration by Tommy of the roots and many elements of his virtuosity. I have been hearing his work for years, but I feel I will hear it better going forward.

  13. Best video this year. What an amazing human/musician! The only way to get to this is years and years of hard, tedious work. SO INSPIRING!!! 😎🎶🎵🎸⭐️

  14. 0:43 What a bizarre gentleman! Sitting side by side with Tommy Emmanuel and asking "who are you and what you do in life" :-/

  15. An incredibly inspirational man! But, one of the quietest Australian audiences I've ever seen! Thank you for being who you are Tommy.

  16. I have been a fan for over twenty years. Have seen him live twice. Watched many videos. Somehow still not completely convinced he actually exists. The perfect entertainer.

  17. Sacagawea was not the guide for Lewis and Clark, her husband Toussaint Charbonneau was. She was there and was a big help, just not the guide. It's a common fake history story so it isn't Tommy's fault. Good song though.

  18. Ну машина!Спасибо природе-матушке,что ещё создает такие экземпляры. 😊

  19. Absolutely brilliant. I've been a guitarist for over 15 years. Studied it at University (silly me!…) but you've just taught me what Cascading Harmonics are and – if I'm watching what you're doing closely enough – how to play with that technique. Thanks man, only half way through the video and loving it!

  20. Sorry Tommy. The Chet Atkins emulation sounded good. The rest is just rubbish. The Guitar is NOT a set of Drums. It does not sound anything like a set of Drums.

  21. 映画:マトリックスのように、彼のテクニックを直接脳にダウンロードできたらいいだろうなあ。

  22. I'm going to try this cascading harmonics stuff . I think I can do it with some practice . Like him or, not . He blows the doors off most guitarist present and past .

  23. I used to think he was some kind of superhuman, until I discovered he practices for 8 hours a day every day. That's why he is that good.

  24. Why do people call exceptional talents like this “not human”? To the contrary, they show the very best of human qualities, that we should all aspire to.

  25. An absolute credit to Australia. Tommy you are amazing, keep doing what you are doing, bringing joy and happiness to others.

  26. Tommy, you can create so many wonderful sounds on a guitar! Could you please consider making an arrangement of Zarathustra, in the style of Deodato?

  27. Эммануэль,родился ,для того ,что бы показать людям,как надо владеть инструментом.

  28. He and his music soothes my soul and I believe that he is as good of a person as he is a musician and I hope to see him play in person someday. God bless you Tommy 🙏

  29. I listened his guitar song "Chet's Ramble" when I was a highschool student.
    He told me how fun music is, and how wonderful the world is.
    He is the best teacher. He is my hero.

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