Like so many, singer-songwriter-performer Howard Livingston fell in love with the Florida Keys on a trip to Key West. It didn’t take him long to realize the confinements of a shirt and tie held no match to the freestyle of living in the islands. Howard is the winner of the Trop Rock Award. Let him tell you about the how’s and why’s of his music and lifestyle in his own words:
Q: Why did you decide to move to the Keys?
A: I first visited the Keys in the mid-’80s and fell in love with the area. I knew right then this would be my home. I spent every moment after that trying to figure how to live here. It took a while but there was no other place on the planet I wanted to be. I just love everything about the Keys.
Q: Have you always been a singer-songwriter or is there another Howard Livingston?
A: There was another Howard Livingston. He wore a suit and tie, leather shoes and lived in Chicago where he worked in the corporate world. However, he was always an island boy and there was always a song in his heart.
Q: How often do you play in the Keys?
A: We play several times a month in the Keys. The beauty of the Keys is music is very much alive and well here. It’s a great place to be a performer.
Q: You have a band, but sometimes do a solo. Why is that?
A: Our “shows” are with the band but I also perform solo, usually for fundraisers and songwriting rounds.
Q: Who’s in the band?
A: I am very blessed and have some of the greatest musicians on the planet: Rick Cleaver, Tim McAlpine, Hal Howland, Marty Stonley, Hulber Gagliardini, Stuart King, and Glen Himmaugh.
Q: Do you play outside the Keys? If so, where and how often?
A: Yes, we once toured five months of the year. However, all the stars have lined up and we don’t have to do that anymore. We do play outside the Keys but not for long periods of time. We call them mini tours now.
Q: You have an active fan club here, tell us a little about them and their events?
A: Our fan club is called the Coconut Castaways and was actually started in Iowa. There are now multiple chapters and growing all the time. I am proud to be associated with these great folks and refer to them as a “Friend Club” as opposed to a fan club. They donate countless hours for all kinds of charitable causes. They are just incredible. They organize an annual event in the Keys called “Meet Me In The Keys” which attracts performers and attendees from all over the country. Their mission is “Serving Community Roles With Caribbean Souls.”
Q: Do you find writing is easy in the Keys?
A: There is an inspiration here that I have found nowhere else. There truly is a magic here that somehow ignites creativity and has allowed me to do things I never thought possible.
Q: You’ve won a Trop Rock award, tell us about it.
A: I am very honored to have won eight Trop Rock Music Awards over the past few years. It is very humbling and rewarding to be honored by your fans (friends) and fellow artists.
Q: Where do you get radio play?
A: We are blessed and get radio play locally and throughout the world through stations such as Radio Margaritaville, mainstream stations in all parts of the world as well as internet stations. My music has also been used in movies and television specials such as PBS’s “Changing Seas” series and music videos. It’s very humbling.
Q: How many CDs do you have and where are they available?
A: We have a total of nine CD’s including one DVD. They are available on our web site, at iTunes and all other digital download sites as well as finer retail establishments throughout the Florida Keys.
Q: You are very popular with the crowds during the Meeting of the Minds each November, how’d that gig come about?
A: We were asked to play there five years ago and have been blown away with the entire event. We have made countless lifelong friends and it grows every year.
Q: What’s the best/worst thing about being a popular singer-songwriter/entertainer?
A: The best thing is making so many friends and hearing how my music has affected them in a positive way. I’m sure there might be a bad side to it but I just have not found anything bad at all. It has all been very, very good.
Q: Are you working on a new CD?
A: Being a songwriter, I am always working on new material with my sights set on the next CD project. This is one of my favorite things in the world to do.
Q: Where can readers find out more about you and your music?
A: Folks can visit our website www.howardlivingston.com for all the latest information. Also they can sign up for my Banana Express for an ongoing glimpse of life in the Florida Keys.