Grammy-nominated jazzman Dave Koz is out and proud — proud of being openly gay, proud of his musical ability and proud that I brought up his status as a sexy daddy.
On the occasion of his new release Dave Koz and Friends 20th Anniversary Christmas, and a new tour hitting in time for the holidays, he opened up to Boy Culture.
We didn't hit a false note …
(Images by Antonio Dixon)
Boy Culture: Where do you get your news from? Your gay news? Ever read blogs? (Just curious.)
Dave Koz: I’m actually one of those people that likes to read the newspaper. Call me old-fashioned. I love sitting with a cup of coffee in the morning and thumbing through the paper! And yes, I do read news on my phone as well — I’m not THAT strange! And I like to peruse the Towleroad — I think he does a good job balancing what’s important to our community.
BC: You're out in the music biz — how do you react when you hear about young artists coming out earlier and earlier?
DK: I think it’s absolutely GREAT — and an indication that it’s increasingly less newsworthy … just as it should be!
BC: What did you consider when you decided to come out? Did you have people around you who were against it?
DK: There were people around me that cautioned me, yes, but no one was against it. I am very fortunate and blessed to have an incredible group of people around me (both personally and professionally) that I trust implicitly and who trust me. It came up rather suddenly and it just seemed like it was time. I was unwilling to continue living my life as two people. It was just time to become a whole person, finally, no matter what the fallout was gonna be.
It was the best decision I ever made in my life, and I am so grateful to the support team I have around me that made it possible.
I always advise younger gays to, as much as possible, live an authentic life. — Dave Koz
BC: Has being out helped or hurt you in your career? What advice would you offer newcomers who are gay?
DK: Everything improved because I improved. I was so worried I’d lose fans or people wouldn’t come to shows 'cause they knew I was gay. We all create these mountains of fear, and the mountain gets so tall we think we can’t scale it. When I finally came out, I looked around and realized there was no mountain at all — it was all part of my own internal fear.
Coming out showed me in so many incredibly valuable ways, how facing your fears and overcoming them can improve one’s life in immeasurable ways. And for that reason, I always advise younger gays to, as much as possible, live an authentic life. But they have to do it in their own timing. What’s right for one is not necessarily right for everyone. But the truth indeed shall set you free!
BC: Are you single? Why?!
DK: Haha. I like my life. I am very happy. Would I like to develop a life with someone one day? Yes. But again, it’s all about timing. Currently, I am married to my saxophone!
BC: Do you find younger guys wanna call you daddy? How do you feel being characterized as a smooth jazz daddy.
DK: This has got to be the funniest question I’ve ever been asked in an interview. I had no idea. I guess that comes with going gray! I am proud of my age, and every wrinkle and gray hair, so: Smooth Jazz Daddy it is, I guess!
BC: What's a date with Dave like?
DK: I am super simple. I love Netflix nights and making dinner together. Super relaxed and easy — that’s a perfect date.
BC: Your upcoming holiday tour sounds great — what can fans expect, and WHO can fans expect?
DK: It’s our 20th anniversary of the tour, which is so amazing … especially for a nice Jewish boy! How the heck did THAT happen? But it’s been an amazing run, and this year will be very special, reuniting on stage with the three original cast members of our earliest Christmas tours — pianist David Benoit, trumpeter Rick Braun and guitarist Peter White. The four of us also recorded a 20th-anniversary Christmas album to mark the milestone, with some special guest singers including Jeffrey Osborne, Kenny Lattimore and Javier Colon, plus a full symphony orchestra. It’s a special album, very emotion-packed and beautiful. Christmas music is that way: So many memories … the songs pack an emotional punch!
I am always thirsty for more! — Dave Koz
BC: Who are some of your favorite people you've met/worked with, and most talented? Who did you idolize as a kid?
DK: I have to sometime pinch myself! People like Stevie Wonder and Rod Stewart, Céline Dion, Johnny Mathis, Barry Manilow and, most recently, I played on the new Foo Fighters album, which was HUGE for me. First time they ever had sax on one of their albums — I was so honored. As far as idols go, probably number one would be Herb Alpert — an amazing musician, businessman, artist, philanthropist. He figured it out, all right! He remains a constant inspiration and is a dear friend.
BC: What are you proudest of that you've accomplished musically? What would you still like to do?
For me, introducing my parents to the President of the United States (Clinton
) back in 1996 was the career highlight, and then being asked by President Obama
to be his opening act for a speech he gave to the U.N. a couple years back was amazing as well. Turns out, playing for presidents is kinda sweet! I still have so much to do and accomplish — I am always thirsty for more! But I try to balance that hunger with truly being content with what I have already. It’s all gravy now.