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Finding Your Big Idea - Vivek Tiwary [Podcast]

creativity podcast Dec 15, 2020

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Today’s guest is Mr. Vivek Tiwary, a true Renaissance man. This award-winning Broadway producer has brought to stage The Addam’s Family, Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein, and most recently, Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill.

He’s also a No. 1 NYT Best Selling Author with his graphic novel, The Fifth Beatle. He also co-founded a non-profit, Musicians On Call, which helps deliver the healing powers of music wherever it’s needed.

Vivek shares how he brought his big ideas to life. And how you can, too.

 


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Transcript

JIM DONOVAN:

Today, on the Sound Health podcast…

VIVEK TIWARY:

And when we both walked out, we were like, “Oh, my gosh! This is it.” When Kenli performed in that room, you could tangibly feel the atmosphere change. You could feel the energy in the room, and then you saw the effect it had. 

Patients, we were told later, “She hasn’t smiled in a week, and all of a sudden, she’s smiling and tapping her toes to the music.”

I saw family members who reminded me of myself when my mother was sick, not knowing what to say or how to act, all of a sudden, loosening up and talking to their sick loved one about the music, and finding some common ground through song. I saw hospital workers, nurses who are working crazy shifts, and doctors who are clearly overwhelmed by their jobs, all of a sudden also lightening up, and laughing, and, “So, what’s going on here?” and poking their heads around the corner, and smiling to the music.

It was just incredible. Then we stepped into the elevator with Kenli, and he turned to us. He’s one of these guys that is a road warrior. He does gigantic festivals to living room concerts. He’s performed everywhere. He turned to us and he said, “That was the most rewarding musical experience I’ve ever had.”

JIM DONOVAN:

Hey, there. This is Jim Donovan. Welcome to the show. I am so glad you’re here. I can’t wait for you to meet today’s very special guest, Mr. Vivek Tiwary.

Vivek is an award winning producer of groundbreaking Broadway shows, including Green Day’s American IdiotA Raisin in the SunThe Addams FamilyA Little Night Music, and both of Mel Brooks’ musicals, The Producers, and Young Frankenstein

Combined, these productions have won 25 Tony Awards and over 44 Tony nominations. He’s a media financier and investor, and the number one New York Times Best Selling Author, whose graphic novel, The Fifth Beetle, has won numerous literary awards.

Vivek is currently the lead producer of Jagged Little Pill, based on Alanis Morissette’s classic album, which opened on Broadway this past December at the Broadhurst Theater to rave reviews and box office success. 

He’s the founder of Tiwary Entertainment Group, and also the co-founder of Musicians On Call, a non-profit organization that uses music and entertainment to compliment the healing process.

JIM DONOVAN:

Vivek, welcome to the show. It is so great to have you here. How are you feeling today?

VIVEK TIWARY:

Thank you for having me. I’m doing all right. Yeah, I’m doing all right. One has to acknowledge that, at this moment in time, the world is going through a lot of troubles, with our global pandemic and the issues of racism here in America.

So, it’s a troubled world we live in. I don’t want to discount or deny that, but within that world, I’m doing all right. I’m really leaning into gratitude and realizing I have a lot of blessings to count. Most importantly, my wife, and my kids and I, we’re all healthy and safe. I work. Projects are moving forward, working with people I love on projects that I admire and I’m proud of.

So, there’s a lot I have to be grateful for. I have to answer that question honestly, that I’m doing well in a troubled world. I’m mixed, if that makes sense.

JIM DONOVAN:

I think that echoes what a lot of people are going through. I know I am, too. 

What are you doing… What are you doing with your family, your kids, to stay grounded and focused through this? You’re up in New York City, the New York City area. It’s already intense up there, and add these things on to it. I’m just wondering about that.

VIVEK TIWARY:

Look, we are all trying to find a silver lining in this world that we’re living in right now, quarantining, and sheltering in place, and curfews. I have often, before all of this happened, I lived a very busy life and I was out a lot. I work in entertainment.

So, I’m leaning into the fact that now I’m home and I get to see my kids all the time. If I’ve got a 10 minute break in the middle of the day, I run down to spend it with my kids, because we’re all in the same house. They’re on their computer, their Zoom schooling, and I’m up in the home office in the attic working on my stuff. We get to connect when we have little breaks.

So, it’s a long-winded way of saying, we’re leaning into each other. That’s how we’re getting through it. We’re leaning into the fact that luckily, we all love each other. We’re a close family. We’re leaning into each other and finding community and happiness through each other. It sounds awfully cheesy, but I think that’s the way we found the most healing, is the only way to put it.

JIM DONOVAN:

I think it’s really right on. I’ve got three kids, too, and we’ve been doing a lot of walking. We’re lucky that we can be in a place, we have a rural area that we can walk in every day. We get to talk about all this stuff, and laying everything out there so that we’re not holding it in.

VIVEK TIWARY:

Yeah. Yeah. Yes. We’re doing a lot of that, as well. Just lots of honest conversations, “How are you feeling? What’s going on in your world?” A lot of that. Again, that’s a joy.

VIVEK TIWARY:

Before the pandemic, I didn’t have the time to have as much conversations with my kids. It’s not that I have more time now. Life is busier than ever, but we’re here. We’re all in the same house. It’s an inevitable fact of life.

VIVEK TIWARY:

That’s another thing that I’m very grateful for. It’s, again, trying to shift my perspective as much as I can to find the silver linings in what’s otherwise a dark situation.

JIM DONOVAN:

Right, for sure. I’m wondering if you think that this will affect your creativity at all?

VIVEK TIWARY:

I find that it’s almost like a fact of history, that great art comes out of dark times. If you just look at the history of artistic creation, musicians, writers, screenwriters, directors, composers, every kind of artists, painters; there’s a rich history of getting some of the most beautiful art coming out of troubled historical periods, because people need to express themselves.

For artists, their art is often the only way to express their frustrations. So, I do think creativity, I think that will probably be another one of the silver linings, as we look back historically on this time, that I think we’ll probably get a lot of great art out of it.

Even at a time where, and I’m sure we’ll talk about this later, but working in live theater… Theater’s on pause right now. Concerts, touring musicians, their tours are on pause. 

But I suspect that when we rebound, live theater and live entertainment is not only going to be needed more than ever, to remind audiences of the power of live connection, but also, I think the content…I think what you’re going to see coming out of live theater, and the types of performances you’re going to see in live concerts are going to be so much more powerful than they were prior to this pandemic. Because people will have things that they need to say, and they need to get off their chest, and they need to express through their art.

So, I really do think, and I should say that with everything that we’re going to talk about, for those audience members who don’t know me, I do this. I try to focus on silver linings, and gratitude, and perspective. So, none of this is to deny the fact that there’s an awful world out there, that people are literally dying from diseases and from racism. So I’m certainly not trying to push that under the rug. I think we need to confront those ugly truths in our life. 

But I also am somebody that tries to, in my own personal life, to focus on the silver linings, and the gratitudes, and the things that I can do to make the world a better place.

Maybe, if I’m being honest, it’s my way of coping. It’s my way of getting through it, and healing my own pain, and trying to heal the pain of the others around me.

It’s true. We have to have those things, in addition to the big work that has to happen. We need to stay on the planet, first of all.

VIVEK TIWARY:

That’s right.

JIM DONOVAN:

Without that, then what?

VIVEK TIWARY:

That’s exactly right. That’s exactly right.

VIVEK TIWARY:

The issues that are facing us are big ones. I’m hopeful that there will be a vaccine for COVID, and that one will eventually go away. But we’re having this podcast at a time where there’s intense racism, and the George Floyd incident, where the police literally murdered a man. And that’s not going away. That’s not something that, eventually the scientists are going to figure out a vaccine for.

So, we have to be very acknowledging of the issues that are going on in the world. We have to be sensitive to them. We have to address them. We have to speak about them. The politicians need to work on policy. The artists need to work on inspirational messages. The activists need to do their work. We all need to do what we can to make the world a better place.

Again, I know that sounds awfully cheesy, but I really believe that.

JIM DONOVAN:

It is the thing. I believe this, that we all come into the lifetime with things that we’re here to do, and gifts that we’re here to bring. It’s our own personal work to get over the fear of bringing those out, as big and as fully as possible.

So, I think in a way, when we do our work, we are contributing in a big way to the healing process of everyone, because we are part of everyone.

VIVEK TIWARY:

Yeah, that’s nicely put. I like that. I’d agree with that 100%.

JIM DONOVAN:

You’ve done so many cool things.

VIVEK TIWARY:

Oh, thank you.

JIM DONOVAN:

You’ve got this knack for conceiving really amazing, big ideas. But unlike a lot of artists, you actually make them happen.

VIVEK TIWARY:

Thanks.

JIM DONOVAN:

That’s not a cut on artists, but just in general. It’s so easy to have an idea, but then there’s so much work in making it happen. Can you take us through your process? When you have an initial spark for an idea, how do you take it from the idea to life?

VIVEK TIWARY:

I think the most important thing is to identify, or acknowledge really, because you shouldn’t need to identify it… It should just be there… what you’re most passionate about. As soon as you realize there’s an idea that you can’t get out of your head, you can’t stop thinking about it, even though there may be a million reasons why it may not feel like a “good idea,” or a safe idea. But it just feels like something you need to do, for whatever reason, a calling. Then you need to acknowledge, “Okay, this might be a tough one, but I have to acknowledge that, that’s how I’m feeling and I’m going to pursue that idea.”

I think leaning into passion, and acknowledging where you have your passion points, that’s where it starts. Everything can flow from that. If you’re really passionate about something, then it’s easier to persevere through the hard times. It’s easier to be patient as it takes time to raise the money that you might need to raise, or put together the creative team that you might need to put together, or get the best script that you need, or whatever the goal point, the milestone or the effort might be. I think the more difficult ideas might take more time, but if you’re passionate about it, it’s easier to be patient and to be persistent.

VIVEK TIWARY:

So, I would say, the first thing I’d try to do is acknowledge those moments where I have ideas that I’m just passionate about. No matter what the obstacles might be surrounding them, acknowledging that I just have to pursue this, and then pursuing it. Pursuing it without giving up.

Jagged Little Pill, that I produced that’s on Broadway now, it literally was eight years in the making. I first sat down with Alanis Morissette a little over eight years ago to ask her to collaborate with me and my team on making Jagged Little Pill into a musical. We told her we didn’t want it to be a bio piece.

She’s said very often in the press since then that I was not the first person to ask her to do something with Jagged Little Pill, but I was the first person to say I don’t want to do something autobiographical with it.

JIM DONOVAN:

Nice.

VIVEK TIWARY:

I said we wanted to set it in modern times. We didn’t want it to be a ’90’s period piece. We wanted it to lean into important issues of the day, and force the audience to confront uncomfortable truths, and through community, find healing. Which, to me, are the themes of the original record.

Then in addition to that, we said we wanted it to be funny. It had to be an entertaining night at the theater, is what I just described. It might not sound like an entertaining night at the theater.

Literally, in that first conversation, I said, “Get somebody like Diablo Cody to write it,” who we did wind up getting to write it. She’s the Oscar winning screen writer of Juno, and the creator of The United States of Tara television. She’s amazing. She has a knack for addressing uncomfortable, difficult, important issues in a way that’s incredibly comedic, and funny, and ultimately cathartic.

All of those things that I just described and said to Alanis, that’s not the easy way out! That doesn’t sound like an easy musical to make. Sure enough, it took us eight years. But you identify the passion. You’re honest about the passion. You communicate it honestly with passion, and then you just go about doing the work. If it takes eight years, then it takes eight years.

Look, I know that sounds a bit flippant. There are financial realities as well. During those eight years, I had to be doing other things just to make the ends meet. So, that’s another part of how you get it done is, you figure out ways to deal with the cash flow in your life, as well.

This project is going to be a hit now, and that will carry me through for X number of years. Within that period of time, that’s the downtime I have to do the project that’s not making any money. Hopefully by the time that one starts making money, the other one has stopped making money.

I don’t want to suggest that I’m not sensitive to the fact that not everybody can just work on something for eight years…

JIM DONOVAN:

Right.

VIVEK TIWARY:

But I do believe there are ways to get there, if you’re honest about your passions, and you’re persistent and patient.

JIM DONOVAN:

So, among all the other things that you do, you’re also a juggler!

VIVEK TIWARY:

Yes. In fact, maybe that’s the thing I do best, maybe, now that you put it that way…

VIVEK TIWARY:

In some ways, what do you do as a producer? Well, you’re a really good juggler. You’re a juggler of business. You’re a juggler of creativity, a juggler of morale, the egos. Yeah, that’s what you do as a producer. You juggle.

JIM DONOVAN:

Nice.

VIVEK TIWARY:

Or one of the things you do, certainly. It’s not just juggling.

JIM DONOVAN:

After a process like this, this one took eight years. How do you know when it’s ready? What tells you that the thing is ready?

VIVEK TIWARY:

That’s a really good question. I guess when you’re working on things like theater pieces, you have deadlines. There is the very famous theatrical phrase, “The show must go on,” which means that you’ve got an opening night. No matter where you’re at, you’ve just got to open. The show’s got to go on.

So, a lot of what I do, you just put a deadline on yourself. It’s the best that it can be and you just have to honor that deadline. At some point, you just have to say, and it’s not just theater. I write comics. I wrote a graphic novel called The Fifth Beatle, based on the life of the Beatles manager. At some point, we just had to go to press. We had to go to press because I was on a publisher that had put out sales orders to their retail outlets. We had to make those deadlines.

At some point, the artists, Andrew Robinson, and Kyle Baker, and I just had to say, “Okay, this is the best we can do.” We just had to stop. Then sure, there are moments in the future where it’s out, and you’re like, “Ah, I wish I had done that a little differently,” or, “I wish I had done that better.”

With a graphic novel, you can’t go back and change it. With theater, you might be able to, because it’s live. There are moments where you can go back and do more creative work. But at some point, you just have to honor the deadline. I think true creatives are probably never totally satisfied.

So your questions, “When do you know it’s right?” Maybe you never know it’s right, because you’re always wanting to make it a bit better. But at some point, you just have to put a deadline on yourself and say, “Okay, it’s good enough. It’s pretty great.” Hopefully good enough is also, you’re able to be proud of it and say it’s pretty great.

JIM DONOVAN:

Yeah.

VIVEK TIWARY:

But I think for me, that’s the answer is, I just need to put a deadline on myself and just say, “No matter where I’m at, at this point, I’m putting the art out into the world.”

VIVEK TIWARY:

Also, that’s important for feedback. I need to know what the world thinks of it. I’ll never know if it’s right until I start getting feedback from people who aren’t super close to me. So, I think there’s that, too.

JIM DONOVAN:

It’s like the power of just putting something on sale.

VIVEK TIWARY:

Yeah. On sale is the business way to look at it, but just putting it out into the world. Sometimes, I’ve heard the phrase that half of life is just showing up. That’s a flippant thing to say, but there’s some truth to it. Some of getting through life is just being there, being present, being out in the world and dealing with it.

I think art is no different. At some point, you just need to get the art out into the world, and see how that art interacts with the world.

JIM DONOVAN:

So, how did you get to this point? When you were growing up, what drew you to music and theater?

VIVEK TIWARY:

It was there for me since the very beginning. It’s funny. When I was a teenager, like most teenagers, I’d like to think that I was such a rebel, and my parents didn’t understand me, and all those things that many teenagers say.

Now that I’m 47, so I’m in my late ‘40’s. I look back on my life and I’m like, “Actually, I am a product of my parents and of the city that I grew up in.” I’m nature and nurture, to a tee. I’m also able to look back and be grateful for that. I think, “You know what? My parents were really cool.” I might not have acknowledged it when I was a teenager, but my parents were pretty darn cool.

So, it starts with my family, is the beginning of the answer to your question. My parents were immigrants. My family’s originally from India. They did not work in the arts. My dad was a doctor and my mom was an attorney, but they loved the arts. Ever since I was a little kid, they were taking me to see the fine arts. We grew up on 12th Street. They would take me uptown to see opera, and ballet, and Broadway shows, and the fine museums.

So, my parents really gave me an incredible arts education, from when I was literally an infant. I remember my mother taking me to the ballet and hating it as a little boy. Then all of a sudden, the switch flipped. I was like, “Wow! This is actually really cool.” I’m really grateful that my mother forced me to sit through it, for a year or two, because now I get it. “This is really beautiful and cool!”

So, it really started there. Then of course, there was my city, because two factors. One is they love the arts and they had access to it. Because in New York City, we have all those amazing things.

VIVEK TIWARY:

But the other side of it is, as soon as I was allowed out of the house on my own, I was going downtown to places like CBGB’s, and the Danceteria, and the old Ritz, and King Tut’s Wah Wah Palace, and La MaMa and the Wooster Group, seeing amazing music concerts, and amazing, what’s now being called “experimental theater.” Although, back then, we didn’t know what to call it.

But early Sonic Youth shows, and punk rock shows. And the Lower East Side in those days, as soon as the sun went down, every storefront would pitch a tent, and the store owner’s friend’s band would do a show, or the store owner’s side project theater company would put on a piece. It was an amazing time for the arts in New York City.

So, that’s where I got it from. I got it from my parents, and I got it from my city. I grew up with this incredibly well-rounded love of both the fine arts, and the more progressive arts, if you will.

Just taking that one step further, that was always my dream, was to bring those two things together. I never understood, in those days, why the cool stuff that Sonic Youth was doing downtown wasn’t being merged with the cool stuff that the New York City Ballet was doing uptown.

JIM DONOVAN:

Yeah.

VIVEK TIWARY:

In many ways, that was my dream, was to bring those two worlds together. I’m really proud to say I’m living my dream, by putting American Idiot on a Broadway stage, and putting Jagged Little Pill on a Broadway stage, and making comic books and television shows about the life of the Beatles manager.

These are all ways of merging the fine arts with the more popular arts, if you will. I’m really proud of that, and it comes from my upbringing.

JIM DONOVAN:

That’s that passion you talked about. You had a big idea. How can I bring Green Day to Broadway? Those things don’t sound like they belong together, but I watched my daughter in our high school’s production of it here in Pennsylvania, and here I am talking with you. You did it.

VIVEK TIWARY:

I love that. I love that. And when you’re passionate about something, it doesn’t feel weird. It feels totally normal. Part of what drives the passion is, I like to think of what I do as a producer is also being graded.

It’s just the same way an artist needs to express themselves, a producer needs to get his or her piece out into the world, and then show everybody, “It’s not crazy what I want to do! It makes perfect sense. I need to express myself. You’ll see it one day and you’ll get it.”

JIM DONOVAN:

I love that. I love that.

What is it about the music and arts that drives you to promote their goodness?

VIVEK TIWARY:

For me, I have always found music and the arts to be my main source of inspiration and healing. I feel, whenever I’m down, I can turn to music and the arts to lift me up. Whenever I feel like I’m totally alone, there’s a song that makes me realize I’m not, that there is somebody else out there who feels exactly the way I feel.

So, for me, music and the arts are sources of inspiration and healing. I guess in many ways, I’m a guy that has lived my life driven by my passions, as we’ve been talking about. What that means is constantly seeking inspiration and moving from one inspiration spot to the other. I’ve always personally found that to be through the arts.

JIM DONOVAN:

It’s interesting. You have this entire career doing Broadway shows and you’re writing graphic novels. Then you’re also the co-founder of this organization. It’s a beautiful organization, called Musicians On Call. It’s a charity that you started with Michael Solomon of Brick Wall Management.

VIVEK TIWARY:

Yes, indeed.

JIM DONOVAN:

What drew you to do that? I’m very curious about this.

VIVEK TIWARY:

So, thank you for asking. Of all the many things that I’ve done in my life, and I’m very happy and proud to say I’ve done a lot of really interesting things, co-founding Musicians On Call with my dear friend, Michael Solomon, is without question the thing that I’m most proud of.

So, I’m going to start by plugging it. Please visit MusiciansOnCall.org to learn more about us. But our mission is to deliver the healing power of music everywhere in the world that it is most needed. What we primarily do is bring musicians into healthcare institutions to perform for patients.

Prior to the global pandemic world that we live in right now, Musicians On Call, we recently celebrated our 20th anniversary. So, the organization is two decades old, and fully nationwide. We have some program in every state. We’ve been supported by artists from Bruce Springsteen to Brittany Spears.

Our lifeblood is developing artists that you may not have heard of, local artists who support their local markets by coming into healthcare institutions to perform. So, it’s not just about the celebrities.

JIM DONOVAN:

Right.

VIVEK TIWARY:

But the organization has been around for a while. Primarily, prior to this year, what we would mostly talk about is our bedside performance program. Where we literally, physically bring musicians into healthcare institutions to perform at patient bedsides, and to perform for healthcare providers in the halls of the hospital wards.

Something that we had not really been talking about that much, just because it wasn’t, putting it bluntly, crudely, whatever, it wasn’t the sexiest part of what we did is, we have long had a virtual performance program. All of the sudden, in this world of global pandemics, we’re obviously not allowed to go into the hospitals and just have musicians walking around the wards and performing at patient bedsides. Social distancing, and the fact that COVID can often be asymptomatic; it’s just not allowed us to do that.

VIVEK TIWARY:

But our virtual performance program, which has been going on for over three years now, all of a sudden has been needed more than ever. I’m really proud to say Musicians On Call, many of my friends start by saying, “Oh, my gosh, Vivek! How is Musicians On Call? I’m so sorry. You must be halted in what you’re doing.”

VIVEK TIWARY:

It’s very kind, but I’m very proud that I can spit right back at them, “Actually, we’re doing better than we’ve ever done, because we’re one of the very few hospital services organizations that can actually continue doing what we’re doing.” 

We’ve had the tech in place to do this for three years now where musicians and other artists can perform from wherever they are, and we either broadcast it directly into hospitals through their closed circuit TV systems… their CCTV systems. There’s also a whole host of other streaming technologies. I’m not a tech guy, but we’ve used a number of streaming technologies that’s not just the CCTV systems.

But we have this in place, and the organization is really thriving. So, Musicians On Call is continuing to do what we do best, which is deliver the healing power of music directly where it’s most needed, into healthcare institutions for patients, into healthcare institutions for first responders, and essential workers, and medical providers. I’m really, really proud that we’re continuing to do that, at a time where that is needed the most.

JIM DONOVAN:

Yeah.

VIVEK TIWARY:

So, thank you for bringing that up, because it is the thing that I’ve created that I am most proud of.

JIM DONOVAN:

Well, let’s talk a little bit more about it then, because I’m really into this. Can you tell us a story about when you’ve witnessed the profound healing power of music, when a musician’s at bedside, or even virtually?

VIVEK TIWARY:

Yeah. The best way to do this is tell you the origin story of Musicians On Call.

JIM DONOVAN:

Great.

VIVEK TIWARY:

Musicians On Call was founded for me in the wake of losing my mom from cancer, wanting to do something very positive with that experience. My co-founder, Michael Solomon also lost a loved one to cancer and had a very similar experience.

We were both, I like to think we’re both still young, but we were kids back then. We were in our 20’s when we founded Musicians On Call. We laugh that we were kind of backwards. Most people solidify their careers, and make their fortunes, and then start their non-profits. We did it the other way around.

But it’s that passion thing. It was a calling. We were both, we needed to do something positive with the awful experiences that we had. We needed to lean into what we were good at, which was the entertainment industry.

My mother loved music. She didn’t work in the arts, as I mentioned earlier, but she loved music. I was trying to find a way to do something with music. At first, Michael and I thought, “Maybe we’ll start a benefit concert, and every year, we’ll raise money for important causes. Wouldn’t it be amazing if, after this gets off the ground, all the biggest artists on the planet want to do our annual benefit?”

That’s a cool idea, but we realized very quickly, we didn’t want to just raise money. Raising money is so important. Being involved in a non-profit, I’m acutely aware of the importance of raising money and distributing it to worthy causes, but we decided we wanted to do something proactive that was going to be programmatic, and not just fundraising.

So, that was the first decision we made. We were trying to brainstorm our big idea. I remember that great John Lennon lyric, that “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” 

So, here we were, trying to come up with our big idea. On the side, until we could figure it out, we were both managing bands.

So, we decided to bring some of the musicians that we work with into the Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Center, which is a hospital we both had contacts at. The musicians would just perform in the lounge, in the recreation center. That’s not radical. That had happened, those kind of performances had happened before; important and needed, but no out-of-the-box thinking there.

Then, one night, a nurse came up to us afterwords and she said, “That was really wonderful, but it’s really a shame, because there are a number of patients on the floor who couldn’t be here, because they were either asleep, or they’re not allowed to leave their hospital room, or they were in the middle of a treatment, or they were having dinner.” For whatever, a million different reasons, there were patients on the floor who loved music, but couldn’t be in the lounge when the musician was performing.

So, the musician was Kenli Mattus, a dear friend of both of ours. We knew him really well. We were like, “Sure, Kenli would be happy to go to the bedsides and perform for those patients.” She said, “That’d be great!” So, we asked Kenli to do it.

When my mother died, I was in the room with her. I was holding her hand. I was in the hospital room when she breathed her last breath. I remember it very well. It was a very powerful, and dark, and sad moment, but you could really feel the energy, the life energy leave her body, and linger in the room for a moment, and then dissipate to wherever it goes. And I’ll never forget that feeling.

I will tell you, the next time I felt something remotely like that was that night at Musicians On Call. It was the same kind of powerful energy released into that room, but without any of the darkness. I guess I’m a little bit nerdy, but I remember that physics lesson you learn in high school, that energy can neither be created nor destroyed.

So, that energy that dissipated, it came back into that hospital room that night, through music.

JIM DONOVAN:

Now I’m getting chills…

VIVEK TIWARY:

When we both walked out, we were like, “Oh, my gosh! This is it!” When Kenli performed in that room, you could tangibly feel the atmosphere change. You could feel the energy in the room, and then you saw the effect it had.

Patients, we were told later, “She hasn’t smiled in a week and all the sudden, she’s smiling and tapping her toes to the music.” I saw family members who reminded me of myself when my mother was sick, not knowing what to say or how to act, all of a sudden loosening up and talking to their sick loved one about the music, and finding some common ground through song.

I saw hospital workers, nurses who were working crazy shifts, and doctors who were clearly overwhelmed by their jobs, all of a sudden also lightening up and laughing, and, “So what’s going on here?” and poking their heads around the corner, and smiling to the music.

It was just incredible! Then we stepped into the elevator with Kenli. He turned to us, and he’s one of these guys that is a road warrior. He does gigantic festivals to living room concerts. He’s performed everywhere. He turned to us and said, “That was the most rewarding musical experience I’ve ever had.”

So, Michael and I knew that night, as we walked out of the hospital. We’re like, “This is it! This is life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. We’ve been doing it. We just haven’t been doing it in exactly the right way. Now we know. This is it. This is Musicians On Call. This is what we have to start.”

That was the moment. That’s my favorite Musicians On Call moment, and it goes right back to the origin.

JIM DONOVAN:

That’s such a powerful story. My hair is standing up on my arms, just listening to it.

VIVEK TIWARY:

Oh, thank you.

JIM DONOVAN:

I spent a lot of time in the hospital last year. I can see the whole scene in my own vision, so thank you for that. 

What’s next for Musicians On Call? An ongoing mission to keep getting more people into health institutions? How does that work for you?

VIVEK TIWARY:

Absolutely. Our vision is a world filled with the healing power of music, and delivering that wherever it’s necessary, wherever it’s needed. My personal belief is that, that means everywhere, everywhere. We’d like to expand internationally. We have big dreams for the program.

As I mentioned earlier, we’re very proud that our efforts have not halted in this environment. The virtual programs are thriving. In some ways, one could argue that we’re doing better than ever. I believe that the world will return to a place where we don’t need to social distance as much, and we certainly will be out of quarantine. Eventually, there will be a vaccine for COVID-19, and live performance will return, and Musicians On Call will also, I wouldn’t say go back, just re-add that component of what we do.

The future really does look very bright for Musicians On Call. We’re going to continue to deliver what we do virtually. One day we’re going to get back to our live performances, as well. Please, I’m going to plug it again, MusiciansOnCall.org is where you can learn more about what we do.

On a crude level, non-profits always need money, so please donate, whether it’s $5.00, or as much as you can. But these are troubled financial times, and if you can’t donate money, there’s a million other ways you can get involved in being a volunteer and providing resources—helping us with technology, helping us with being a guide, being a volunteer musician or an artist, if you have an art that can be shared virtually… We have a place for you at Musicians On Call.

So, there’s a number of different ways you can contribute, not just financial, and not just artistic. If you have no artistic skills, like I don’t, there are still many, many ways you can be involved. 

So please, the future is very long and bright for Musicians On Call. Anyone who’s listening, that has their interest sparked by what I’ve said, please just go to our website and learn a little bit more. I’m sure you’ll find a way that you could help.

JIM DONOVAN:

Absolutely. I’m going to be including all those links at DonovanHealth.com/Podcast, as well, on your page. So, we’ll make sure that all of our folks get there. I’m really glad that you shared all that, and also gave us that information.

JIM DONOVAN:

Because the truth is, as a musician myself, I know that there’s musicians all over the place. One of the things we want most is to be useful, to be of service to people. With touring not happening, and with live shows not happening, I know a lot of folks are just sitting there wondering, “How can I be of use?” This is a really good place to put that energy, so thank you for that.

VIVEK TIWARY:

Wow, that’s very kind. It really is the thing I’m most proud of, so thank you.

JIM DONOVAN:

You’re a music lover and you’re a theater lover. What do you think are some of the healing qualities of theater?

VIVEK TIWARY:

For me, it’s the same thing. As I said earlier, I grew up with both. I grew up seeing great theater performances and great music performances. To me, they both represent shared community. There’s the common understanding. A great theater performance, there’s a rapport between what’s going on onstage and what’s going on in the audience. The audience is literally a feedback mechanism with the actors, and band, and the performers creating the piece of theater.

So, I feel like, a great piece of theater, and a great piece of music brings people together. It shows them common ground. Both provide a narrative to make you feel like you’re not alone, or to inspire you to do something, or to make your world a better place.

So, to me, they have the same emotional healing and inspiring qualities. It’s why I’ve dedicated my life to bringing the two worlds together; the live theatrical world with the popular music world. Because to me, they never felt separate, so I’m just doing what feels natural to me.

JIM DONOVAN:

It’s interesting, though. What you just said made me think of how, I’ve learned a lot of African drumming from teachers over the years. The way they talk about drum and dance in West Africa is that they are thought of as one and the same thing. 

So much so, that it’s really unusual to see a drummer just drumming, without a dancer present. They see them that connected. It makes me feel like theater and this kind of popular music that you’re talking about, they belong together like that.

VIVEK TIWARY:

To me, it just feels natural. I don’t understand anyone who doesn’t get that. That’s what drives me as a producer, to show anyone who doesn’t get it that it’s true, and create art that will show that.

JIM DONOVAN:

Now, you were in the music business in the ’90’s. I think you were at the label that I was at, Mercury Records. Is that right?

VIVEK TIWARY:

Yes, indeed! Yeah.

JIM DONOVAN:

Were you there when we were there?

VIVEK TIWARY:

So, I was at Mercury from ’97 to, maybe late ’96 to early ’99.

JIM DONOVAN:

Okay. So, we were right in the middle of our thing, the Rusted Root thing during then. I was trying to think if I ever ran into you there. I couldn’t remember if we had or not.

VIVEK TIWARY:

Yeah. I worked a little bit with Rusted Root, but not a ton. I think it was probably slightly before my time. Gigantic fan. We certainly have crossed paths in the past, but I don’t think deeply.

JIM DONOVAN:

When I saw your face, I’m like, “I know this guy. I’ve seen him somewhere before.”

VIVEK TIWARY:

Ditto. I didn’t want to go there at the beginning of our conversation, but I am a fan. I’m sorry. I might as well be honest in saying that right now.

JIM DONOVAN:

I’m blushing right now. I’ll be honest, too. Thank you for that.

VIVEK TIWARY:

No. I think what you guys do and represent is all of what we’re talking about right now, really, right? It’s no different.

JIM DONOVAN:

It is. It is.

VIVEK TIWARY:

It’s creating music to heal and to bring people together, the Rusted Root story, as far as I can tell.

JIM DONOVAN:

It is. It really is. It really is. 

So, how did you bridge music business into financing and producing on Broadway?

VIVEK TIWARY:

It was always my dream, ever since I was a kid, to bring those two worlds together, as we discussed a little bit earlier on. I left Mercury in 1999, as I said. This was when Seagram’s purchased PolyGram and was merging PolyGram with Universal. Budgets were frozen.

JIM DONOVAN:

I remember that, too.

VIVEK TIWARY:

Yeah, I’m sure you do. It was a very turbulent time for all of us, wasn’t it?

JIM DONOVAN:

Yeah.

VIVEK TIWARY:

Were you guys on the label then, or had you already left?

JIM DONOVAN:

Until 2002, I think we were on the label.

VIVEK TIWARY:

We won’t bore your audience with it, but some day, you and I need to have an off-the-record conversation and tell some war stories.

JIM DONOVAN:

Oh, please. Let’s do that.

VIVEK TIWARY:

From our Mercury days, yeah.

VIVEK TIWARY:

So, I found myself in ’99, when everyone was worried about job security, and everyone was worried they were going to get fired, and my longtime dream was to start my own company, and to dedicate that company to bridging the gap between the theater industry and the popular music industry. So, I felt at that moment, rather than look for another job, let me just dive in and start to pursue that dream.

VIVEK TIWARY:

So, I did. I started in 1999. I left and started my own company. I called it Tiwary Entertainment Group, and gave it that very vague name so that I could take on whatever projects I wanted, across the entertainment spectrum. I wouldn’t be just limited to doing traditional music industry type of projects, or traditional theater type of projects. I was an “entertainment” company.

I immediately sent word out to my network that I wanted to work in theater, as well. While I’ve been operating in the traditional music industry, working for record labels. While I was at college, I was booking shows for my university at UPenn. So, I’d done a lot of traditional music industry stuff; booking, marketing and/or producing, that sort of thing. I sent word out to my network that now I want to get involved in theater work.

Through my network, I met some of the lead producers of The Producers, the Mel Brooks musical. They invited me to join that show. You won’t find my name in the credits anywhere. It was a learning experience for me, but I did raise some money for the show. More importantly, those producers let me trail them. It was the show that I learned from.

So, I did earn my place at the table by raising some money. But to be honest, I really kept my mouth shut, and my eyes and ears open, and I just learned how to produce. That was my beginning entre into the theater world. It was a great place to start. 

The show was incredibly successful, and I learned tremendous amounts in that show. I really just set about following that dream, keeping my music contacts, and building my theater contacts, and finding ways to bring them together.

Just like everything, I focused on my passion, and started doing it, and dove right in, and surrounded myself with people who knew better than I did at the beginning, acknowledging what I don’t know, and just never losing sight of the fact that this was ultimately wanted to do was, was bring these two worlds together.

In many ways, A Raisin in the Sun was an important moment for me. That was not a musical. It was a play, but I was one of the early producers coming onto that project. We cast Sean Combs, P. Diddy, as the male lead. That was leaning into my music industry experience, knowing how to get to Sean, and how to work with Sean, and bridging the gap between those industries, how to speak to him and his team about the idiosyncrasies about the theater industry, because it operates very different from the music industry.

JIM DONOVAN:

Right.

VIVEK TIWARY:

Then marketing that show like a hip-hop record; hiring street teams, and doing radio promotion, things that don’t seem strange now. But when we were doing them for A Raisin in the Sun, 14, 15 years ago, a lot of my theater producing colleagues looked at me like I had two heads.

JIM DONOVAN:

So, you got some pushback?

VIVEK TIWARY:

A lot. Certainly, in terms of content, everyone said, “You’re crazy. African Americans don’t come to Broadway. Kids don’t come to Broadway. You’re going to lose your shirt.” I thought, “That’s absurd. If you give them something they want to see, and make sure that they know it’s there, of course they’re going to come.”

Sure enough, they did. Then, the next time around, when I was working on American Idiot, working with Green Day, it was the same thing. People go, “Kids don’t come to Broadway. Punk rock fans don’t come to Broadway. Green Day’s audience won’t come to Broadway.” I thought, “That’s absurd. You let them know it’s there, and you give them something they want to see, of course they’ll come.” And sure enough, they came.

So, I think I’m talking, a long-winded answer to your question, but I hope it gives you a sense of the journey I took, and how it’s really, again, just following my passion, and being persistent, and patient, and never losing sight of the types of bands that I want to work with, the type of people I want to surround myself with, and the type of art that I want to create.

My company is 21 years old, so it’s been a long time coming. But finally, what we do—bridging that gap between live theater and the popular music industry—is not so crazy anymore. When I started doing it 20 years ago, people were like, “You’re nuts. The projects you’re thinking about doing are considered edgy, and avant garde.”

Now obviously, we still need to work hard to make them successful, but Jagged Little Pill on Broadway, there’s nothing insane about that! Because right next door to us is the Tina Turner musical, and across the street, there’s Girl From the North Country, with Bob Dylan. And up the block, there’s Ain’t Too Proud to Beg, about the Temptations, and Hadestown, based on the work of Anais Mitchell.

The list goes on, of popular musicians whose work is being adapted for the stage. Now, what I do isn’t considered crazy anymore. But you know what? It’s been 20 years that I’ve been at it, to get to a place where what I do is really flourishing. I’m really, really proud of that. It’s an exciting time in my life as a theater producer.

JIM DONOVAN:

It’s important, because you had the courage to disrupt, and to keep pushing, even when the establishment said no, or, “This is nuts.” It just makes such good sense that, if you give an audience that’s never been to theater a reason to come, you’re going to expand the audience. I love the idea of a street team for a show, a Broadway show. I wish I was in the room to see peoples’ facial expressions when you said that that was the idea.

VIVEK TIWARY:

Yeah! People thought I was crazy, and now look. Now it’s a part of your marketing plans. You hire a street team.

VIVEK TIWARY:

But you know, there’s other ways. With Jagged Little Pill, I was very, very proud that The New York Times, we were a critic’s pick. We got a rave review. They said, “Jagged Little Pill has finally fixed the juke box musical. It’s the first musical of it’s genre to fully understand its genre.”

But when we were doing it, we were like, “It’s not going to be about Alanis. It’s not a bio story. It’s a brand new story. It’s not set in the ’90s. On its surface, it’s about a suburban family whose lives collide head-on with some of the burning issues of today.”

That doesn’t sound like a lay-up. It doesn’t. We made sure to hire, to work with somebody like Diablo Cody, who cracked the story. She made it very fun and entertaining. So, it is also very funny.

But none of that sounds easy, and it wasn’t. But ultimately, it’s a powerful adaptation that does something in a slightly different way, I think, than the musicals that have come before it. I think, because it deals with many issues of the day, it’s moving a tremendous amount of people. Audiences are coming out of that show being incredibly moved and inspired, of all ages, and ethnicities, and sexual orientations, and gender identities.

And that’s because everyone finds something different in it. If you’re a married man, then you’re relating to that character. If you’re a mom who’s struggling to keep her family together through turbulent times, you’re relating to that character. If you’re a teenager questioning their place in the world, and their gender identity, and their sexual orientation, there are characters in there that you’ll find common ground with.

I’m really proud of that. But for me, the message of it is the things we’ve been talking about on this call. Jagged Little Pill, to me, Vivek Tiwary, personally, it’s about the power and the healing power of music, and community, and leaning into the people that you love, and confronting difficult truths in your life. 

By leaning into those that you love, getting yourself to a place of hope, and empowerment, and ultimately finding ways to make the world a better place.

That’s what the show represents, to me. I’m incredibly proud of that. That, to me, was some of the edginess, if you will, behind what we’re doing there. We’re not working on a template, certainly. But the mere idea of putting popular music on Broadway is no longer, in and of itself, a radical idea.

JIM DONOVAN:

It sounds to me, first of all, I can’t wait to see it. Second of all, it doesn’t sound like you’re interested, at all, in doing things that are easy.

VIVEK TIWARY:

Yeah. It’s so funny. This is where I said you’ve just got to follow your passions and acknowledge the things that you’re passionate about. For me, it’s never been the easy one. Believe me, there are times when I say, “Oh, my God! I wish I could love an easy idea.”

So, it’s not by lack of desire. I’d love to have some passion about something that was a little bit more of a lay up, a little bit of an easier path. But that’s why I think we started this conversation. I think the first thing I said is, “You just have to acknowledge the things you’re passionate about.”

As I do that, I’ve also realized, okay, it’s not the easy way out, but it’s the right way. I will tell you, Alanis has also said that she was not interested in having her life story be told on stage.

So, for me, it was the right thing to do, to say, “I don’t want to use this album to tell your life story. To me, this album is about confronting uncomfortable truths, and fighting your way to a place of empowerment, and leaning on community, and ultimately finding hope. That’s what Jagged Little Pill is about. You lived an inspiring life, but if we’re going to tell this on stage, it can’t be a vehicle to tell your life story.

That just felt right to me, so that’s why I said that. But it turns out that it’s the only way I would have gotten the rights, because Alanis wasn’t interested in having her life story told on stage. So, not only did it feel right, it was right.

JIM DONOVAN:

Yeah.

VIVEK TIWARY:

I hope that didn’t sound arrogant. I didn’t mean it to be. But just because a thing isn’t easy doesn’t mean it’s wrong, I guess is what I’m saying.

JIM DONOVAN:

It’s more of a bird’s eye view of the entire situation, that her life was just one part of. Your ideas are so much broader and so much more universal than that. That’s just, as a body of work, that sounds exciting. Not that a bio isn’t exciting, but this takes it to the next level. What place does her life have in that bigger picture? That’s just very interesting to me.

VIVEK TIWARY:

Yeah. Yeah. You and me, both. As with everything, I think it’s like, “Well, of course.” It just made sense to me. Then, as other people didn’t think it made total sense, it just fired me up more to find a way to express what seemed so natural to me.

JIM DONOVAN:

So, can we switch over to The Beatles, here?

VIVEK TIWARY:

Ah! It always goes back to The Beatles, right?

JIM DONOVAN:

We’ve got to go back to The Beatles.

VIVEK TIWARY:

Everything artistically always goes back to The Beatles.

JIM DONOVAN:

Last week, I sat on my couch, after getting your graphic novel which, that’s the first graphic novel I ever read in my life.

VIVEK TIWARY:

Oh, no kidding!

JIM DONOVAN:

I read it cover to cover. I couldn’t put it down. The Fifth Beatle. So, you have a special interest in The Beatles manager, Brian Epstein.

VIVEK TIWARY:

I do, yes.

JIM DONOVAN:

The story is quite amazing. So, tell us why Brian is such an important character for us to know about.

VIVEK TIWARY:

Yeah. Look, Brian, I first got into this through The Beatles, obviously. My parents were gigantic Beatles fans, so I was a huge Beatles fan. I joke that I was listening to The Beatles before I was born, because when my mom was pregnant, she was listening to The Beatles, when I was in the womb.

JIM DONOVAN:

Nice.

VIVEK TIWARY:

So, I grew up from that place. I mentioned earlier, maybe we didn’t talk about this. But I found myself in business school. In 1991, I entered the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. I was, at the time, on a path to potentially join my family business, but I was dreaming about a life in the arts.

Wharton, in 1991, didn’t have a lot of resources. To be blunt, it didn’t really have any for young people who were interested in the business of the arts. That’s changed. They have a number of resources now. I try to go back and be one of those resources, myself.

But back then, I had to study this stuff on my own. I believed that The Beatles were the team that,. The Beatles, and their management team, and their business that wrote, and then rewrote the rules of the popular music business.

So, I thought, “If my lifelong dream is to work in the arts and entertainment industries, I should study the game changers, and the great entertainment entrepreneurs, and the visionaries. Then The Beatles are the ground zero, so I should study the life of their manger, of the guy that discovered the band and managed the band. That’s pretty much all I knew about him. I knew that he saw them at the Cavern Club, and discovered them, and went on to manage them.

I was kind of shocked at how little information was available about Brian. The Fifth Beatle is literally the only book in print, graphic novel or otherwise, about Brian. When I started this study back in 1991, there’s no Wikipedia. There’s no YouTube. There’s no Google. There are none of these online resources that we so take for granted.

So, I found myself reaching out to people who knew Brian; his friends, his artist clients, his enemies, his family members, and doing interviews. I started all this with wanting the business stories. I was a business student looking for business information. I wanted to know how did he get them a record deal, when no record label in the United Kingdom was interested.

How did he convince Ed Sullivan to book the band, when a British band had never made an impact in the United States? How did he come up with the idea of the suits and the haircuts? How did all those things happen? That’s what I wanted to know.

I uncovered those stories, and they were inspiring, and they are in the book, as you know. But by doing interviews, by being forced to not just read a Wikipedia article, I met human beings who knew him. As they saw that I was passionate and genuine about wanting to learn from Brian’s life, and I became friends with these folks, they started opening up to me about his personal life.

What I realized was that, yes, he’s the guy that accomplished all those business things. Literally, he’s the guy who, the way I describe it, he’s the engineer of Beatle Mania. He’s the guy that, behind the scenes, engineered Beatle Mania and gave the world the Beatles.

But what I then learned was the personal side of his story, is that he accomplished all that while being gay, and Jewish, and from Liverpool. In the 1960’s, those are three tremendous obstacles. It’s literally a felony to be gay. It’s against the law. Anti-Semitism is rampant in the country. It’s still a problem today, but it was far more prevalent then than it is now.

Liverpool, prior to the success of The Beatles, is a port town…dirty… in the north of England, that doesn’t have any cultural influence whatsoever. There’s a great music scene, but nobody knows about it. Nobody’s looking to Liverpool for the next big thing.

So literally, and Brian was 26 years old. So, in Brian Epstein, what I all of the sudden saw, here was a gay, Jewish, 26 year-old kid running around a dirty port town in the north of England, saying, “I have found a local rock n’ roll band who are going to be bigger than Elvis, who are going to elevate pop music into an art form.”

People laughed at him! They said, “Not only is that dream stupid,” the other half, “pop music into an art form, what does that even mean? Moreover, people like you don’t do things like that.”

JIM DONOVAN:

Ugh.

VIVEK TIWARY:

So, at this point, you can probably tell how that story was incredibly inspiring to the weirdo Indian kid that I was, running around New York’s Lower East Side, child of immigrants, saying, “I don’t want to be a doctor or an engineer! I want to write comic books, and I want to produce musicals, and I want to put punk rock albums on Broadway stages. That’s what I want to do!”

VIVEK TIWARY:

But I figured, if the gay, Jewish kid from Liverpool could bring the world The Beatles, why couldn’t the weirdo Indian kid from the Lower East Side do those things?

JIM DONOVAN:

I love that.

VIVEK TIWARY:

To me, the message of the Brian Epstein story is that no dream is too impossible, and no person too unlikely to realize that dream. That’s why everybody needs to know the story, because that’s a powerful human message. Certainly, that’s a message that’s needed at any moment in time, but especially in these turbulent times where it feels like our potential may be put on hold. Let’s remember that no dream is impossible, and no person too unlikely to realize that dream.

JIM DONOVAN:

It’s so interesting, how it lines up like this. These messages line up at exactly the right time when they’re needed the most.

VIVEK TIWARY:

Yeah… Yeah… Yeah…

JIM DONOVAN:

So, what’s next for Fifth Beatle?

VIVEK TIWARY:

So, very exciting time for The Fifth Beatle. The graphic novel has done very, very well. I’m very proud of it. It was a Number One New York Times Best Seller, and has translated into a number of languages. Yeah, I’m really, really proud of it.

VIVEK TIWARY:

Now, we are working on adapting it for television. I am writing the episodes myself. The most important piece of news on that is that we have secured access to Beatles music.

JIM DONOVAN:

Whoa!

VIVEK TIWARY:

So, we got the approval of the band, and did a deal with Sony ATV, who control the music publishing. Then we have access to putting Beatles songs into it. We’re literally the first and only narrative piece to date that has had access to that music.

There have been a number of documentaries, but if you look at Beatles movies that are about the band, obviously, there are fantasies like Yesterday, and like Across the Universe. But pieces that are about the band, like “Nowhere Boy,” or “Backbeat,” have never featured Beatles music before.

So, it’s a great honor, and a great responsibility. That’s the next step, is developing it for television. It’s going to be filled with Beatles music, and I’m really, really proud of that.

JIM DONOVAN:

Congratulations. That’s huge.

VIVEK TIWARY:

Please stay tuned, anyone that’s listening that wants to catch up with news with that. We have a website at FifthBeatle.com. My company at TiwaryEnt.com will also be letting you know when and where you’ll be able to see it on television.

JIM DONOVAN:

Yep. Again, I’ll include those links as well, in the show notes.

VIVEK TIWARY:

Thank you.

JIM DONOVAN:

One final question for you. I know you’re a busy guy, here, so thank you for taking this time.

VIVEK TIWARY:

No, it’s all good.

JIM DONOVAN:

If you could think back, if you had a time machine, what general advice would you give to 15 year-old Vivek?

VIVEK TIWARY:

It’s funny. The short answer to that question is what we’ve been talking about here; follow your passions, and be persistent and patient.

But honestly, if that actually happened, and I went back, and I had a time machine, the thing that I would do is stay the hell out of his way. That’s what I would do. It’s like, everything happens for a reason. I believe that you are the sum of your experiences.

I’ve had a lot of trauma in my life. I lost both my parents when I was in my 20’s. I lost my dad when I was in college and my mom a couple years after that. I’m an only child. A lot of things in my past that have been traumatic. And there have been things along the way that, “I wish I’d done that differently in business.”

But I look at myself where I am right now, and I mostly like who I am. I’m not perfect. I’m always still working on making myself a better person.

JIM DONOVAN:

Sure.

VIVEK TIWARY:

But I’m pretty good. As we said at the beginning, despite the turbulent world we live in, I have a lot of blessings that I should count and focus on, and a lot of leaning into gratitude, and a lot of silver linings. That’s a sum of all my past experiences, and all of who I am, and I wouldn’t change that.

So, if I could go back, I would try to stay out of that guy’s way. 

But the heart of your question, I would encourage young people to just focus on their passions, pursue them with an incredible amount of patience and persistence. 

I genuinely believe what I said about the Brian Epstein story, that message I learned there. No dream is too impossible, no person too unlikely to realize that dream.

I might add to that, that the crazier your dreams are, the harder you may need to work to get them, and the longer you may need to stick with it. But I genuinely believe you can get there. So, that’s probably the heart of the answer to your question, although I would try to stay out of my younger self’s way.

JIM DONOVAN:

I love both of them. That’s so good.

JIM DONOVAN:

Vivek, I hope we get a chance to talk again like this. This has been an absolute pleasure.

VIVEK TIWARY:

It’s been a joy for me, as well. Thank you so much.

JIM DONOVAN:

Hey, I’m thinking about you. I’m thinking about your family up there. Please take good care.

VIVEK TIWARY:

You, as well.

JIM DONOVAN:

We’ll see you real soon, okay?

VIVEK TIWARY:

I hope so. I would love to come back and chat again. Hopefully, there will be many more interesting things in our paths ahead that will allow us to do that. So, thank you, brother.

JIM DONOVAN:

Yeah, thank you.

Well that’s it for today. I appreciate you tuning in. Remember to come see us on our social media channels, on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and YouTube. Just search “Jim Donovan Sound Health.”

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