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Daily Inspiration: Meet Charlie Griffin

Today we’d like to introduce you to Charlie Griffin.

Hi Charlie, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I started CF2 in January of 2011. We had a little over a dozen composers at that first meeting, from Full Sail University, UCF, Rollins, Stetson, etc. We now have over 30 members. I ran the group for a couple of years, then Tim Stulman, then Dave MacDonald, and now I’m running again, since November 2018. I stopped running it the first time because of some turmoil in my personal life. But since taking the reins again, I’ve been dedicated to elevating the presence of the group in the local arts scene and the community in general. I’m especially interested in creating collaborative projects with allied arts organizations in the area so that we not only offer our composer members unique opportunities to create new work but also to offer the Orlando area arts events that are special, memorable, and of high artistic value. To this end, we have collaborated with Emotions Dance, Burrow Press, Orlando Story Club, and local ensembles too. I’m excited that we will have our first performance at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on January 23, 2021.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Covid hasn’t helped, obviously. The pandemic derailed several projects, hopefully not completely or forever, but it was heartbreaking to see so much work fall apart. We had performances scheduled for March, April, May, June, September, and November.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
Most of my career has been focused on musical composition and education. I grew up in New York and worked there for many years. I went to graduate school in Minneapolis, spent some time in San Francisco, and lived in Eastern Europe for five years before coming to Orlando in 2010 to start teaching at Full Sail University in their Bachelor of Science in Music Production degree program. My view on what my personal work needs to be has expanded over the years so that my focus isn’t purely on musical composition but on creativity more broadly. I got a second bachelor’s in creative writing last year and have written a play, a children’s picture book (getting illustrated currently by Rebecca Sampson, a wonderful British artist), and a screenplay. I’m a yoga practitioner too, and I run a yoga product shop, I’ve also done some acting and voiceover work for fun too. I starred in an episode of MTV’s Revenge Prank that aired during the pandemic. My kids were crazy excited to see me on TV.

Is there a quality that you most attribute to your success?
I’ve never been truly interested in leadership for its own sake, but do find myself in situations where people look to me for leadership. And I’ve always been willing to step up and lead when that happens. Vision and strategy are part of my nature. I also like to think that I have the capacity for true listening. Perhaps my yoga practice is part of that; I get present, shut up, and focus on listening to what someone has to say, who they are, or what they need. Then, my inner storyteller kicks in. What kind of project can we do together? What if, what if, what if? Finally, I’m good at asking. Having the confidence to ask for partnership in whatever form goes a long way. You can never get a yes without asking for one, and I recognize that the asking part can stop some people in their tracks because it can be intimidating.

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