The Language of Creativity Podcast
Authentic Movement – Shari Washington Rhone (ensemble cast of The Lion King) Ep. 8

Authentic Movement – Shari Washington Rhone (ensemble cast of The Lion King) Ep. 8

August 19, 2019

Season 2 opens with Shari Washington Rhone, who as a member of the original Los Angeles theatrical company of The Lion King where she worked as a “swing” and an understudy for the role of Sarabi. As energetic as she is talented, Shari is a dancer, choreographer, singer, and voice-over artist. In this engaging interview, she shares how she found her love for performing at a very early age.

Coming to LA from what was the Indianapolis Dance Company (now the Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre) Shari jumped right into classes with the revered Lula Washington before being invited to join her company. Shari now enjoys a story-telling style of dance with the JazzAntiqua Dance & Music Ensemble, where she has been for the last 10 years. She also enjoys getting to share her gifts with children through teaching with Dance & Dialogue as well as Jaxx Theatricals, showing them how important it is to use dance to express themselves and share their story.

On top of dance and teaching, this amazing woman also performs with two bands, works as a voice-over artist, and just earned her second degree black belt in Hapkido. Steve talks with Shari about how, with the support of her husband, she is able to manage doing all of what she loves while also being a mother to two beautiful, creative children.


Featured Music: “Elevation” by Brian Swartz and the Gnu Sextet (

Narrated Performance: Shari Washington Rhone 

Visual: (

SPONSORED LINK (Please support our show!)

Nothing Wrong by Lobate Scarp (

Guest: Shari Washington Rhone

Insta: @FestiveShari

FB: Shari Washington Rhone


Voiceover Reel:

Mentioned in the show...

Jazz Antiqua:


Dance and Dialogue:

Lula Washington Dance Theatre:

Bella Donna - A Tribute to Stevie Nicks:

Jaxx Theatricals:

Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre:

Songs Hapkido:

Special thanks to Garden of Sound for hosting this conversation at their Melrose studio. (



The Lion King, Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre, JazzAntiqua Dance & Music Ensemble, Lula Washington Dance Theatre, Julie Taymor, Lion King, Jaxx Theatricals, Dance & Dialogue, DisneyLand, Rufus Bonds, Sarabi, dance, dancing, singing, theater, performing, voiceover, costumes, puppets, Julie Taylor, Michael Curry, Disneyland, Disney, Parnell Damone Marcano, Stephanie Andersen, Gerald White, stage

Perfect Pitch – Chris Elchico (Concert Saxaphonist/Clarinetist) Ep.7

Perfect Pitch – Chris Elchico (Concert Saxaphonist/Clarinetist) Ep.7

February 12, 2019

Aventura-cover The Barkada Quartet

Concert clarinetist and soprano saxophone player, Chris Elchico joins Steven Leavitt to talk about his experience being a classical musician, music teacher, and local coffee shop barista. Chris discusses the role of the classical musician, and what it’s like playing with a quartet with members that live across the US.

After getting his bachelors from UCLA and his masters from Indiana University in saxophone and clarinet, and studying under renowned LA Philharmonic player Burt Hara, Chris began the process of auditioning for orchestras across the US. He talks about the harrowing process of auditioning behind a screen where the judges base their critique on his sound alone.

In 2012, Chris and his quartet won a trip around the world, performing at Notre Dame and ending up in Italy. “It was like living the dream, for 12 days.” He and Steve discuss what it’s like to come back to “real life” and the daily grind, but it’s apparent that Chris’ kindness and positive attitude about life is one of the reasons he makes his successes look so unimposing.

Chris is a soft spoken, compassionate person who uses his innate skills of empathy and listening to excel in his jobs as a barista, music teacher, and classical musician.

Featured Music: “Quartets Per a Saxos, Volum 1: Lúltim Sospir” written by David Salleras Quintana, performed by The Barkada Quartet

Guest: Chris Elchico

Host: Steven Leavitt (

Other music:
“Recitation Piece” written by David Maslanka, performed by The Barkada Quartet
“The Flower Duet” from Lakme composed by Leo Delibes, performed by Steven Banks, Chris Elchico and Michael Sikich

Additional music: Nothing Wrong (by Lobate Scarp)

Please review this podcast on Google Play, iTunes and Stitcher and help other creatives find their tribe!

Tags: music, clarinet, soprano saxophone, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Burt Hara, UCLA, Indiana University, compassion, Phillipino, concert, auditions, travel, Italy, Notre Dame, barista, coffee shop, day jobs, music teaching, mentorship, hire your mentors

Art as a Reflection of the Soul -  Mathias Manser (Visual Artist) Ep.6

Art as a Reflection of the Soul - Mathias Manser (Visual Artist) Ep.6

November 30, 2018

Featured Art: “Ring of Fire”


Featured Music: Improvisation on Acoustic Guitar performed by Mathias Manser

In this thought-provoking interview, digital media artist Mathias Manser opens up about his creative process and journey as an artist. This discussion explores how life experiences are reflected in our art and leads the conversation to some interesting places.

Growing up in Switzerland, Mathias’ parents and educators tried to dissuade his artistic ambitions in favor of something more practical, so he went into drafting.  However, after a trip to NY with his father (an aspiring musician) inspired Mathias, he came to the US in 1998 to attend the Musician’s Institute in Hollywood. Although a gifted singer, songwriter, and guitarist, Manser did not find the success or satisfaction he was seeking from a music career.

A spiritual awakening in 2012 led Manser back to his earliest-loved form of self-expression, visual art. He picked up a Wacom tablet and began drawing. Image after image, Manser created a stunning collection of work. The depth of emotion behind each piece comes through with such power and clarity. It wasn’t until the collection was complete that realization came to Manser; all of these images were connected on a bigger scale and what he had been creating all this time was The Primordial Sound Oracle Deck.

Steve and Mathias touch on Carl Jung, archetypes, and the collective unconscious, examining how art serves as a reflection of the soul. The conversation explores his new passion of drumming as meditation, tattoos, and blissful heavy metal music. A recurring theme in the podcast: the pair discuss the challenges that surround choosing to live a life of creativity and the drive that fuels that choice.

Mathias opens up, sharing a few very personal moments from his life with listeners and explains how he used his artwork as a form of therapy to cope with everything from heartbreak to addiction to the sudden loss of his parents.

The spiritual journey has shaped him as an artist but more importantly as a human being. Choosing compassion and empathy, renouncing judgment, and allowing himself to feel and process the negative with the positive, has given Mathias an admirable resilience and infectious harmonious spirit.

Guest: Mathias Manser 
Get the Deck:
 The Primordial Sound Oracle Deck 
Buy Art:
Mathias at Red Bubble

Host: Steven Leavitt 

Additional music: Nothing Wrong (by Lobate Scarp)

Resources and references mentioned in today’s podcast:
Help support the podcast by using our Amazon links below.

Awake and Aware Conference

Wacom Cintiq 22HD 21-Inch Pen Display Tablet (affiliate link)

The Red Book - Carl Jung (affiliate link)

Musician’s Institute

The Contortionist - Language


Keb Mo

Lelani Wolfgram

Please review this podcast on Google Play, iTunes and Stitcher and help other creatives find their tribe!

Tags: graphic artist, tarot cards, artist, Carl Jung, the collective unconscious, spirituality, gestalt therapy, music, drumming, art, archetypes, tattoos, relationships, sensitive male, creativity, transpersonal psychology

Becoming The Photographer – Nat Magnuson (part 2) Ep.5

Becoming The Photographer – Nat Magnuson (part 2) Ep.5

November 12, 2018

How do you define success?

In our second interview with landscape photographer Nat Magnuson, we dig into the story behind his life-long love of photography. An avid backpacker, Nat has been taking photos of the outdoors since he was a child. His photos, which focus on capturing the feeling of a moment are often tied to the story behind them.

We dive deep, exploring the idea that it’s the journey, wrong-turns and all, that help to define your RoadMap (a book he leant me written by the folks at Roadtrip Nation). If you believe in your creativity, your art will come.

We touch on why digital was a limited medium when it first came out and how it’s learning the tech well enough to forget about the tech that makes you an expert.

Nat shares how he found his tribe in photo school, then went to LA to pursue a photography career, and although he thought he had found an exciting nitch following Hollywood stunt-performers economic constraints found him gaining membership into the set-dresser’s union and unable to join the Photographer’s union even though he’d earned the required 100 days working for various productions (and signing many of his rights away to less than scrupulous companies). Nat found himself working 85 hours a week he was beginning to feel years of his life slipping away. He had fallen into a Hollywood career that many would find enviable but longed for the open spaces.

Nat shares the pivotal moment when he realized that he had amassed a body of work worthy of opening his first gallery, and why for him it’s the moments that matter, even if it’s never truly captured on film.

It is Nat’s belief that you can bring your eclectic talents to the table and create your own calling.

When is the moment that you become a photographer?
...or a painter, or a craftsman, or a writer or……….

Featured Art:
Nat's Artist Statement (by Nat Magnuson)
Improvisation on Melodica (by Nat Magnuson)
Nature Sounds (recorded by Nat Magnuson on Zoom H5)

Guest: Nat Magnuson
Instagram: @SilverGrainArt
Online Store:

Host: Steven Leavitt

Additional music: Nothing Wrong (by Lobate Scarp)

Resources and references mentioned in today’s podcast:
Roadtrip Nation
Roadmap: The Get-it-Together Guide for Figuring Out What to Do with Your Life (affiliate link)
The Seven Stages of Film Production

Please review this podcast on Google Play, iTunes and Stitcher and help other creatives find their tribe!

Tags: Photography, Landscape Photographer, Nature, Roadtrip Nation, Hollywood, Stunts, Film, Movie Sets, Mesa Verde, Backpacking, Snow, 35mm, The Disaster Artist

Making Creative Space – Nat Magnuson (part 1) Ep.4

Making Creative Space – Nat Magnuson (part 1) Ep.4

October 18, 2018

Steve hosts an engaging conversation with his long-time friend, Nat Magnuson. Nat is a photographer, songwriter, pianist, perpetual student, and a natural teacher.

As a Hollywood set dresser, Nat found an outlet for his exceptional attention to detail. Then, following his own Roadmap (they discuss Roadtrip Nation more in Part 2), he decided to leave Hollywood behind to be closer to his true passions, art, photography, and nature.

Steve catches up with him after his recent trip to the Northwest, where he set up an art gallery in a sawmill – an homage to his other passion, old growth wood – at the world-famous Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Washington State.

In this episode, Nat shares his deep knowledge regarding the effects of space and design on the human psyche, as well as making the world a beautiful space by sharing his creative gifts. They dive deep, discussing the importance of bringing intention to a space and how it can make a huge difference in one's life. Nat also shares a far-out exercise that can help anyone learn how to improve any space.

Articulating creative impulses using language is a shared experience of struggle that all artists can relate to, no matter what their discipline.

Nat has much more to share, from his journey as a photographer to what it was like working in the Motion Picture business. Make sure to SUBSCRIBE to be the first to know about part 2.

Sign up for the mailing list for a bonus episode with Michael Zimmerlich (ep.3) 80/20 records on strategies to start making connections in your career!  

Featured Music:  
Rhythme-Atonal (by Nat Magnuson)
Nothing Wrong (by Lobate Scarp)
Improvisation on Melodica (by Nat Magnuson)

Guest: Nat Magnuson
Instagram: @SilverGrainArt

Host: Steven Leavitt

Sponsored link:

Other resources and references mentioned in today’s podcast:

NPR article on “Nudging”
Red Umbrella Design
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
Think Creative Collective
Roadtrip Nation
Piano Adoption

Guest Note:

“Artists can use their connections with different emotional states to bring out depth and breadth in their work. Having a tool bag to help with dark emotions is sometimes necessary. If you find yourself in a bad place, reach out: to friends, family, and those around you. Know that you are special and that what you may be going through does not define you. If you have nowhere to turn, follow the resource links below.”

If you are struggling with depression, in crisis, or feel you have no one to talk to; there is help:

If are uninsured or underinsured, find a qualified therapist at a reduced rate through:
The Open Path Collective

Tags: Creative Process, Space, Interior Design, Music, Creativity, Brain Science, OCD, depression, Art, Artist, Music, Musician, Melodica

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What’s in a Name? – Michael Zimmerlich (founder of 80/20 Records) Ep.3

What’s in a Name? – Michael Zimmerlich (founder of 80/20 Records) Ep.3

August 17, 2018

In this episode, Steve chats with Michael Zimmerlich, the founder and president of 80/20 Records. Michael formed this independent record label and management company in 2008 basing it off of the Pareto principle, giving 80% of royalties to artists.

As the manager of the psychedelic indie-rock band Captain Squeegee, Michael gives an insider view of some of the hilarious antics that come with managing the band and how playing Magic the Gathering taught him the strategy he needed to run a successful business.

Michael discusses the importance of discovering in life what makes you happy, how to maximize your results by focusing on the 20% of things that make 80% of the difference in your life, and how not letting yourself be afraid to fail can lead to big success. The pair chats about some of the world’s greatest creative minds including Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, and Ed Catmull, and share how important it is to beware of the inner critic to avoid blocks and ensure that you’re constantly creating.

Featured Music: Dually Noted by Captain Squeegee


Facebook/Twitter/Instagram: @8020records

Notable Captain Squeegee music videos:
Our Children (Mentioned in the podcast)
Inevitable (Award-winning claymation video)
Dually Noted
The Factory

Support the podcast using these affiliate links:
Creativity Inc.
Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Audiobooks are Steve’s favorite way to enjoy great books and Audible makes it super simple with any time, anywhere listening! Get your Audible membership by clicking on this link and start enjoying exclusive member savings.

Sign up for the mailing list for a bonus episode with Mike! 80/20 records on strategies to start making connections in your career! (


Pareto principle, 80/20 Records, Creativity Inc., Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Ed Catmull, Richard Branson, RIAA, royalties, Indie Radio, Magic the Gathering, happiness, success by design, Captain Squeegee, Warped Tour

Developing Empathetic Society – Indie Jen Fischer (Filmmaker) Ep.2

Developing Empathetic Society – Indie Jen Fischer (Filmmaker) Ep.2

August 2, 2018

This episode contains intense thematic elements ***listener discretion advised***

Indie Jen Fischer started her creative journey as a pianist, but eventually began her own production company, Think Ten Media Group, with her partner Ramon Hamilton. In this episode Jen shares how, as a producer and musician, she is broadening her creative repertoire through her new journey as a writer with her upcoming novel, The Leeches.

Indie Jen and Steve discuss: the experiences and challenges of her various projects, what makes Jen confident in her decision to work as a creative rather than pursuing a career path her Ivy League degree could afford, and the challenges of balancing motherhood with her creative career. Jen also emphasizes the role community plays in her life, personally and professionally, and highlights the ways in which individuals can create communities themselves.

As a producer, Jen shares the experience she had during the production of Smuggled, the award winning film she produced with her life partner, Ramon. As a mother of a toddler and 7 months pregnant, she and Ramon juggled limited resources and found creative solutions to navigate unique challenges - like learning how to light and shoot the movie themselves in an outrageously tight space. With the short film series, THE wHOLE, Jen immersed herself in the realities of those living in solitary confinement and learned about the importance of using language to identify people or topics, moving past the typical stereotypes to reveal that there are real people behind the issues.

Her most recent project led her to Rwanda researching the atrocity of genocide for her upcoming novel, The Leeches. As an empath, Jen describes how she used creativity to help her work through her emotions instead of letting them shut her down. With The Leeches, Jen continues to learn and grow as a creative person discovering that you don’t need validation to do the work you want to do, rather you need to claim your expertise and enjoy the experience of finding yourself somewhere you didn’t think you’d land.

Featured Film Clip: SMUGGLED (
Piano: Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13, Sonata Pathétique (played by Jen Fischer)
Poem: Bones by Jen Fischer

Guest: Indie Jen Fischer (
Twitter: @IndieJenFischer
Host: Steven Leavitt (

Sign up for the mailing list for a bonus episode: Mike Zimmerlich of 80/20 Records on strategies to start making connections in your career! (

Tags: Think Ten Media, Smuggled, Genocide, Community, Parenting, Piano, Motherhood, Mom Guilt, Language Authenticity, Creativity, Film Production, Thich Nhat Hanh, Rwanda, novelist, filmmaking, travel, creative groups

Naming the Podcast – Adam Sears (of Lobate Scarp)

Naming the Podcast – Adam Sears (of Lobate Scarp)

June 21, 2018

Adam Sears, of the progressive rock band Lobate Scarp, helps Steve name his new podcast!

Together, they discuss the value of creating meaningful work that can make an impression on others or make the world a better place. Many starting out in the music industry might not have the means to create the caliber of music they’d like to. Adam and Steve share stories of navigating these challenges while creating Lobate Scarp’s album on limited funds including cancelling family vacations for jobs (Adam was halfway to Arizona when he was offered a part in MTV’s Matrix Reloaded Spoof!), testing out crowdfunding and working with Adam’s dream mixer, Rich Mouser. Steve jokes that “If you want work in the entertainment business, book a vacation.” 

They also begin to dive a bit into dark matter and dark energy. It’s between the galaxies and what hold them together. We can’t see it, but could it be like the 5th dimension? With new evidence of neuron-like matter between galaxies, similar to a brain, could the universe be growing?

Featured Music: “Nothing Wrong” by Lobate Scarp 

Guest: Adam Sears Facebook @lobatescarp ( Website:

Host: Steven Leavitt ( 

Sign the mailing list for a bonus episode: Mike Zimmerlich of 80/20 records on strategies to start making connections in your career! ( 

Tags: Lobate Scarp, MTV Matrix Spoof, dark matter, Rich Mouser, artistry, 11th dimension, Rockstar, Blockchain, Time and Space, Beautiful Light, Music, Creativity, Science, Art


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