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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Groovy Reader of the Month: Derek Bishop (and win a copy of his CD)

As a way to thank my readers for their support, I feature a new groovy guy or gal each month - and the winner of this prestigious title for June is gay singer/songwriter Derek Bishop of New York City who was thrilled to discover DEEP DISH earlier this year and became a fan. And the feeling was mutual after I listened to his "extra-catchy, eclecto-piano pop" music. Derek released his debut CD, Resistance is Beautiful, last year - and, according to his website, the record's 12 songs "draw from the past six decades of music for inspiration, calling to mind The Beach Boys' airy harmonies, Fleetwood Mac's musical anger management, Phil Spector's wall of wonders, and The Muppet Show - as if hosted by Fiona Apple."

In addition to being a musician, Derek also worked for 10 years at Soap Opera Digest as an art director/designer. And anyone who says "Sue Ellen Ewing and Olivia Newton-John made my childhood" is a man after my own heart. I am delighted to have the fabulous Mr. Bishop here on the Dish to answer a few questions about his career and, of course, pop culture - and he has graciously agreed to give away a copy of his CD to one lucky DEEP DISH reader. To enter to win, email your name and address to by midnight on Sunday, July 8 (CST).

What was your inspiration for your CD, Resistance is Beautiful?
Resistance is Beautiful is about great things that come from a life you try to avoid - i.e. trying to ignore that nagging itch in the back of your brain - and the life you lead as a result of that. For me, recording this CD was something I always knew I wanted and needed to do. I just had to essentially sit down and make it happen. There was fear, procrastination, insecurities — but eventually I just couldn’t let those things stop me anymore. But it was that struggle that helped shape so many of the songs and the overall theme of the CD. The resistance was beautiful because it is what made me (and the record) what we are today - and I am proud of that.

Did you always want to be a singer?
I never wanted to be a singer. I always wanted to be a piano player though. I didn’t even try to sing in public until I was in my 30s. Again, this is part of the “resistance” theme I just talked about. I didn’t want the attention. But I started singing because I loved writing songs, and there wasn’t anyone else to perform them. However, once I got the hang and feel (and security) for it, I realized what a wonderfully cathartic thing it is. Everyone should sing!

How did you first become a soap opera fan? And which shows have you watched over the years?
I remember my mom watching Another World when I was really young. I distinctly remember (even at 4 or 5) really liking Iris (Beverlee McKinsey) - and I was interested in the storyline, too. But then I went off to school and wasn’t home during soap times. So apart from nighttime soap viewing (Dallas), I didn’t watch any soaps for a good decade. That is until 1985 when we got our first VCR for Christmas. To test it out we recorded an episode of Guiding Light. In this episode Reva (Kim Zimmer) jumped off a snow-covered bridge. The entire family had so much fun rewind-reviewing it and watching her (in reverse) pop out of the water. We just kept looping the “jump” - ffwd, rewinding, slow motion reverse, etc. We did that about a dozen times, and it was quite the novelty! At any rate, we all kind of got sucked into the “will she survive this jump?” thing, and over the holiday break the whole family just kept tuning in. After that I was hooked. And I watched GL until the day it went off the air. I was never a huge fan of the other shows, though I did watch them all occasionally when they were (in my opinion) at a creative peak - though I was never a big fan of the ABC shows.

What was one of your favorite moments during your decade at Soap Opera Digest?
Hands down it was working on the 30th Anniversary party. I designed all the signage, graphics, invites and materials for the event. We had huge 20-foot banners with collages of all the old magazine covers. That was such a treat and honor to get to design. The party was downtown in the meatpacking district (when it was still a mostly hip area) and it was just wonderful. Soap stars from all the shows were there and just chatting with everyone. It was a superb time.

If I was stranded on a desert island for a year, I would want to listen to:
Stevie Nicks, Butch Walker, Fleetwood Mac, Fiona Apple and Olivia Newton John.

Five movies that I think everyone should be required to watch are:
Xanadu, Somewhere in Time, Tommy, 9 to 5 and Terms of Endearment.

If I were asked to choose the Sexiest Man Alive, it would be:
Maxwell Caulfield circa 1982.

If I could have anyone in the world - living or dead - be a guest at my dinner party, I would invite the following three people:
Stevie Nicks, Kim Zimmer - there’s obviously a trend here - and I think Elizabeth Montgomery would have been fun to pal around with.

What's next for Derek Bishop?
I want to continue to make music and get it out there, make fans and connect with other artists, and become a better player and singer. I’ll probably make one or two more videos from this CD, and then start recording a new CD later this year. It’s going to have a very late-70s early-80s sound - at least that’s where the songs are headed now. It will be a little more dancey and hopefully have a sense of humor. I’m funny, and I want my music to show that.

Thank you, Derek, for being one of my grooviest readers! To learn more about Mr. Bishop, go to You can also follow him on Facebook and Twitter.


Howard Stump said...

Great interview! Derek makes great music!

Marc said...

Glad you liked the interview, Howard!

Anonymous said...

Loved the soap opera slant to this one.

Anonymous said...

His charm is evident. His talent must be unique and a joy to listen to. Not enough originality in the music world today.