Dedication, focus, and self-discipline are the three essentials that are mandatory for self-success.
A prime example of this philosophy is Kire Najdovski. Since arriving on American soil from Macedonia 14 years ago, Kire has paid numerous dues in his adopted home -Rochester, New York. His sacrifices have been rewarded with an opportunity to join none other than the legendary Talas, as their Guitarist.
Mr. Najdovski graciously took the time of his very hectic schedule to speak with “The Count” to share his
story with you.
Mark St. John: What first inspired you to pick up a guitar?
Kire Najdovski: My Father was my first influence. I was 9 when I first picked up the guitar, and I remember him teaching me an old traditional Macedonian song. I could only play using the bottom E string of that guitar. That acoustic -which I still have, was so much bigger than me that I couldn’t keep it up correctly (lol!) So, I would sit it face up on my lap instead so I could play it. Later on, my Dad taught me some other songs from western Europe and America that he liked and the rest of it is history. 😁
MSJ: I enjoyed your last album, “Arrival.” What feedback have you received from it, and can we expect a new release in the future?
KN: Thank you I’m glad you did! It means a lot. The feedback has been excellent so far. People still listen to the album and very often they will tell me how much they enjoy it! Then, of course, they always ask when will the next record be coming out! Speaking of the new album, it’s already in progress and almost finished. I have two more songs to finished, and then it should be out soon. I don’t have an exact day yet, but I hope to announce the date soon. We’re very excited about it!
MSJ: Coming to the United States from Macedonia, was it easy for you to blend within Rochester, New York’s music scene and is there a difference in how music is marketed in North America as opposed to Europe?
KN: Every change at some point is a little tough, especially in the beginning. Personally, for me, it was a huge change. But I worked very hard since the first day I landed in Rochester, and I continue to work hard. I think it pays off in the end, whether you live in the States, Europe or any place. Nowadays, social media makes it easier to promote music no matter where you live!
MSJ: Where do you receive your ideas and inspirations from when it comes to songwriting?
KN: Before I moved to the States, I worked with many Bands in my country and recorded many records together, I never considered myself a Guitarist who would write instrumental music because I know it’s not an easy task. When I came to the States, I began toying with the idea to write a song, and then one song just came to me. I was like wow this is awesome, and the ideas kept flowing for different songs. I began realizing that I actually could do this! It felt like I had those files sitting in the back of my head just waited for the right time and place to come out. I’m inspired by so many things, like good and bad events in my life, concerts that I’ve been to or seen on T.V., listening to other musicians, and by the gear that I use. All of this has been an incredible experience for me and shapes the way I write my music.😁
MSJ: I can’t help but notice that your sound is very deep and unique. What gear do you use both in the studio and on stage?
KN: Wow, that’s a great compliment and credit for any Guitar Player! I’m very glad you noticed that. On stage, I use a variety of amps, depending on the Band/Project I’m working with at the time. I own many amps like my Mesa Boogie Mark IV small size head, Laney GH100R head, my custom-built NAU amp, Fenders, Marshalls, and my latest addition is a Friedman Small Box 50, which is an incredible amp. That amp is probably the best plexi-type amp that I’ve played so far. So inspiring! Even Billy Sheehan at our last show with Talas recently fell in love with it. He was blown away by the sound, the dynamics, how simple it was to use, and that it just kicks butt! When I’m in the studio, I use my Hughes & Kettner GrandMeister Deluxe 40. It’s a very convenient amp to work with, all-tube guitar amp head and built-in digital effects. I don’t need any cabinets in the studio with this amp because it has built-in DI Red Box AE speaker emulator, which works perfectly. I’ve also used this amp many times for live shows, and it worked just as great.
MSJ: How did the opportunity to join Talas come about?
KN: At the time, Talas was planning a reunion show back for the summer of 2017 and needed a guitarist. My name was brought to the attention to the band members by Lisa Inzana, the Manager of Talas, and Phil Naro, their Singer. Both believed that I would be the perfect fit for Talas. I received a call from Lisa, asking me if I have “ever heard of the band Talas?” I was like “of course I have who hasn’t!” I was very familiar that it was Billy Sheehan’s band from back in the days and Phil was the Singer. Phil Naro and I have known each other before this call. Lisa said, “well, that’s good because we may need you to play for this reunion.” I was like, “what?!” Wow, I couldn’t believe what I just heard! Then about a month later, I received a call back that they wanted me to play the reunion. That was an incredible moment that I’ll remember forever. That one reunion show has now turned into Talas V2 and many shows! I am very fortunate to have become the new Guitarist in Talas.
MSJ: Ever pinch yourself or feel blown away to be sharing the stage with the great Billy Sheehan?
KN: Never in a million years would I have ever thought I would be sharing the stage and be playing with Billy Sheehan! It’s any Musician’s dream to play with talent like Billy, and my dream came true. I can still remember when I was younger, and I had a bunch of posters in my room of Billy and the Bands he played with. He has worked with and still is working with all my favorite guitar players since I started playing the guitar. Billy has been one of my biggest influences and someone I’ve admired since picking up a Guitar when I was younger. Working with Billy is an incredible experience. The more I perform with him, the more I’m blown away. I think he’s from another planet! He is no doubt, the Master of Bass.
MSJ: In closing, what advice do you have for somebody who’s considering learning how to play the guitar as a hobby -or with the full ambition to make a career out of it?
KN: My advice to anyone when it comes to learning to play the guitar or any instrument would be to listen to a lot of music with a variety of styles. Be open to the music; don’t limit yourself because music is endless. Every day I learn something new when I discover more new artists and bands which inspired me always. Remember talent makes up only 15% of a musician; the rest is hard work. It’s essential to practice a lot and don’t be afraid to jam with musicians who are more talented than you because you can learn from them and increase your level of playing. Respect other musicians regardless of their style of music. And most importantly. Be yourself!