Classical contemporary sextet yMusic has performed with acts ranging from Bon Iver to John Legend. Five years ago, another pop artist entered its orbit when Paul Simon added yMusic trumpeter C.J. Camerieri to his band. Now, yMusic is a central part Simon’s farewell tour, backing him onstage in different combinations. Before the trek closes in Simon’s native Queens on Sept. 22, Camerieri, 36; flutist Alex Sopp, 34; and violinist Rob Moose, 35, share what they’ve learned so far.
Draw On All Your Talents
After inviting the group on tour, Simon asked Camerieri, “‘What else can everyone do?’ He was so excited when I told him Alex is also a singer.” Adds Sopp: “With Paul, I have a lot room to sing out. He really likes when people go for it.”
“Often when we collaborate with a band, the arrangements are already set in stone,” says Moose. “With Paul, we’re not left out that process a song evolving over the course a tour. Every day, he’s trying to be a little more correct.”
Don't Forget The Side Hustle
Moose travels with his own recording gear to create original music in his hotel room during downtime. That equipment recently came in handy: While on tour, he got a surprise request to record on five upcoming songs for Gwen Stefani.
Save Your Energy
When work means two hours rehearsal followed by a two-and-a-half-hour show each night, conserving energy is crucial. “I sleep in as much as possible,” says Camerieri. “We start our workdays at 8 p.m.; you can’t be winding down by then."
This article originally appeared in the Aug. 4 issue Billboard.