Last month, TPAC hosted the fourth annual TEDxNashville talk series — one of the independent, locally produced offshoots of the popular Technology, Entertainment and Design conference. Since 1984, the mama con and its baby cons have featured presentations on topics of scientific or cultural significance, delivered by authors, scientists, entrepreneurs, philosophers, former Presidents and Nobel laureates — an arguably politically agnostic smattering of outstanding figures from a variety of fields.
The organization hasn't been without its controversies, but there are some pretty universal truths in the above video from the April 6 event in Nashville, in which Self jefe Matt Mahaffey explains the role of originality and creativity in living a sane and productive life as a professional musician. "Nice Guys Don't Finish Last, Nice Guys Finish Happy" is admittedly a condensed affair, with a good chunk of its 16 minutes and 24 seconds devoted to playing three songs. Also, some of his advice is a little self-contradictory (how exactly does saying "no" make you a nice guy? I'm sure he could explain given more time, but TED talks are limited to 18 minutes). There's a shout-out to The Black Keys and their fight against sound-alike music in advertising, as well as some choice thoughts on KISS, Prince and fatherhood. And, being Matt Mahaffey, the three songs presented are great slices of pop, all tangentially related to the topic at hand. Check out the clip to see him talk the talk and do some rocking, first on the drum kit and what I think is a Suzuki Omnichord simultaneously, then the piano ("Better Than Aliens"), and last on his guitar.