Zach Heckendorf entered the music business at 16. By his early 20s, he was worried his career might be over when he walked away from a promising record deal.
But going independent was the way forward for the Denver singer-songwriter.
"I'm 27 and I've had a 10-year career, which is crazy to say," Heckendorf told CPR's Colorado Matters. "But that's what I've been learning. It's all been about: 'How do I take this more into my own hands?'"
Heckendorf recently released the album "HAWK TALK." He also moved back to Denver this summer after studying creative writing at Columbia University in New York City.
"I'm much better built for writing songs. I learned so much, but I struggled my way through the fiction writing. You can get away with more in songs."
The record arrives when live music is at a standstill. Amidst the pandemic, Heckendorf has been playing for digital audiences via a recent "virtual tour" — where he partnered with music clubs across the country to stream live performances.
A digital stream isn't quite the same as connecting with fans in person and on stage, but Heckendorf is getting the hang of it for now.
"You have to be doubly as energetic in order to just come off as normal energetic. If I show up and I'm in my normal, calm performance state, that doesn't translate very well. I have to really put on the makeup."
Listen to the full interview with Zach Heckendorf above and to the right.