The Music & Sound Retailer: Who was your greatest influence or mentor and why?
Larry Morton: My father set the example of honesty, hard work, loyalty, kindness, positive attitude, humor and lifelong learning. He was the perfect role model for me.
The Retailer: What was the best advice you ever received?
Morton: Don’t be afraid to show your passion and follow your passion into a career. Life’s too short to spend it doing something you don’t love doing.
The Retailer: What was your first experience with a musical instrument?
Morton: I took up piano at five years old, mainly to annoy my older sister, who was already taking piano lessons. My earliest memories were plunking out melodies that I would hear on TV or the radio.
The Retailer: What instrument do you most enjoy playing?
Morton: Piano has been my lifelong muse! I play nearly every day. I also played trumpet, bass guitar and other instruments over the years, but piano is the only instrument I love. I can barely walk by a piano without being drawn to it. It is an endlessly fascinating and challenging instrument.
The Retailer: Tell us something about yourself that others do not know or would be surprised to learn.
Morton: Probably that I took up triathlons just before my 52nd birthday, and I have now done over 30 triathlons, including a full Ironman in 2016!
The Retailer: What’s your favorite activity to do when you’re not at work?
Morton: Piano, time with my family, drinking wine, and, of course, swimming, biking and running.
The Retailer: What is the best concert you’ve ever been to?
Morton: Paul McCartney, whom I’ve seen several times. Such a total musician and songwriter!
The Retailer: If you could see any musician, alive or deceased, play a concert for one night, who would it be and why?
Morton: It would be Chopin, playing piano in a Parisian salon, mid-1800s!
The Retailer: What musician are you hoping to see play in the near future?
Morton: Bruno Mars … soon!
The Retailer: What are your favorite songs on your smartphone/iPod?
Morton: I listen to a huge variety of music, for my job and for fun. Some of my go-to music is Steely Dan, Oscar Peterson, Chopin, Yes and a lot of southern rock. I’m very eclectic.
The Retailer: What’s the most fun thing you saw/did at a NAMM Show?
Morton: Hanging out with Quincy Jones at the Hal Leonard booth. One of my biggest musical heroes!
The Retailer: If you had to select three people, past or present, to have dinner with, who would they be and what would you ask them?
Morton: President Grant (I’m a direct descendant) about winning the Civil War, holding the country together after the assassination of Lincoln, etc. Mozart: How did so much genius reside in one person? Michael Jordan: We’d talk about jazz, competitiveness and life after being a champion.
The Retailer: Tell us about your most memorable experience with an MI retailer (without naming them).
Morton: I recently bought a new Steinway Model B piano. The retailer nurtured the relationship with me for years and cultivated the sale carefully. Very impressive long-term approach.
The Retailer: What is the best thing about the MI industry?
Morton: Our shared passion for how music can improve lives and make the world a better place.
The Retailer: Who do you admire most outside of the music industry and why?
Morton: Elon Musk. He’s a game-changer with space travel, solar energy and electric vehicles. I love his passion and authentic approach to work and life.
The Retailer: If you weren’t in the music industry, what would you be doing and why?
Morton: I never once considered anything other than our industry!
The Retailer: Tell us about your hometown and why you enjoy living there.
Morton: I moved to Milwaukee nearly 30 years ago to join Hal Leonard. It is a wonderful city and incredible place to live, work, raise a family, etc. Great people, great location and four wonderful seasons!
The Retailer: What are your most prized possession(s) and why?
Morton: I have a railroad spike on my bathroom counter from my dad, who passed away in 1993. He worked for the Union Pacific railroad for 45 years. The railroad spike is a reminder to me to stay humble, be reliable, work hard and take care of your family.
The Retailer: What’s your favorite book and why?
Morton: Too many to choose from, but one of my favorites is a book of poems by Robert Frost. His works were my mom’s favorites. You can find meaning in every one of his poems that apply to day-to-day struggles and the joys of life.
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