• Spotted!

    Spotted: Timo Zobel – Hazel Eyes

    Today I’m introducing you to the composer and piano player Timo Zobel and the track Hazel Eyes. Timo started playing the piano at the age of six, but often refused to practice the songs his teacher wanted him to play.

    I’ve always rather enjoyed to “try it myself” and play with my own melodies. Even though I continued with my classical education, I collected many songs over the years.

    The track Hazel Eyes is Timo’s debut track and was released as a single on the 5th of January, 2021.

    Tell us something about your track Hazel Eyes!
    A while ago, someone told me I had hazel eyes. What I felt in that moment is hard to describe. Up until that point, I had always assumed that I had some kind of blue-green-ish eyes, plus a brown ring around the pupil. When I was asked about my eye color, for example for my ID card, I never really knew what to answer. It was similar with the song! I’ve always been into classical and jazz, especially at the university, but haven’t really felt at home anywhere. With Hazel Eyes, I knew that was mine, that was me. Hence the name of the song.

    Time and time again, my closest friends and family have encouraged me to release this song. They said it offered room for so many emotions. And now I hope that you all find yourselves in it as well. And that you’re reviving the song through that, like I was playing it live for you.

    Thank you for sharing this with us Timo!

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Sacha Hoedemaker – Better Days (Piano Version)

    Today I’m presenting you with the track Better Days by the Dutch composer Sacha Hoedemaker. Sacha works at a local theater in Amsterdam and is specialized on improvising music for theater. In 2020 he started recording his own music and has been releasing one track each month since then.

    The track Better days was released as a single on the 30th of December, 2020 but will also be part of an album in the future.

    Tell us something about your track Better days!
    It was time for me to write a track and I had a strong nostalgic feeling. With that in mind the term Better Days came to mind and I started dreaming about the Better Days of the past. Especially now more than ever, we are all longing for the ‘better days’. We long for better days from the past and those yet to come. Our rising from the pandemic into a society that’s more connected mentally starts soon. Saying hello to strangers, or a hug from a dear friend. Until that time, we can think about how we can shape the future. Create Better Days together. This track has both a piano version, as well as an orchestrated version.

    Thank you very much for this Sacha!

    For more information, please check out the following:
    Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Website / Spotify

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Leila Milki – Peaceful Midnight Vignette

    Today I’m introducing you to the Lebanese-American singer, songwriter and classical pop pianist Leila Milki and her track Peaceful Midnight Vignette. Leila is based in Los Angeles, California and has played the piano since the age of three. She received her degree in classical music from the Royal Conservatory of Music.

    The track Peaceful Midnight Vignette is taken from the album Holiday Improvisations which was released on December 18th of 2020.

    Tell us something about your track Peaceful Midnight Vignette!
    “Peaceful Midnight Vignette” is a part of a mini improv series I recorded from home this winter (using Spectrasonics Keyscape). I simply lit a candle (in total darkness), set the timer to 1-minute, and played the first notes that came to mind! I’ve always loved exploring improvisation as a meditative tool and an out-of-body creative outlet…my hope is to share such moments of healing and transcendence with others during these difficult months.

    Thank you very much for this Leila!

    For more information and updates, check this out:
    Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Website / Spotify

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Maam – Dichotomy

    Today I’m presenting you with the track Dichotomy by the American composer Marcus Mack, aka. Maam from Tulsa OK. Marcus started playing with the piano at the age of three and later went on to study film scoring at Berklee College of Music. He started getting really serious about piano a few years ago when he was temporarily gifted an upright piano for a year and a half by a friend of his.

    The track Dichotomy was released as a single and was also featured on an album which came out on January 8th of 2021.

    Tell us something about your track Dichotomy!
    Dichotomy is a melancholic exploration into everyday contradictions and opposing realities held simultaneously, highlighting the beauty and wonder present in the mundane even in the darkest of times. Dichotomy was written on Juneteenth in the midst of all of the racial tensions and Covid. I was struck by how gorgeous the day was outside and the stark contrast of what was going on in the world and knew I wanted to create something imbued with hope, but that kept track of this melancholic feeling. Melancholy meaning keeping track of the tragic while also maintaining an unwavering hope about the present and future.

    Thank you very much Marcus!

    For more information, check out the following:
    Facebook / Instagram / Spotify

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: John Michael Anderson – Waltz No.1 Dance of Dawn

    Today I’m presenting you with the track Waltz No.1 Dance of Dawn from the American composer John Michael Anderson, living in Los Angeles. John Michael is a multi-instrumentalist who has works professionally as a musical director and touring musician for the past 15 years.

    As a result of this current pandemic and the touring industry coming to a standstill, I have focused much more on composing, recording, and releasing my own music.

    The track Waltz No.1 Dance of Dawn was released as a single on the 10th of December, 2020 and will be part of an album sometime 2021.

    Tell us something about your track Waltz No.1 Dance of Dawn!
    The title of this track was inspired by my 5-year old daughter. I tend to work on compositions before sunrise and with this piece I was trying to represent that energy within the music. That is where the “dawn” comes into play. As far as the “dance”, my daughter actually loves to dance while I am playing this Waltz, and on the recording you may actually be able to hear her dancing in the background. I could have taken out the room noise from the song, but I thought it adds a nice touch. 

    Thank your John Michael!

    For more information and updates, check out these links:
    Facebook / Instagram / Spotify

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Marcus Moon

    I have previously posted about the track Moonstruck by the Sweden born, Canada located composer Marcus Moon. And now it’s time to get Behind the piano and get to know Marcus a bit better!

    What’s your real name? 
    Marcus Lindström 

    How did you come up with your artist name?
    The Moon is a great inspiration for me as an artist and composer. It felt absolutely natural to use it in my artist name. Plus it has a better ring to it than Lindström 

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I was born and raised in Malmö, Sweden. Moved to Canada in 2006. I now live in Vancouver.

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
    I have only started playing piano in the last year, and I hope to develop my skills  as much as I can. It will improve my composing process I am sure. Before the piano, guitar was my main instrument. 

    Tell us about how you started playing music. 
    I grew up listening to a lot of singer/songwriters, and storytelling has always been at the heart of my music. I picked up the guitar at a young age, like so many others, trying to be like my musical heroes of the time!

    How long have you been making piano music?
    About 2 years now.

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    I started learning music theory simply to improve my guitar skills. I got hooked right away on the process of creating new music, and I knew pretty quick that this would be my mode of artistic expression. It was something I had been thinking about my whole life, but i never had the confidence to do it. Starting out, I made myself a challenge where i was to write a piece of music every day for 100 days straight and post the result on instagram each day. It was an enormous task, but by immersing myself in it, I developed my skills at an incredible rate. After only 100 days I really felt like a composer, albeit with a lot still to learn.  

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    To be honest, I still have a lot to discover when it comes to contemporary pianists/composers, but to give just one example, I have been listening a lot to Lera Auerbach recently. I find her to be quite brilliant. Look her up on spotify! 

    Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano? Your own or someone else’s? 
    Yes. My own Moonlight Requiem from my upcoming album. I have a preference for playing sad songs, and simply because it’s one of the few songs I’ve mastered at the piano so far, haha. 

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    Personally, I prefer to NOT break rules. The need to be original and ‘groundbreaking’ can really put a damper on the creative flow. I’ll leave that to the academics and the musical geniuses of the world. I believe that too much pressure to be original may keep a lot of people from writing music. Myself, I use the same composition rules  that have been used for centuries. Sometimes I get comments that my music is not innovative enough, but that doesn’t matter to me. I will never win any awards for groundbreaking achievements in composition, but I just want to write beautiful music from my heart that touches people. I really believe in the power of music to change the world!

    How do you record your music? Yourself? In a big studio? etc.
    I recorded my first album in a beautiful venue, which was located in an actual barn on an actively operating horse farm. I had the fortune of working with some of the very finest musicians on my album. They really took my music to the next level. 

    Whats your take on sampled instruments?
    Nothing beats a real musician, although I am very impressed with the progress of virtual instruments. I use them a lot in preparing demos. 

    The last question is asked by my 6 year old son:
    Where do all your songs come from? 

    My songs come to me when I have a story that I want to share with the world. Usually, it’s a personal story, but not necessarily. I always write down the story first, often as a poem. Then I write the music that I feel best captures the spirit of the story. I am a storyteller first and foremost, and music is my language.

    Thank you very much for this Marcus!

    For more information, please check out the following links:
    Facebook / Instagram / Website / Spotify

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Matthias Krauss – Ray of sunlight

    Today I present yo you the latest track, Ray of sunlight, by the German composer Matthias Krauss, based in Cologne. Matthias started playing the piano as a kid and soon found that he was way more interested in writing his own melodies rather than playing what he was taught at his classical piano lessons. For the last 30 Years he’s been working as a professional musician, composer, producer and engineer.

    The track Ray of sunlight was released as a single on the 18th of December, 2020 but will also be featured on the album with the same name in January 2021.

    Tell us something about your track Ray of sunlight!
    A good friend said: „…this songs makes me feel happy sad – feels like the soundtrack of 2020…🧡“
    For me and surely everybody it was a total strange year. After all my touring activities were canceled in March 2020, I had more time than I expected. So I used the „free“ time to compose and produce my own music. The good thing about this year is that I finished 2 new „Improvising Silence“ Albums. I really hope to give all my listeners an island of peaceful and calm atmosphere, also with the message to „Stay Positive“ in these difficult times. Thank you all for listening to my music. 🙏

    Thank you Matthias!

    For more information, please check out the following:
    Facebook / Instagram / Website / Spotify

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Innocenzo Genna – Sweet Sweden (breakfast at Blomqvist)

    Today I’m presenting you with the track Sweet Sweden (breakfast at Blomqvist) by the Italian composer and piano player Innocenzo Genna, living in Brussels.

    My interest in music is not only artistic and emotional, but also professional, because for years I have been working in the Internet and technology sector as a lawyer and policy expert, so as to be involved in the major political debates concerning music and technology: from P2P to online piracy, from online platforms to the liberalization of collecting societies, up to the recent European copyright reform.

    The track Sweet Sweden (breakfast at Blomqvist) was released on the album Post Quarantine Piano which came out on December 21st, 2020.

    Tell us something about your track Innocenzo Genna – Sweet Sweden (breakfast at Blomqvist)!
    This is the instrumental version of a piano song which was intended to be completed with lyrics. The melody was inspired while having in mind a special somebody, however the flirt did not work. then, Because of that, I did not find the mood to write the lyrics, thus the composition remained just instrumental. The title of the song is somehow linked to Swedish sweeties and desserts, some of which were available at my preferred coffee-bar in Brussels, the Blomqvist Expresso Coffee Bar, an amazing nordic café which was run some years ago by an adventurous Sicilian girl (not the one for whom I fell in love).

    Thank you very much Innocenzo!

    Here’s some links if you want to know it all:
    Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Website / Spotify

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Emma Paunil – Nebula

    Today I’m introducing you to the latest track, Nebula, by American composer Emma Paunil, living on a 80 acre ranch in Southern Arizona. She started playing, memorizing and performing at the age of 4, and got classical trained by Ashley Hendrix and the Arizona Study Program.

    Although I performed well with this, for the 18 years it took me to complete the program, I often felt very stressed by the piano. It wasn’t until my sophomore year of college when I moved into my first apartment alone, that I started (oddly enough) desperately missing the piano as one of my limbs. The same piano I’ve had since 4 years old was moved in with me, and my composition life slowly began.

    The track Nebula is taken from the album Ataraxia: Transformative Piano, which was released on December 11th of 2020.

    Tell us something about your track Nebula!
    “Nebula” is different from my other tracks in Ataraxia, because its inspiration came outside of me, rather than from within. I am 100% an improvisation artist when it comes to composing (even though I used to live and breath sheet music for over a decade). When I sit down on the piano, what usually happens is that I express my inner feelings or emotions through the keys: “speaking.” The presence of “Nebula,” however, seemed to stop me right before I began to play. By that, I don’t mean the sound of the melody coming to mind. It was almost like a presence knocked on my brain and said, “Hey, I’d like to tell you how feel.” This is what I like to call the balance of “listening” in improvisation. I can always tell a difference between when an improvised piece is in, “Emma’s voice,” through the piano, or if it’s some other voice that wants to speak. I’ve had several other pieces do that to me, and I always love when it happens. It’s somewhat hard to explain the phenomenon of the feeling, but that’s the best way I can! 

    Thanks for this Emma!

    For more information and updates, check out these links:
    Facebook / Instagram / Website / Spotify

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Angel Ruediger

    New year, but my theme from last year goes on and we move on to the Brazilian piano artist Angel Ruediger!

    What’s your real name? 
    Angela Ruediger

    How did you come up with your artist name?
    “Angel” is one of my nicknames.

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I’m from Brazil, and at  the moment I’m based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well? 
    I started to have classical piano lessons at the age of nine and never stopped playing since then. Piano is the only instrument I play.

    Tell us about how you started playing music. 
    I asked my parents to have piano lessons. I was an unquiet child, and liked to make many things at the same time (which isn’t necessarily a good thing)

    How long have you been making piano music?
    I started to compose my own tunes since the second year I was taking my classical piano lessons, it was a kind of relaxing moment since I really took the piano lessons seriously and studied it about two/three hours per day, almost everyday.

    Tell us something about that moment you realised you could make songs yourself!  
    It came spontaneously after I started to learn classical piano. No effort, no tension. I got two passions from  playing the piano at that time: learning pieces from Liszt and Chopin (in time)  and composing. 

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    Classical Music: Chopin, Liszt, Grieg, Bach, Mozart, Mahler, Satie, Barber and Debussy
    Modern Classical music: Jóhann Jóhannsson, Max Richter, Peter Cavallo, Gavin Luke , Joep Beving,  Ólafur Arnalds, Carol Comune, and the wonderful Sophie Hutgins.

    Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano? Your own or someone else’s?
    Not really. I usually start my “piano routine” with a lot of practice (scales and arpeggios) and then composing. If a new composition is finished, I play it until I feel its “fluency” is good enough so it can be recorded.

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken? 
    I don’t follow any rules and I don’t see them, have I’ve missed anything? In fact, this streaming era  is so democratic. The action of “making music”  couldn’t be more free of rules. Of course there are a lot of not good stuff, but there are really great new composers rising, too.

    How do you record your music? Yourself? In a big studio? etc.
    I record my tracks by myself at home

    What’s your take on sampled instruments? 
    I’m totally open to every kind of instrument if it means to make music with quality. I’ve got some ambient/piano tracks I made all by myself, and already got on my 2021 schedule some collabs with artists who use sampled instruments…but definitely acoustic piano is my thing.

    Anything else you want to share? 
    Yes, many thanks for inviting me to this interview, Johan. I really feel honoured. I also have to say that I love your music. And I would like to finish this interview  mentioning a quote from Oscar Wilde I’m really fond of:
    “…This is why music is the perfect type of art. Music can never reveal its ultimate secret.” 

    The last question is asked by my 6 year old son:
    Where do all your songs come from?
    Depends on the day. Mainly it comes from my soul, but sometimes  from my guts.

    Thank you very much for this Angel!