• Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Melany Thompson

    We are staring off the new year (go 2021!) with another great composer. This time I’m presenting you with Melany Thompson from Australia!

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I am from Australia and I live in beautiful Sydney! 

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
    I started learning the piano when I was 4 years old. I have also attempted the flute and the guitar over the years but think I’ll stick to the piano!

    Tell us about how you started playing music. 
    When I was 4 I asked my parents for a piano and they bought me a little toy piano which I was quite disappointed with apparently. I somehow managed to teach myself a couple of nursery rhymes on it and so they bought me a full size upright piano! It was so big I remember they had to shave off some of the doorway in our house to fit it in! 

    How long have you been making piano music?
    I started to write my own melodies when I was a young teenager.  I used to write songs about different boys that I had a crush on (every song was a love song obviously!)

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    I don’t really remember it being a massive thing, it just came naturally to me to make my own music. Once I started recording my music though, I remember it being such an amazing experience to see other people listening to it and enjoying it.

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    I grew up listening to a whole range of artists from Richard Clayderman to Mozart but now there are a whole range of piano composers that sit in a more modern genre. I love Ludovico, John Williams and all the big film score composers. 

    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? 
    I always play Pachelbel’s Cannon as it’s easy to play in any key and to improvise around. Most people know the tune so it’s a good one to warm the fingers up with!

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    I’m not sure – does anyone follow a set of rules anymore? I think music is so subjective and people are recording in so many different ways these days and using different methods which keeps things interesting and fresh. 

    How do you record your music? Yourself? In a big studio? etc.
    I have done a bit of both – I recoded my first album in a studio in the Blue Mountains on a beautiful concert grand piano. I have recorded digitally using my digital piano, and now I can use my beautiful Yamaha Grand piano (which is fitted with a silent system) to record on so I have a few different options. I love the studio experience but it’s also great to do it yourself at home and get it right without the time and cost constraints of a studio. 

    What’s your take on sampled instruments?
    I’m yet to find the perfect sampled piano sound! It can be expensive ‘collecting’ samples but there are so many amazing sounds that can be created. It’s a bit of a mine-field for me, I’m only just starting to get into digital recording and sample sounds and it’s quite overwhelming to be honest. 

    Anything else you want to share? 
    I feel so lucky to be doing what I love. Music has always been a part of my life but the decision to start recording and releasing my own music was a huge turning point in my life and I’m so excited to see what the future holds! I’m relatively new to this world so still finding my feet and working out the business side of things but it’s a great adventure. 

    The last question is asked by my 6 year old son:
    Where do all your songs come from? 
    My songs come from feelings and emotions. I often write about something I’m going through, feeling or longing for. I also get inspiration from people and relationships. Just sitting down at the piano and improvising is a really important part of the creative process for me which means setting aside a lot of time and space to just sit and play for fun and relaxation. 

    Thank you for sharing this with us Melany!

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

  • News,  Stories

    Thank you, 2020!

    It’s New Years eve, and also my 35th birthday. It time to give you a short summary of the year!

    With this post I want thank all of the readers on this blog and listeners of my music. The year 2020 was, for most people, a shitty year in life. But for piano music (and especially streaming wise), it was a good year (at least for me). Since more people have been working from home; I guess with piano music in the background, the stats have been crazy and I’ve broken record after record. I’ll thank you for choosing to listening to my music, with hope that it got the work done!

    And to top of the piano year; my song Early Christmas morning was added to the biggest Apple Music editorial list with 10.000+ plays daily. Insane!

    And since most piano players and composers have been on some kind of lockdown/quarantine and haven’t been able to perform live, they have composed like never before; which also has made the blog to grow and the submission basked have been full most of the time.

    Earlier I had a much broader spectra with what kind of music I posted about here, but since I’ve gotten more submission than ever since Corona break out I have focused on pure piano music. It’s been hard sometimes to decline great track, but to not be overwhelmed with work, I had to.

    To end this post; lets hope 2021 will be equally good piano wise and much better Corona-wise.

    Happy new year everyone!

    The picture for this post was taken exactly one year ago when I was recording the ep Sinclair at my sisters house in Arvika, Värmland.

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Kayla Peeters

    Today is the last day of 2020, and also my birthday. I will celebrate with another post about a another strong women in the piano industry! I present to you, Kayla Peeters!

    Where are you from?
    I am from Green Bay, WI and currently live in Green Bay, WI. 

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
    I have been playing the piano since 4 years old. That would make it my 28th year at the piano. 

    Tell us about how you started playing music.
    My dearest friend wanted to learn so I wanted to learn as well. 

    How long have you been making piano music?
    I have been writing composition for 12 years. 

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    When I wrote my first album titled “The Beginning”, it was an am amazing experience. That was in 2010. 

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    George Winston. I have met him several times and am very inspired by his music. 

    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?
    George Winstons variation of the Kanon in C or Yiruma River Flows In You.

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    The new music world is all so streaming based. Part of me wishes it wasn’t so centered around Spotify since it makes it very hard for artists to earn anything for their music. 

    How do you record your music? Yourself? In a big studio? etc.
    I record my music myself and send it to be mixed and mastered by a professional. 

    Whats your take on sampled instruments?
    I don’t really have an opinion. I do feel some of them can sound very professional. It really depends on the pro gram used and built ins being used. 

    The last question is asked by my 6 year old son:
    Where do all your songs come from?
    What a fantastic question! My songs all come from deep within my heart. Every composition is a piece or me. The songs represent a time in my life, a memory or a setting in nature past or present. 

    Thank you for your participation Kayla!

    For more information, please go to these pages:
    Instagram / Facebook / Spotify

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Starr Parodi

    And so the week continues! Today I’m having a talk with American composer and piano artist Starr Parodi!

    What’s your real name?
    A lot of people think Starr is not my real name, or that my parents were hippies when they named me :-). Starr is a family name and my grandparents last name – so it is my real name after all.

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I was born in Los Angeles California and I have lived here most of my life. I love it here, there is so much beauty in Southern California and so many creative people.

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
    I took piano lessons for 1 year where I was about 7years old, and then I quit because I had a terrible teacher who I was scared of! I started playing again when I was 14 and took it very seriously, practicing 6-8 hours every day. I went away to Interlochen Arts Academy (a music/arts high school) and surrounded myself with the piano and music from that time forward. I also play keyboards, and percussion, and drums (kind of).

    Tell us about how you started playing music.
    I was inspired by listening to friends in bands and started playing piano and writing as a bit of an escape from the world. It took me to a different place that I could really lose myself in and express my emotions. I had some wonderful teachers who also understood me and really inspired me to be creative and to see pictures in my head as I play – which I think lead me to be a film and tv composer as well as a pianist.

    How long have you been making piano music?
    I’ve been making music ever since I was a young teenager, however, I got a lot of gigs playing synthesizer in many bands and didn’t have much chance to play the piano as a solo instrument other than practicing, I am also a film and TV composer and In 2006 I was recording some music for a film project I was working on, and just started playing the piano and improvising, My husband Jeff Fair (who is also my writing partner and an amazing producer and engineer) said, let’s record this and see what happens and that’s how my first solo piano album “Common Places” came into existence. I feel like I really found my “voice” on the piano recording that album. Since then, I have continued to compose cinematic music for film & tv and I always try to feature the piano when it is appropriate. I have also recorded other solo piano albums and have always experimented with finding new timbres and textures that the piano can create, whether its using electronics * filters on the acoustic piano or piano preparation with fabrics and felt to give it a unique sound.

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    I think I was very young and have always written songs, ever since I can remember. I hear them in my head first.

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    There are SO many artists who I love in this genre, and in many styles within the piano genre. Olafur Arnalds is one of my favorites, Dustin O’Halloran, Ludovico Einaudi, Christine Brown, David Nevue, and in the jazz realm, Billy Childs, Keith Jarrett, Michael Wolff, Herbie Hancock

    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?
    Memories of Tomorrow by Keith Jarrett (the version from the Koln Concerts live album)

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    All of them!!!!

    How do you record your music?
    I have a really beautiful recording studio at my home and I’m so blessed to have a1928 Steinway B piano that was actually on the MGM soundstage during the late 1920’s thru the 1930’s,. It is rumored that the Wizard of Oz was recorded on this piano. It still has the MGM tag from the soundstage on its leg.

    Whats your take on sampled instruments?
    I love the synthesizer when it sounds like a synthesizer – all the amazing interesting sounds it creates, but when it comes to sampled instruments that are emulating live instruments, I feel like the live instruments really breathe and have a life that sampled instruments just don’t have the capacity to have. Samples still sound great, but I truly love the real thing more.

    Anything else you want to share?
    Music brings healing and peace and light to the world and I feel so fortunate to be someone who creates music.

    The last question is asked by my 6 year old son:
    Where do all your songs come from?
    I love this question – you have a very insightful son! They come from a place I think beyond myself. Sometimes I feel like I am just channeling what is coming through me. Inspired by God, spirituality, my ancestors, pieces I heard long ago as a child and forgot them may find a way into my songs, emotions that run the gamut of highs and lows, all those things are in my songs.. That’s about the only answerI can think of about where they come from.

    Thank you very much for this Starr!

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

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Aysedeniz Gokcin

    Next in line for this Christmas series is the composer and piano player Aysedeniz Gokcin, which we’ll get to know better in this Behind the piano post!

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I split my time in 3 different places: London Los Angeles and Istanbul. But most of the time (before corona) I live on airplanes! 

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
    Since I was 5.5! I wasn’t allowed to play anything else – as my parents wanted me to not to spread myself too thin. However I really want to learn the violin and guitar!

    Tell us about how you started playing music. 
    I would improvise on the upright piano that no one played in our apartment, when I was a baby. My mother realised my passion for it and took me to piano lessons. From there I began learning fast and by the time I was 7 I was in the same class as 14 year olds. My career took on very fast as a child prodigy but later on I wanted to play other genres and eventually compose. That has been my dream since I was a child – I wanted to win an Academy Award for best score.

    How long have you been making piano music?
    I used to compose but never share anything… It was an escape from reality for me – not a way to make a career. however after recording my Beethoven Senses Album last year, I had an extra day to record and that day I found all the short compositions I wrote and an album came out of all those! It became top 10 in classical charts in UK and USA.

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    My grandmothers would want me to play folk songs or tunes that they were familiar with. I would change them and make them fit my own classical style, and it gave me the energy to create motifs of my own. I knew I was good with melodies so years later these pieces just come out of me naturally. 

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    Ludovico Einaudi and Olafur Arnalds

    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?
    As nerdy as this sounds, it is Chopin Ballade No. 4’s finale which is super difficult to play. I must have practiced it so much that now whenever I sit down I play that to warm up and to test my energy level!

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    I think you really never should compete but only aim at expressing your own story. Copying something until it is perfect never works and it is so boring!

    How do you record your music?
    It is different each time – sometimes at a church that has great acoustic, sometimes in my computer using sampels, and sometimes in a studio!

    What’s your take on sampled instruments?
    I feel like some are better than actual instruments! I love them and as technology progresses they get better and better. However playing an acoustic instrument has a completely different feel to it. One is like racing a car and the other is racing a computer game.

    The last question is asked by my 6 year old son:
    Where do all your songs come from?
    That’s a great question! They come from my subconscious! I don’t think about what to write – the music just comes out.

    Thank you very much Aysedeniz for this little interview!

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

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Rachel LaFond

    So, the week continues! I have previously written about Rachel LaFond here, so check that out if you havn’t. For those of you who have; let’s ask Rachel some questions!

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I’m originally from Seattle, but during my career I’ve lived and travelled all over the world. I lived in New Zealand for three and a half years, and composed music for a year while backpacking in Oceania, Asia, and Europe. I am currently living in Austin, Texas and LOVING the music, the food, and the weather.

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
    I began playing the piano as a toddler on my mother’s lap – she was a piano teacher. I am also a singer, and studied both piano and voice side-by-side at University. I’ve dabbled in some other instruments, such as flute, violin, and ukulele – I find that my long experience and comfort with the piano make picking up other instruments pretty easy to be honest! It’s a great instrument from which to branch out.

    Tell us about how you started playing music. 
    I grew up surrounded by and steeped in music of all kinds, because my mother was a very active piano teacher. In fact, until I started teaching piano myself when I was 11, I had to compete with her for time at the piano! Weekends were my absolute favorite because I could play and enjoy the piano for hours and hours.

    How long have you been making piano music?
    I wrote my very first piece, Loving in the Rain, when I met my life partner David in 2013. A year later, I composed my second piece Redemption. But it wasn’t until I was backpacking around the world that I began to write music regularly and think of myself as a composer. 

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    Really the big life-impacting moment was when I first arrived in New Zealand. I came to rest in a beautiful cabin in the hills in New Zealand that happened to have a piano. It was my first time touching a piano in months, and it was the most beautiful reunion! Fortunately, the piano didn’t have much in the way of sheet music, so I ended up writing new music simply because it was the only way I was going to be able to play much. I finished one piece in that cabin: Ember Warmth – Twin Peaks. I then travelled around New Zealand and played my first three pieces everywhere I could possibly find a piano to sit at. The folks who listened and heard my story were so encouraging, and again and again I was told, “You MUST record these so you can share them more widely!” It took hearing that message a LOT before I finally believed in myself enough to call up Stebbing Recording in Auckland and schedule a recording session to “test record” those three pieces. That experience lit a fire of purpose under me! I carried on with my backpacking adventure, through Asia and Europe, and wrote the rest of my first album Wandering Soul on borrowed pianos, on the streets, anywhere I could beg or borrow a piano.

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    I grew up listening to David Lanz, he and my mother were friends so he had a huge impact on my early development as a composer. I also love the circular rhythms and melodies of Ludovico Einaudi – I think those two artists are probably my biggest influences.

    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? 
    Whatever’s new and fresh for me usually gets the most of my attention. I tend to be very driven and focused in my work, so when I play it’s usually to accomplish something, like get ready for a tour or a recording session. If a piece is “in progress”, that’s definitely the one I’ll go to first!

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    I believe there’s no way music “should” be. I think if you like it, if it makes your soul dance in some way, then it has worth. There are so many myriad ways to make music that has value to yourself or other humans – music is as varied as humans are! Unfortunately, formal musical training can often focus on the one right way to do, play, or hear something, and it took me a bit of work to break out of that mindset. 

    How do you record your music?
    I record my music myself in my home recording studio on my Yamaha C7 in the company of 25 home-made sound panels and bass traps! I prepare in much the same way I would if I were going to a professional studio, because of course my piano has to be tuned and prepared before each recording session. After the piano technician has visited, I get a few days with the piano in peak performance to record as much as I wish, in exactly the environment that works for me, on my own instrument. During my massive year-long project The 52, I was recording every 4-6 weeks. These days, I record every 2-3 months.

    Whats your take on sampled instruments?
    Very high-quality sampled instruments in the hands of a meticulous producer can be quite nice! For me though, they usually can’t compare to the sound of real, acoustic instruments. More often than not, hearing sampled instruments in music puts me off, simply because I’ve had the privilege of hearing so much great live, acoustic music in my time as a musician. I have worked with the amazing Mike Bloemendal to put out some really cool music using sampled instruments, like my spooky Halloween album Well Past Midnight.

    Anything else you want to share? 
    Yes! Earlier this year, I completed a monumental year-long project called The 52 in which I released a single and custom artwork every Monday for a year. It was a massive undertaking, and I grew so much as a composer during the span of it. You can learn more about it and hear the music at https://rachellafond.com/the52

    The last question is asked by my 6 year old son:
    Where do all your songs come from?
    I believe beautiful music exists inside of each and every one of us, and we have only to listen to hear it <3

    Thank you very much for you participation Rachel! It only took a year after I first asked you 😉

    For more information, check out any of these following links:
    Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Website / Spotify

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Laura Christie Wall

    A while back I wrote about the track In the half light by the amazing piano player and composer Laura Christie Wall. Since today is a Thursday, let’s do a Behind the piano post about her!

    Lets go!

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I’m from Wales, UK and have lived here all my life. It’s a very inspiring landscape for music!

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
    I’ve been playing for about 17 years, though I took a break in my early twenties. I don’t play any other instruments at the moment, but it is a goal of mine to learn the cello one day.

    Tell us about how you started playing music. 
    I wouldn’t say that I come from a particularly musical family, I only began playing experimentally on a small keyboard I was gifted one Christmas as a child. I would play around with different melodies and try to recreate my favourite pieces by ear, such as Einaudi’s ‘I Giorni’. I decided then to pursue music properly in my teenage years, taking piano lessons and later, beginning to compose my own pieces.

    How long have you been making piano music?
    I wrote my first composition for solo piano at around 15 years of age, which featured on my debut EP ‘Things I Couldn’t Say’ back in June 2019. After this it wasn’t until early last year, when I was approached by Blue Spiral Records that I decided to write and release my own music properly.

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    It is a great feeling to be able to convey an emotion, a thought or a memory through music, without the need even for words. I suppose at first it was a form of self-expression for me, a personal way of giving life to my innermost thoughts and feelings; and then over time allowing myself to become comfortable enough with myself and the music to share these most vulnerable parts of myself with others. Composing gives me a sense of belonging, when I write a song I really connect with it’s almost like coming home, arriving at a place I was always meant to be.

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    My first and main influences are Olafur Arnalds and Ludovico Einaudi, but recently I have had the opportunity to connect with many great independent musicians of the modern classical genre and have discovered great music from the likes of Jesse Brown, Sophie Hutchings and many more. 

    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? 
    The first piece on my fingertips without fail is always Olafur Arnalds’ Saman. There is something so calming about this song, I find its simplicity incredibly relaxing, and the melody timeless.

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    I think the great thing about modern music is that there are no rules. Music takes on so many different forms now and can be expressed in infinite ways, and so the boundaries are constantly being redefined by the many great independent musicians of today who continue to reinvent themselves and create their own unique and signature sounds.

    How do you record your music? Yourself? In a big studio? etc.
    For me the composition part of the process takes place at home, on my acoustic upright piano, generally at night when the rest of the world is quiet. I find the nuances of a real piano; the pedal sound, mechanical noises and feeling the weight of the keys under my fingers are very inspiring during the creative stages of writing music. Depending on the sound I wish to achieve, I will then either record in a studio or at home using a library of sampled instruments.

    Whats your take on sampled instruments?
    There is of course, no comparison to the experience of playing an acoustic grand piano in a beautiful concert hall, but I do believe that the great quality of sampled instruments today provides independent musicians like myself a good opportunity to be able to compose and share our music with others without the constraints of being both time and financially limited. And especially during the recent Covid pandemic, being able to work with sampled instruments from the comfort of your own home, it’s truly never been easier to be a musician!

    The last question is asked by my 6 year old son:
    Where do all your songs come from? 
    Sometimes, I hear a melody in my mind and use it as the main theme for a song, embellishing and recreating it in different ways to create a full piece. More often than not though it begins as nothing more than a feeling, an intrinsic urge I get to sit at the piano and see what flows naturally in that moment.

    Thank you very much for this!

    For more information and updates, please check out all of these following links:
    Facebook / Instagram / Spotify

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Tiffany Hobson

    The week continues, and today I introduce you to the composer and piano player Tiffany Hobson!

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I grew up in Utah and I now live in Great Falls, Montana.

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
    I started taking piano lessons at 7 years of age. I can also play the organ and a few chords on the guitar.

    Tell us about how you started playing music.
    My Dad decided to put me in piano lessons when I was seven years old because he loved piano music so much. I remember my older sister taking lessons and being excited for the time when the teacher thought my hands were big enough to start taking lessons as well.

    How long have you been making piano music?
    My first piano teacher taught me how to compose which I am forever grateful to her for! I don’t think many teachers do that. She even taught me how to write out my music with pencil and paper. I wrote my first song with her when I was 7 years old and when I was 8 years old I wrote a song by myself for my Grandpa who had just passed away. I continued to write a few songs here and there throughout my school years, but it wasn’t until I had my first child ten years ago and became a stay at home mom that I started to be more disciplined with composing. I wanted something to keep me busy while my son napped so I got back in to arranging music and composing original songs and it has grown into a huge passion of mine.

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    When I first started taking lessons I was never good at sight reading and I didn’t enjoy the formal learning of reading music. But I loved letting my emotions flow through my hands onto the piano. I started just letting my left hand play chords while my right hand improvised a melody. I’d have fun creating a story in my head or making up words for the melody while my hands played back and forth. I didn’t realize I was doing anything that neat until my mom and my older sister took notice and enjoyed my improvisations.

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    Brian Crain was one of my first loves in the piano genre when I started listening to it more frequently 10 years ago. His music is so soothing and beautiful and definitely inspired me to become a piano artist myself. My other favorites include Jef Martens, Alexis Ffrench, Isabella Turso, Martin Herzberg, and Emile Pandolfi.

    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?
    My favorite song to sit down and play over and over again is “Jessica’s Theme” by Bruce Rowland from the movie, The Man from Snowy River. I’ve had it memorized for years now so it’s a song where I can just totally forget about the notes and let my fingers play the music. It’s such a freeing, beautiful and passionate song.

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    I think any rule can be broken. I really try not to follow ‘rules’ when I’m composing. The key can change in the middle of the music, the tempo and the time can change, chord progressions can differ from the norm or from what may be expected and a song can still be wonderful. The important thing is to write from the heart and to write what brings you joy. When you write from the heart and share your own pain, joy or sadness, everyone can relate because we’ve all experienced pain, joy and sadness. That’s what makes music a universal language. A true creator is able to let go of rules and let their music and feelings flow how they are meant to flow. It is so important to be original and to be you. Don’t try and be like another artist, don’t try to make sure you follow all the rules. Just follow your heart and let your music flow. When I see or hear someone enjoying their passion without fear of following rules or impressing other people that is when I feel I am witnessing real genius. Nothing is more entertaining or inspiring than witnessing real genius.

    How do you record your music?
    I have been recording music myself in my home. I’ve been learning a lot about editing,mixing and DAWs. I still have so much to learn, but it’s been a great experience so far and I’ve been able to make some great friends along the way who have been generous enough to share tips andadvice with me.

    Whats your take on sampled instruments?
    I feel like I have a love/hate relationship with sampled instruments. They really have come a long way and some sampled pianos sound incredible. Sampled instruments make it much easier to record at home. But at the same time I feel like it’s harder to get the dynamics and the passion of the music across with a sampled instrument. Sometimes there is nothing that compares to an acoustic sound.

    Anything else you want to share?
    Piano music means a lot to me because it has brought me a lot of peace in my life not only from composing myself, but also from listening to the beautiful pieces from others. Life gets busy and we constantly have other things seeking our attention. I think it is important to take time every day to ponder and meditate. Piano music helps me do that. I hope you can find time to ponder and be still as you listen to my music.

    The last question is asked by my 6 year old son:
    Where do all your songs come from?
    This is such a great question and sometimes I feel like the songs are true inspiration. I often have melodies come to me in the quiet of the morning or when I am still at night and I know it couldn’t have possibly come from my own mind.

    Thank you for your participation Tiffany!

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

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Elisabeth Tsung

    Today some parts of the world celebrates Christmas (not me though, since out big celebration in Sweden was yesterday). And during this Christmas I will honor the women Behind the piano! I get a lot of submissions for this blog, and the vast majority of the artists I listen to are male. So, this is the first post in a series where I honor the women Behind the piano!

    To start of I introduce you to the fantastic piano player and composer Elisabeth Tsung who earlier this year released her first song Sebastian’s waltz. Let’s get to know the person Behind the piano!

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I was born and raised in New York City, and I’m still living here. 

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
    I took piano lessons as a kid, and stopped in my teenage years. But I’ve been seriously playing for the last two years. I also play violin. 

    Tell us about how you started playing music. 
    I’m primarily a violinist. I’ve been playing for more than 20 years and studied violin performance in university. I was struggling with carpal tunnel syndrome and severe muscle strain in college, and during my last year, I got into a car accident that severely hindered my playing. As time went on, the pain got worse and eventually, I thought I had to give up playing music completely. 

    After a few years of not playing anything at all, I found an old keyboard in my childhood home and started experimenting with it. Somehow, playing the piano lessened the pain I had experienced with violin and I was able to build up a new routine. If I were to guess, I’d say it’s because with violin I had to hold up an instrument for hours. With piano, even though there’s still strain playing the keys, working with gravity gave me the advantage of playing more comfortably. Being able to play piano was such an amazing solace for me because the accident gave me so much turmoil, both emotionally and physically. Over the years, I tried substituting violin with different art forms, like photography and poetry, but it was never the same. Practicing piano became my source of comfort and helped me through some dark nights of the soul. It was the closest thing to playing violin, yet it was also more wondrous because it was new and I was so driven to play music again. 

    How long have you been making piano music?
    The last two years I solely played piano, and this year, with the help of an amazing physical therapist I was able to pick up the violin again. Then the pandemic and quarantine happened in the US, and I started experimenting with composing my own music. That’s where “To Return Is but a Dream” began. 

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    I’d be playing random things either on the violin or piano (and I’ve been doing this ever since I was a kid). I realized I could make songs myself when my friends would ask me what I was humming around them.

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    Lately I’ve been really into Joep Beving’s work, and I’m amazed that after 1 year of playing piano seriously he was able to write and record a whole album. Growing up, I idolized Martha Argerich and Helene Grimuad, and Olafur Arnalds (which I’ve noticed is a favorite on this blog!) and Dustin O’Halloran are my top contemporary pianists/composers. Rachmaninov and Shostakovich will always hold a special place in my heart as well.  

    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! Literally each time I sit down at a piano (either my own or someone else’s), I break into Arabesque No. 1 by Debussy. It’s my favorite piano piece in the world.

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    I think when it comes to musicians, there tends to be a sense of pettiness and competitiveness towards one another, even if it’s felt on an internal level. Everyone is human and makes mistakes from time to time. Pointing those out is just unnecessary and cruel. We’re all on our own journey, and there are audiences for everyone out there.   

    How do you record your music?
    I slowly started creating a space for myself in my tiny apartment to record my music. I was inspired after I read all the other Behind the Piano studio setups. 

    Whats your take on sampled instruments?
    I didn’t know much about sampled instruments until I read your blog, but then I did some research and started playing with them! As a violinist, I was so surprised at the quality that’s out there. It’s incredible how music has fused with technology. 

    The last question is asked by my 6 year old son:
    Where do all your songs come from?
    Melodies tend to come into my head the minute I wake up, and I’d jump out of bed and write them down before I forget, even before I sit down and play. 

    Thank you so much for this Elisabeth!

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

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Matthias Schneiders – An Angels Voice

    Today I present to you the latest track, An Angels Voice, by the German composer and piano player Matthias Schneiders. Matthias is 23 years old and started playing the piano about seven years ago. While he was studying songwriting and composition in Cologne he discovered that he “doesn’t express himself in words but in sounds and melodies” so he started making piano music!

    The track An Angels Voice was released as a singel sometime back in 2019.

    Tell us something about your track An Angels Voice!
    The Track was inspired by my wonderful girlfriend who also painted the Singlecover. Her soft, beautiful voice created the Melodie in my head and I was able to her the complete Piece in my mind. Therefore she actually deserves all the credit.

    Thank you for this!

    For more information, check out:
    Instagram / Spotify