2020 was a difficult year for all people; a raging pandemic that killed 2.3 million people, unprecedented wildfires in California and Australia, a huge blast in Beirut that destroyed half the city, and racial tensions everywhere. The Hope piano compilation album was born of the idea to bring together 12 well-established pianists from across the globe and spread a message of hope through music, each in his own way. – Jean-Paul Zoghbi
So, I will not introduce you to myself. But I am part of the Hope album, and I always post a little something when I have a new song out so I don’t feel bad at all about it!
This track was written in the end of a three week total Corona isolation. I got it first, my wife got it next and then the kids. None of us got very sick and barely had any symptoms at all. But right when I was about to sit down to make this track I kind of felt like a king. The Eckman family won against Corona! For me – that is hope!
This is also my first release using my real name Johan Eckman as the main artist. Sleepy Songs is now officially retired.
Agape was released as a single on March 5th, an is also a part of the album “HOPE”.
It’s time to talk a little bit about the latest release: Bellisima! This is another track I hade made with Rikard Mathisson. We have made music together before, but on every one of those tracks we have played four handed piano pieces. This time we wanted to try something different.
Bellissima is built around a little tune I wrote when I got my first acoustic piano in may of 2020. I wrote a lot of music right when the piano was in place, and one of the tracks was what later became Bellissima. Instead of four hands playing, this is all Rikard. He used my composition, wrote a B part and recorded the whole thing.
Rikard started recording this mid-december, and during the whole production time I was in Corona-isolation at home with the rest of my family. No one in my family were very ill, but we still wasn’t able to leave the house. I’m extremely grateful that Rikard managed to put together this production when I wasn’t able to do anything at all…
I hope you like the track!
The video footage is from Beijers park in Malmö. For Swedish kids, it’s mostly known from Sommarlovsmorgon, which is recorded there.
Today I have a new track out! This time with Rikard Mathisson!
Enjou Bellissima here:
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.
Today I’m introducing you to the track La Forêt by the British composer and piano artist Mason Stephenson, based in Manchester. Mason has played the piano since the age of 13 and is for the most part self tough. he started writing his own tunes about two years ago.
The track La Forêt was released as a single on the 23rd of October, 2020.
Tell us something about your track La Forêt!
“La Forêt” is all about growing into who you really are and to find yourself since this is what happened to me the moment I decided what I really want to do which is write music. I find myself really interested in melancholic music as I find a certain peace when listened to that style and I hope to achieve that feeling with my own songs.
Thank you for this Mason!
A few days ago, I released the EP Birds with my uncle Per Gustavsson. So today I give the blog to him to talk a bit of the process of making the EP!
I think it’s interesting to compare the creative process between creating music and my other profession. I’m a picture book maker. When it comes to making a book it always starts with an idea. I don’t know where it comes from. It may be something I think is interesting and would like to know more about. It can be a question about how to deal with the big changes in life. Loss of a loved person or something like that.
When it comes to music it is completely different. Usually it starts with me just fooling around on the piano or guitar. I would like to quote David Lynch.”Getting ideas is like fishing. You don’t make the fish, you catch it. It may be a small fish in the beginning but once a fish is caught it will attract bigger fish to bite”.To me it’s like that at the piano. I’m throwing out hooks and suddenly some ideas take form. Suddenly there is a pattern or something that sticks. I play that part over and over again and wait för a bigger fish to bite. I have no clear idea what the music is about. And I don’t need to know. When I make a book I use words and illustrations to tell a story. When I’m making music I don’t need to explain anything. Music is music. If it makes you feel anything it’s great. If it doesn’t. Well, bad luck. Try again.
To talk about the track Northern I need to talk just a little bit about my uncle Per. Per has always been my biggest idol. I’ve always looked up to him and he has been a great mentor when it comes to what music I should listen to. So when he asked me in 2010 if I wanted to help him make a record for one of his books (Prinsessans Rockband), I immediately said yes. The record sold very well, and we were awarded a Gold Record in Sweden.
After that we didn’t make much music together. Almost nothing at all.
Until early 2020 when he wrote to me and asked if I wanted to finish a couple of piano tunes that he’d been working on.
The first one I started to work on was the song Western which have been released as a solo piano version on my EP Sinclair in may, 2020.
When he sent me the track Northern, what I fell for immediately was the bass line; especially the two notes that leads up to every phrase. So that’s where I started with the track! The melody was there, so I just needed something to do with my left hand to make it flow.
So, here it is!
The story about Barnens värld is a pretty great one! Since the day I started working at my current workplace (I work as a pre-scool teacher) my boss/principal have been talking about making a song out of a poem of his called Barnens Värld (the version named “dikt” is a version where he reads the the poem over my piano version). After almost two years me and my buddies Anton Jakobsson and Sebastian Nygren decided to finally write a song based on the poem; so we spent an afternoon reworking the lyrics and writing a melody. The original track can be heard here:
After writing the song, recording it went kind of fast. Later we decided to ask all of the people at the same workplace (about 80 people) to sing along to the chorus (which can be heard on the recording above). It was a fun day for everyone but be, since I hade record the same thing over and over again about 20 times (five people at the time). But the end result is great and I’m proud to be one of the writers of the song!
My boss also wanted to have a version with the poem so I offered to make a solo piano recording of the song which he could read the poem to.
And by the way. Barnens Värld means The world of the kids, or The kids world. And the reason why I decided to release it today is because the schools in Sweden reopens today after summer break! And to double that up; my oldest son starts school today!
Elder is the third time I collaborate with my buddy and fellow piano player Rikard Mathisson (the first two being Rowan and Hawthorn). And as you can tell by these three titles, we have kind of a theme for the songs we make together.
This track started with Rikard sending me the higher pitched piano and I started playing around with what to play below his part. Usually the melody is higher than the chords (at least when I play). The right hand plays the melodi, kind of. If you have four hands playing, you have to get creative!
My favorite part of the tune starts around 2:00 where I get the feeling of two birds (or pianos) having a conversation with each other.
On Friday I released another EP called “Sinclair”. The name was taken from the road where my sisters house is located in my home town of Arvika.
This is the first time I have recorded something on an acoustic piano, so it was pretty special for me. I usually compose, record and mix the song at the same time, so this time I had to really prepare and do each part of the process completely separate! I recorded it live, using my Townsend Sphere microphone with my laptop, and then took it back to Malmö to mix and master.
The recording was made during the Christmas season of 2019 and the first single, Meadow, was releases some time in January, and this was the fastest ever from recording to release I have ever made. I had some other things I wanted to release first so that’s why the full EP had to wait until now.
So. This is me trying to play the piano for real (well, not that I cheat on my other tracks, but this is very live for once).
I hope you like it!