Emulating (vs. Imitating) Your Artistic Role Models: Where Art Truly Starts

As an artist, I have never had much luck in staying put, or boxing myself in by trying merely to imitate others.   As a child, and as a young adult, I was continually inspired by music I heard.  This music ranged enormously in style: from carols we sang at Christmas to blockbuster film soundtracks I heard in movies such as “Star Wars” and “Ghostbusters”; from the piano music of Beethoven and Chopin to popular music by Billy Joel; from songs I heard on the radio by Madonna and Pearl Jam to the rap music of Eminem.  These creators, and many others, ignited in me new desires to learn and create, to evolve my creative expression.  They helped get me started on the path of developing my own artistic abilities and following my artistic dreams.   To them and to all my artistic influences I will always be grateful.

Read more

I Got Ya “Cover”-ed: The Surprising Benefits Of Playing Other People’s Music

I have always desired to make and be known for original music.  I remember as a little kid fantasizing about writing music inspired by other music I loved:  movie scores, music on the radio, even the demo song from the keyboard my dad bought for us (us being my brother, my sister, and myself) for Christmas one year.   Whatever the source, I remember fantasizing about creating my own music that emulated (or even surpassed!) the models that inspired me.   Accordingly, that is what I have worked to accomplish, writing music as both a composer and a songwriter working in a variety of formats and genres, from piano music to theater music and hip hop.

Read more

Overcoming Perfectionism: What it Really Took for Me to Complete Waterfall

In my debut piano CD Waterfall: Original Piano Music, I wrote the following dedication on the back cover:

This album is dedicated to all creative people. May you find your own waterfall of creativity.

I am reminded now of the enormous personal journey I underwent just to get to the point where I could even write those simple words on the back of that CD.

Read more

What’s Your “Impossible Dream?” My Night at the 2010 Grammys

When Taylor Swift stood in front of the TV cameras and the packed auditorium in Staples Center in Los Angeles a couple nights ago and accepted her Grammy for Best Country Album, she said, “I just feel like I’m standing here accepting an impossible dream right now.”

I feel you, Taylor. Not that I can boast quite an accomplishment like standing in front of the whole world and accepting a Grammy (yet…lol), yet I can still say with satisfaction (and gratitude) that I feel like I’m living an “impossible dream” of my own. If there really is such a thing as an “impossible” dream.

Read more