River of Peace
My journey in music started out at a very early age, although it did not manifest until I started playing piano at age 21. Like many people on this planet, as a young person I was fascinated with the power and profound nature of music. I knew I liked it, but I didn't have the confidence or understanding of how I could become a musician. I thought it was something beyond my reach. Growing up poor made the idea of having a music teacher to help me an impossibility. So, I put my creativity into sports and 'getting by' in school. I believe people are like plants and seeds, all the ingredients and talents are bottled up inside, but they need time to germinate and the right kind of soil and conditions to start sprouting. Some plants even take years to show signs that they are alive; all the time roots are growing in the soil, and most do not see it. For me, it was not until I was 21 that signs of being a pianist would start to surface. In some ways, this is where my journey began. I was working in Los Angeles with my brother-in-law cleaning carpets. Many of the homes had grand pianos, and part of my job was to hand clean around the legs of the piano so the machine would not bump into it or cause damage. On one occasion I innocently opened the lid of the piano and plunked a few notes for fun, not knowing what I was doing. An older gentleman who heard the sound of the piano came in the room and asked me if I would be interested in the baby grand piano. He expressed that it had belonged to his departed wife and also stated that he at age 75 had met another gal and was going to get remarried. He told me that I could have the piano for only $300.00 (It was worth much more). I told the man I didn't have the money but I could sell my V. W. and get the money to him soon. So, that week, I sold my 1967 bug to a neighbor. I had just enough money left over to have the movers put the piano in my apartment in Santa Monica. Soon I was on my way to making music. I had no formal training, but every now and then a friend would show me a few basics and piano techniques. I enrolled in a few classes at the local junior college. I ended up discovering the piano and how to play in a very organic way. I went with what sounded interesting to me and kept experimenting with simple ideas. The thing that made it work was the fact that I was in love with the sound of the piano and I was encouraged by people around me who seemed to sense that something deeper was blossoming. Being in my early 20's I was also at a point in my life where I was still discovering who I was and what was important to me. I was growing spiritually and my faith in God was an essential part of my development in music. During this time I took a trip to Oregon with my brother Philip. This trip ended up to be one of those life changing vacations that soon led me to move north. I ended up selling my piano to the choir director of the church I was going to. The idea of moving first, and storing the piano never occurred to me. I sold almost everything I had and purchased a small truck with a canopy. Now I was free to explore the northwest. I moved from L. A. with under a hundred dollars and started a new life. I greatly missed my piano and I was truly sad that I had undervalued such a precious instrument. My first experience playing piano for an audience was at the University of Oregon. It was my first year playing the piano, but people seemed to like what I was doing. I would experiment and improvise on ideas I had learned. I borrowed the school's piano and played outside where students could sit on the grass and listen in the courtyard. During this time I kept experimenting and getting a few lessons now and then. To earn money, I started making feather jewelry and selling it at the Portland Saturday market. After a few years I thought to my self that this place would be a great place to play piano. I had a decent year that year and I ended up buying an older upright piano. This would soon be the start to many events in my life as well as a livelihood that has helped me sell over 25,000 tapes and CDs of my original music. Being in the public eye and playing at one of the largest open air crafts markets has allowed for many opportunities and other professional work. It has allowed me to meet people from all over the world and grow as a musician with the support from CD sales.