For our 22nd Clapper Sounds Interview, we’re highlighting Clapper creator PianoMike!
@PianoMike, or Michael, has been playing piano since he was 5 years old, but only began pursuing music as a career in the last few years. PianoMike is self taught and posts daily videos of covers, remixes, and his own original pieces. We sat down with PianoMike to learn more about his musical inspirations, his (accident-based) songwriting process, his advice for new musicians, and more!
Clapper Sounds is meant to be an intimate musical experience, and we want that mission to translate into our written interviews too. Check out PianoMike’s Clapper profile to get a better idea of his sound and hear his voice in action. This cover is one of our favorites!
If you have a dream, then you have to follow it. Because if you’re not following it, then you’re not going anywhere.
Let’s start from the beginning. What is your first memory of being involved with music? How did you start your artist journey?
My first memory of music is at the age of 5; my grandma gave me a keyboard and taught me “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. I remember enjoying it, enjoying the sound, and from then I just had an interest in music. My first choice of an instrument was always the piano. Wherever I would see it, I would get excited because it was a piano! I would always go up and try to play it. Then I did a few talent shows at school and I came to a point where I didn’t even have to try out. It made me think maybe I did have a little bit of talent in me.
When I was about nine years old, I tried out for a professional Jewish boys choir called Miami Boys Choir and I made it. So I was in that group from age 9 to 12. And that brought me experience of performing on stage and being in front of the live audience and getting into music. Being in that choir, that’s my biggest inspiration. It got me more connected with the music and that’s when I started playing covers of those Jewish style songs. Then I mastered the A Minor key and then I realized if I could play these, songs I could play any song. I did take a piano lesson when I was 12. It was the only lesson that I ever took because they were trying to teach me songs that I didn’t want to learn. I said, ‘you know, if I want to learn a song on the piano, I’ll just teach myself’ and that’s what I did. I taught myself and that’s how I got here today.
How would you describe your musical style? Who are your biggest inspirations?
My musical style…I would have to say would be classical, but with my own twist. Because I wouldn’t know what genre to categorize it as. There’s so many different genres that I play; it’s definitely not blues or jazz or opera. But I make covers, remix the songs, and make them sound different. I would say it’s more of a classical riff.
Musical inspirations I would say Miami Boys Choir is number one. Number two, Charlie Puth. There’s something about him and his talent that is very inspiring to me. And also the guy who wrote the Dr. Dre beat. His name is Scott Storch. He stands out to me as one of the most accomplished producers. It’s none of my business what he did with his money. But the way that he went about things like, it makes me want to get into something like that. Without all the partying and…reputation that he has. But I also have others, like Imran Khan is a Punjabi artist that I like listening to. He has a style where he makes it a mix of Indian music and and rap/hip hop music.
Has your style of music changed? Or have you always preferred the genre(s) you currently work in?
I used to want to be a hip hip producer, but I’m still on my own musical journey. I prefer to play the piano because of the acoustic sound that it has. So when you do rap producing, musical stuff, and engineering, that’s more of an electric sound with keyboards. But for me playing the piano (preferably a grand piano) the sound is really what I look for. And that’s my preference. So, If I could get a piano, why not?
A lot of us tend to think of classical music as already written/composed years ago by the masters. Do you write your own music? What is that process like?
I do have several original pieces, but they’re not out on platforms yet. This is just the beginning of my of my journey. It was always this was always just an extra hobby for me. This past year and a half, I’ve been really taking it serious, going hard and practicing. I have about four or five original songs now. Some of them are complete, some of them aren’t. When I write a song it happens in the moment. I’d be practicing another song and then I would mess up and think to myself ‘Oh that sounds actually pretty cool.’ Then I would build a song just on that. One note makes that much difference to the sound. And then everything would evolve around that and once you get in the zone, you just do it. It’s the best feeling afterwards.
What keeps you making music?
The people and the feeling that I get when I’m playing. Sometimes when I’m playing I have to stop and I have to think to myself ‘wow, did that just really happen?’ It’s like a spiritual awakening for me. I play with passion. Like, my facial expressions in videos – sometimes I look at it and I’m so embarrassed because you can see what I’m thinking and it’s a little awkward for me to watch.
Deciding to be an artist can have its ups and downs. What advice would you give to that young artist who is just learning to play guitar, or starting singing lessons and whose dream is to be a musician?
If you know that it’s your dream then start today. Don’t wait. But at the same time, just know that it’s never too late. I’m a perfect example because I’m just starting piano as a career at 36 years old. If you have a dream, then you have to follow it. Because if you’re not following it, then you’re not going anywhere.
Make sure to check our recorded live session on our account Clapper Sounds and in our reels on Instagram. Enjoy the Clapper Sounds live session of the week!