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"Learning to Fly"
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My music is my story, it is my diary, my journal, my biography… a glimpse into my soul.
I started playing piano when I was very young. My earliest memories are around the age of 5, playing piano for show-n-tell in kindergarten. I’ve always had a musical ear, and could figure out any melody I heard. I’ve also always been drawn to pianos… if there was a piano or keyboard in the room, I gravitated toward it, longing to touch and play it. There has always just been a connection between the piano and I.
When I was 8, my parents took me to see George Winston in concert. We were right by the stage, on the left hand side, I could see his hands so clearly and closely and I was mesmerized. I remember thinking a wide-eyed “WOW!” and I thought everything about George and his music and being up on that stage playing for a concert hall full of people was just super cool.
After that I spent months learning how to play his songs by ear. I would put the CD in, listen to a few measures, and then plunk it out as best I could. Before long, I was playing entire George Winston tunes, and though I didn’t realize it at the time, I was also learning how to play. See, I never took lessons. Well, that’s not entirely true, I did take lessons for a very brief moment in time and I hated it. Scales, and practicing, and learning classical music just wasn’t for me. So instead, I just learned to play by listening to other musicians, and it wasn’t long before I was composing my own songs.
It’s kind of funny, because I was very shy about my music growing up. I would write songs, but then I’d be too embarrassed to share them with anyone. Over the years, I composed dozens of songs that nobody but my close immediate friends and family heard. It wasn’t until the year 2000, when my mom pestered me to make her a cassette tape of my music, that I finally released an album. I had a makeshift recording setup… a borrowed digital piano, a tape recorder, and a quiet room. I recorded 20 of my favorite pieces I’d composed over the years, mistakes and all, titled the album “Beginnings” and make a couple dozen copies to give to friends and family for Christmas that year. What I didn’t expect was the overwhelming flow of positive feedback from everyone. Comments like “Wow, I didn’t know you played so well!” or “You really should make more of these!”, and “This is some of the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard!” left me feeling a whole new world of emotions about my music than I’d ever felt before.
It was then that I decided to step it up a notch and record a “real album”. I purchased my own digital piano, a Yamaha Clavinova, and consulted my uncle who owns a recording studio on the in’s and out’s of recording at home. Feeling especially inspired and motivated by all the positive feedback I’d received, and by finally owning my first piano, I composed and recorded 16 songs over a four month period that I released as my second (but first official) album “Elysium“. I gave this album to friends and family for Christmas and the response I received was even more overwhelming than it had been with “Beginnings“. It was then, at that moment, that I decided to try and make a career out of being a musician, and it would be another six years before that dream would come true.
Once a year, during the holidays, I would release a new album to give to friends and family as gifts. “The Journey” was released in 2002, followed by “A Change of Color” in 2003, “The Beginning of Forever” in 2004, and “After The Storm” in 2005. By this time, I was selling my music online, and promoting myself to radio stations. One particular online radio station I wanted to be a part of was Whisperings: Solo Piano Radio. I submitted a couple of my albums to David Nevue in hopes that he’d include my music on the Whisperings broadcast. He kindly replied that he enjoyed my music, however, the digital recording was not what Whisperings was looking for, and suggested that I record on an acoustic piano in the studio. Due to his encouragement, and my desire to be on the station, I compiled 20 of my favorite songs from my six released albums, and took them to the recording studio to record my next album “Reflections: The Best of Michele McLaughlin“, released in 2006. Shortly after that, I was accepted not only onto Whisperings, but also onto MusicChoice Soundscapes (the digital music stations through local cable/satellite providers). I remember hearing my song “Night Sky” on TV and dancing around the room in utter excitement. Later that same year I purchased my first grand piano, something I had always dreamed of owning. I also recorded and released my first holiday album “Christmas – Plain & Simple“.
The following year, in 2007, some very big changes happened in regards to my musical career. Through Whisperings, I had the opportunity to meet pianist/composer Gary Girouard, who was in Salt Lake City for a music teacher’s seminar, and he invited me to play a couple of songs as a special guest at his concert. I was terrified. I hadn’t really performed before and I almost turned him down, but something inside of me urged me to accept, and I was so glad that I did. Performing was so exhilarating and exciting and it ignited a spark in me that pushed me to the next level of my music. It was a few months later when I decided to quit my “day job” and invest myself full time into my music, as a professional musician. Dream come true?
Since becoming a full time musician, I’ve released many more albums; “Dedication” released in 2007, "A Celtic Dream” released in 2008, “Out of the Darkness” and “Christmas – Plain & Simple II” both released in 2010, “Breathing In The Moment” released in 2012, “Waking The Muse” released in 2013, “Undercurrent” and “Top 20” both released in 2015, and “Life” released in 2017. I have received numerous nominations and awards, and charted on the New Age Billboard charts with two of my albums. I tour regularly and have shared the stage with many incredible and talented pianist/composers. I performed on a cruise ship for Audiosyncracy At Sea’s inaugural cruise, was a featured performer for the 2016 Zone Music Awards show. I own my own recording studio, do all of my recording in the comfort of my own home on my beautiful Fazioli F212 concert grand. I also run an in-home concert series, Valley View Concerts, which showcases renowned pianists from all over. And, I am always constantly working on new projects, music, and ideas and immersing myself into the music.
Thanks for taking the time to read my story. For a more in-depth biography experience, please visit my STORE to listen and submerge yourself in my music. Enjoy!
"A Beautiful Distraction"
The Artist Gallery.com
"....No matter how pyrotechnic she can be (and this woman can really play piano with the best of ’em), there is always the presence of heart, sometimes “in your face” and sometimes between the lines, but never hidden behind artifice.”
-- Bill Binkelman, Wind & Wire and Zone Music Reporter
Michele McLaughlin has been a featured artist on The Artist Gallery.com since July 11, 2018.
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