How do you pronounce your last name?:
Nev-You. Pronounced like Nephew but with a "V" sound rather than a "PH."
How long have you been playing the piano?
My grandmother had a little organ at her house, and I used to sit down and play that when I was a kid. I'd try to find the melodies for songs I heard on TV or the radio. Seeing that I had a natural inclination for doing that, my parents started me on piano lessons when I was 12. I didn't do very well in lessons, though. I had no interest in classical music, and so I was very undisciplined. I wanted my teachers to teach me how to play my own music which was, of course, not really possible and since I didn't like the music I was being taught, I never practiced (I was a very BAD student!) After a couple of very unproductive years of lessons, I quit. I kept playing around on the piano,
though, doing my own thing until college, and then, my freshman year I took a very intense music theory course. That opened
up my world, musically, and that's when I first began to really compose for piano. I'm basically self-taught. I just did my own thing at the piano long enough to eventually become good at it.
Can you read sheet music?
To a very limited degree. Most third-year piano students can probably read sheet music better than I. If I put
the effort into it, I can usually work out an intermediate-level song from sheet music. But honestly, I don't have
the patience for it. I've always been more interested in just playing my own creations. What I really enjoy about
the piano more than anything is the process of creation, making something new out of nothing. If I need to learn
a song for a wedding, or other event, I typically request a tape recording. I can learn a song much faster by listening
to it than I can reading sheet music.
Do you write down any of your songs?
No, I play all my songs from memory. I haven't the patience to write them down. I have sheet music for my songs professionally transcribed from my CDs. Those are available here.
Why aren't more of your songs available as sheet music?
I am in the process of getting them ALL transcribed. Most of them are, at this point, but I still have quite a few left to do. It takes time... and money to pay someone to do it.
How do you go about writing your songs?
Most of my songs come to me through improvisation - just playing around until an interesting chord progression
or melody strikes me. Then I develop it, pounding out the melody until the song takes form. It's a lot like making
pottery, actually. You start with just a clump of clay (in this case, 88 keys), and you just start molding it,
massaging it until it begins to take shape. Once I see where the piece is going, I can embellish it, improve it,
smooth it out, and before long it has form, substance, a beginning and an end.
How long does it take you to compose a song?
Anywhere from two hours to two or three years. Most songs take me about six to nine months before I am satisfied
with them. But the length of time is also due to the fact that I'm typically composing a number of songs at once.
How did you develop your music style (voice)?
I don't know that my piano style is really something I "developed," per sť. It just kind of "was." I suppose
my style could be the result of a combination of musical influences, but perhaps it's more related to just my character.
I have a quietly intense kind of personality - very thoughtful and analytical. My music is the same way, crafted
from my analytical point of view. I don't really think about my style when I compose. I just play the music, see
what comes out, and then shape it into a melody and structure that appeals to me.
How skilled are you, really?
Honestly, I don't think I'm especially skilled when it comes right down to it. I'm a very average pianist. Though
my music is often compared to that of George Winston, he is a far superior pianist, technically. However, I feel my real talent is for composition and have a knack for melody. That is my strong suit and my gift - writing songs that grab you emotionally.
That's what I'm good at - I keep my songs simple, but interesting and ear-catching.
How much do you practice?
About 90 minutes per day, 4-5 days a week. I spent half the time composing new material, the other half keeping
old material fresh.
What kind of piano do you have?
I have a Yamaha C-3, which is a basically a 6' grand. My dream piano at the moment is a Kawai RX-7. I recorded on one for my Adoration CD and absolutely fell in love with it.
Where do you record your CDs?
Currently, at a studio called Piano Haven in Kenmore, WA.
Where influences your music?
Life is my influence. I experience things, and I write songs about how events and happenings make me feel. My faith in God, along with my prayer time and time in the Bible, is another big inspiration. I'm a deeply emotional person, and my brain is just always going,
analyzing everything. I think my music is an outlet for that. Playing the piano is how I let off steam, how I channel my passions, my hopes and my prayers.
What about your biggest musical influences?:
Most of my musical influences come from my younger years. I was BIG into progressive rock music in college, and
my love for changes in time and tempo are directly influenced by bands like Rush, Pink Floyd, Kansas, and Renaissance.
As far as the piano goes, were
it not for my being introduced to the music of pianist George Winston, I don't think I would have ever even thought
of writing for solo piano. So, he was a big influence early on. Aside from that, I enjoy the piano music of Chopin,
Debussy and Ravel - the moody stuff. Other artists that influenced me musically include The Monkees (yes, I'm serious), Clannad,
Kate Bush, and Pacific Northwest artist Jeff Johnson.
If you're a Christian, why is your music categorized as 'New Age' music?
I really do dislike having the term 'New Age' applied to my music. I don't want anything to do with it. Unfortunately,
'New Age' is the standard label the music industry has applied to any music that is instrumental in nature, yet
doesn't easily fit into the 'classical' or 'jazz' genres. All modern solo piano music - George Winston, Jim Brickman,
Yanni, and others - are considered 'New Age' music for the purpose of categorization. Walk into any record store,
and if you want solo piano music like mine, you have to head over to the New Age music section. As far as the music
industry is concerned, New Age music is simply a category - much like Classical, Jazz, Pop, Alternative, Rap,
and World Music are categories. It's just a way to delineate one music style from another. Most people in the industry
don't think twice about the 'religious' inferences. I do, though, and it bothers me.
Do you subscribe to 'New Age' religious philosophies?
No. I don't subscribe to 'New Age' religious philosophies in any way. I believe there is one God, creator of all
things, who has revealed himself to man through his Holy Word (the Bible), and who was made flesh in the person
of Jesus Christ. It is only through a relationship with the resurrected Christ, that we can be reconciled and restored
to our creator. Salvation and restoration is available to every man or woman who believes, and puts their faith
in the Lord Jesus. It is by His grace and mercy that we are saved, not by any work that we do ourselves. That is
the faith on which I stand. I see my abilities on the piano as a gift from the Lord, and it's my desire to use
those abilities to point to and glorify Him. My music reflects my faith, my love for the Bible, and my desire to
serve my King. Occasionally, you'll see me promoting my music with other 'New Age' music (such as on iTunes).
I do this because most of the people who enjoy solo piano music are searching/browsing that category on iTunes.
I want my music to be where people are searching. It just provides one more opportunity to share my music, my faith,
and my testimony with others.