The following interview was given for the MP3 radio program, Best Easy Listening 4 the Job in February of 2002
I started promoting my music seriously on MP3.com in January of 2001.
I started taking piano lessons when I was 12, which was in 1977. I was a rather unmotivated student, however. In three years of lessons, I went through three teachers, and then I quit. My parents never forced me to practice, and honestly, I'm glad they didn't. Anyway, I could never get into playing classical piano music, which is the direction my teachers were taking me. At 15 years old, I didn't just have the appreciation for it or interest in it.
I am a seeker - seeking after my God, striving to serve Him, to understand His ways and His Word. My music is kind of a soundtrack for that journey."David Nevue, Feb 2002
I kept playing around on the piano - goofing around really - until college. Then, my freshman year I took a music theory course that helped me take the music I was hearing in my head and actually play it. That's when I first began to compose music for the piano, and when I started to get serious. I never went back to lessons, though. I taught myself, playing by ear.
So, though technically I've played piano for 24 years, I've only been *seriously* playing for about 14, since 1987 or so. My first album (The Tower), which was just something I did for fun, was recorded in 1991, and released in 1992.
Yes, I play the Bass guitar. And I'm starting to pick up the acoustic, as well.
It can get pretty crazy. I just went full time with my music business last November, so that helps a great deal. But, I generally get up at 6 am to work and wrap up my day about 4 pm. The rest of the day I hang out with my wife and little boy. It's pretty nice, really - I do what I love during the day, then spend time with the ones I love at night. What a great blessing!
My wife is very, very supportive of what I'm doing, but I know she gets tired of hearing about my music all the time. I have a hard time leaving my music 'at the office' since music is so integrated into the person that I am. Julie helps me keep everything balanced and in perspective. Our life together isn't just about music - It's about family, faith, and serving our God together. My friends are supportive as well, but none of them are musicians, which is a good thing, I think. We talk about other stuff, which again, helps me get my mind on other things.
I tend to compose late at night, when it's dark and the lights are low. That atmosphere seems to get me in the mood. Less distractions, too.
Yep, I memorize it. I don't write anything down. :) I do have a little tape recorder in case I get a great idea and I have to leave for some reason. Then I can record it real quick, as a back up in case I forget. But I hardly ever go back to review it.
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. Also, pianist Dax Johnson's 'Merciful Dwelling' CD is my absolute favorite piano CD. There's nothing else out there quite like it. It just rips your heart out - it's so emotional. I can really relate to it.
I generally prefer Yamaha pianos. My dream piano for home is a 7' Yamaha with a built in MIDI recording system. That's what I'd really like to own. Then I could do all my recording at home, in my own time. Right now, I rent studio time.
Currently, I have a Young Chang baby grand at home, and I like it a lot. It puts out a HUGE sound for such a small instrument. And I love the touch on it, which is pretty heavy - you can really dig into it.
I record at a studio in Portland, Oregon. We use two mics on the piano, and record direct to digital. We do two or three takes of each song, and then use the best one. Sometimes we'll do small edits if we prefer an ending of one take over another, for example. Then we mix and master it. On average, it takes us just over an hour to record and edit one song.
Wow, that's a tough one. Actually, if I had the power do something like that, I'd really like to bring someone like Mozart forward in time to hear his music played by today's best musicians with today's music technologies. I think it would be fascinating to observe how he responds to both seeing the impact he truly had on music, as well as seeing how far he'd push the musical envelope in today's world.
Composing. I don't perform live that often. I'd like to perform more, but really the thing that drives me is writing, creating new compositions - creating something beautiful out of nothing.
Honestly, I've never really thought about this. I don't know that I have a 'fantasy concert', per se. I've never strived to say, play Carnege Hall. Someday, when I have the means, I would like to bring together a number of talented pianists - all relatively unknown - and put on a showcase. There are a number of pianists on MP3.com whose music really should be heard, and some that I'm a real big fan of.
I don't have any 'pet' causes, but I would contribute to the search for a cure for Alzheimer's, which is a condition that runs in my family. I watched my grandfather suffer with it, and my father seems to be heading that way. I'm also supportive of Habitat for Humanity.
In terms of my 'fantasy concert', I'd just want to see my wife there, smiling and encouraging me. I wouldn't want to know if there was anyone 'famous' in the crowd. If I knew George Winston was going to be at my show, for example, I'd feel much more pressure to play with perfection - rather than just being relaxed and feeling it. My focus would be wrong.
My biggest inspiration comes from my relationship with God, and my prayer and study time in the Bible. Perhaps that sounds a bit cliché, but it's true. I'm a deeply emotional person, and my brain is just always going, analyzing everything. The emotional ups and downs of my spiritual walk often impact my music, and the themes and spiritual emphasis present in each of my CDs tends to reveal where I am spiritually at that point in my life. 'The Vigil', for example, is influenced very heavily by the Psalms, and it's an expression of my utter dependency on God when darkness comes.
So, the piano is kind of a spiritual outlet for me. And people sense that. I do, of course, write songs about 'life' in general - things I see, feel emotionally, and touch. But since I see 'life' as something given to us from our creator, those songs are, in a way, a celebration and an acknowledgement of Him also.
I guess with the piano, I don't really hide anything. I just kind of put the music out there, whether it's 'pretty', or whether it's 'sad'. I struggle with emotional things, just like everyone else, and I wrestle with the Lord, and spend time in His Word, and seek answers, express frustrations as well as give thanks. I just tend to do express this on the piano and through my music.
I am a seeker - seeking after my God, striving to serve Him, to understand His ways and His Word. My music is kind of a soundtrack for that journey.
Probably my favorite song is 'Psalm 77' from my CD, 'The Vigil'. I think it is incredibly emotional, and reveals my soul a bit. The composition I'm most proud of is probably 'Watching the Clock', from the same CD, which has a lot of time changes and is just a very interesting piece.
I'm very excited about my upcoming CD, 'Postcards From Germany' because it is the CD I've always wanted to do - a really adventurous album with some challenging tunes. It's very different from my other CDs, and really pushes the envelope of what constitutes 'David Nevue' piano music. I wanted to take my music up a notch, and I think it came off well.
I've been asked that a number of times. I've considered it. I'm sure I'll do one eventually. Right now I'm working on a Christmas album, which fans have been asking for for years. Then I'll do a few more CDs, and maybe, just maybe I'll come back and do a Hymns album.
I tend to resist this kind of thing (as I did with the Christmas CD) because I get so much enjoyment from creating new music. To do something like the Christmas album, or a Hymn album, I kind of have to step back into the world of re-interpreting others' music. It's not a natural thing for me to do.
The Christmas album has been fun - especially watching how I twist these familiar tunes into my own piano stylings. The result is interesting - and not typical at all of piano Christmas albums. But, I'm ready to get back to writing and recording my original works.
Yes, davidnevue.com, and I have a newsletter as well, which they can subscribe to from there.
Currently, I play only two or three shows a year, and usually those are local, within Oregon. If a reader is interested in having me come and play their event outside of Oregon I am totally open to that. Just provide the event, a piano, an audience, and travel arrangements and I'll come. See the booking page on my web site for details on my fees. I'm very reasonable.
Don't fall asleep!
If that's what the Lord desires for me, yes. I don't know what the future holds. It's only been 10 years since I released my first album, but that seems like ages ago. So, in 30 years, who knows what I will be doing. God has really blessed my work, and He's been with me from the beginning. If that's how the Lord chooses to use me for the rest of my life, I'm up for it.