Welcome, I appreciate that you are taking the time to read this as well as follow my progress and thoughts through this weird maze called music. It is actually a pretty cool job, but it does have its ups and downs, a curse and a blessing so to speak. But that can be the subject of another blog….
I have been promoting my latest CD release “Secrets of the Sea” and have come into several nice reviews of both the CD as well as my life as a composer. I am particularly proud of this CD, it is a bit different then my last 24 CD’s (OK, you may say it’s about time you did something else). But, it seems to be having success in the streaming world, at least with Spotify, (Pandora has trouble playing new material).
Here is a recent interview by www.2indya.com
Mold Your Outlook to React With Love–Interview with Greg Maroney
The primary function of an artist is to try to take his/her audience to new possibilities and amazement, yet keeping them grounded to their basic nature, which revels in love, compassion, sharing, and being creative. This is not an easy task, or a difficult one–it is actually extremely daunting task and that’s why a common person almost reveres a good artist.
To put your whole self into the art, then transmute that art to help others is something truly noble and elevating. And music remains one of the most powerful instruments to achieve this task.
We talked to Greg Maroney, a pianist, who focuses on this aspect, and believes that soulful music could render the required peace and content to the audience, something they are looking more than ever.
Q1. How did you choose the Piano as your instrument?
My mother was probably the first one to think that the piano would be a good instrument for me to play. My grandmother was a concert pianist, and with her help and my mother’s persistence, I started classical lessons at the age of 5. As I grew to love the instrument, I branched out into jazz, more classical, and what was popular music at that time. The piano seemed like a good fit, so I would say that with help from the people who knew best, the piano chose me and I chose the piano.
Q2. You have had a prolific career in recording. What gives you maximum delight in terms of feedback and response from the audience?
I would say that the maximum delight is when someone is drawn into the music, moved by it, and lets the cares of the world drop away for a while. If I can touch someone right in the heart with a song, stir their emotions in a positive way, then I and the music have done our job. Of course, being appreciated is always nice!
Q3. In the age of digital sounds, how challenging is it being a solo pianist and being relevant?
I think the acoustic solo piano is extremely relevant and important. As the world becomes a more turbulent place to live, and news is mostly distressing and negative, heartfelt solo piano has a tremendous impact on people. Folks want something to take them away from the cares of the world and bring them back to what I think is the true nature of being human, where wonder, love, and compassion are paramount. There is a great need for the calming influence of piano music.
Q4. What do you feel are crucial traits or qualities any musician must develop who wants to turn pro?
I would say that practice, persistence, and patience are the 3 most important things for an up and coming artist to cultivate. First of all, a musician must master their instrument, and produce music that is excellent and that people want to listen to. I have heard that 10,000 hours is the requirement for mastery, and I think that may be accurate. Practice, practice and then practice some more. Learn chord structure, melodic line, theory, and study the musical literature that others have created. Then, be persistent in your studies, and keep improving your performance and compositional skills. Keep producing new music, stoke the fires. A lastly, be patient for success. It does not come overnight, but it will come to those who work hard, keep at it, and do not get too discouraged!
To talk a little more about the qualities of a musician, I think the main one is to have a connection to the music you are playing or studying. It has to come from the heart, it has to be believable or people will not listen to it or purchase it. You also have to be able to take criticism, both constructive and negative. Not everyone is going to resonate with your music, and you will get negative feedback. The trick is to keep being true to your vision, keep moving forward, and know that what you are doing has value.
Q5. Share with us about your current projects and any upcoming music?
2018 has been an amazingly prolific year for me. I released 4 solo piano CD’s, a collaborative CD with flutist Sherry Finzer, and a few singles. I also had a 5th solo piano CD ready for release for January 2019. This is a very creative period for me, music seems to be pouring out, which I am forever thankful for. But, as for upcoming projects, I plan on releasing a few classical pieces with an improvisational twist, a few more singles, and an ambient CD. I would also like to do more collaborative music with flutist Sherry Finzer. There is no limit!
The current project that we are working on is the solo piano CD “Secrets of the Sea”. This was recorded and mastered a bit differently than my usual CD’s. I wanted to have the piano sound like it was on a stage in a large concert hall, and wrote each song to be as inspiring and emotionally rich as possible. The music is composed for an overall feeling of tone color, mood, atmosphere, and fluidity rather than a strong melodic line. It is reminiscent of Debussy, with gorgeous tapestries of tone and color. Each song was an improvisation, living exactly in the moment of its creation. That is a wonderful but challenging way to play and record!
Q6. Looking back, do you feel you have achieved what you wanted when you decided to become a professional musician?
I think I have accomplished some things, but still have goals. First and foremost, the piano is an instrument that can take a lifetime to master. There is so much to learn, assimilate, and then create that I will never be the player that I envision in my mind’s eye. Of course, this keeps me moving forward, which is vital to the creative process. Another important goal that we actually accomplished is earning enough money through music that we can make ends meet. I work full time as a musician, it has taken years to accomplish that goal. And lastly, the goal of composing the most beautiful piano piece that I am capable of has not yet been achieved, it keeps me creating, composing, practicing, and working toward creating beauty.
Q7. A message for our readers.
My message to your readers would be to use the “Golden Rule” in all aspects of your life, treat others as you would like to be treated. Mold your outlook to react with love, compassion, and presence. It would be my wish that my music helps people do this. Also, music can open the heart, and let in some sunlight, allow this to happen and it will make your day that much better!
Here is a brief review of the CD from Keys and Chords, an online music magazine, by Patrick Van Wiele:
The 12 original compositions on this CD all revolve around the sea. Whether it is the deepest abysses, the coasts, the rivers or even the springs that feed them. The American pianist Greg Maroney conceived all this on his 25th album, on which he plays the Steinway Concert Grand piano. Greg has been studying classical and jazz piano since he was 5 years old. In addition, Indian and Middle Eastern music were also discussed. He finds himself a modern romantic on piano, where nature is his source of inspiration. His goal is to show others the beauty around us that is lost in daily life. In addition, he uses minimalist technology, in which the piano strings are muted. If you imagine it for a moment, you can hear water rippling, or see the sunlight shining on it, and at the end even see the lighthouse shine. So beautiful solo piano music, inspired by nature.
Patrick Van de Wiele (4)