Tag Archives: musician

Prelude in C Major / F Minor (Summer Rain)

This is my first proper classical composition.  I stumbled across this chord progression while studying some different piano chords and was very moved by it.  I found myself playing it over and over again.  As a gentle rain storm set the mood outside, I spent several hours piecing the composition together into its finished form.

The piano part is composed of two separate parts that were combined together.  It modulates back and forth between C Major and F Minor every two measures which creates an emotional kick.

I’m very proud this piece and find myself coming back to it again and again to help me relax and to put my mind in a good place.  I hope it has the same effect for you too.


Stranger 99/100 – Kevin

Stranger-99-Kevin.jpgStranger 99/100 – Kevin

“I want to make a name for myself. I want people to know me.”

Meet Kevin.

What advice would you give to your younger self? “Take school extremely seriously. High school, middle school… all of it.”

What is your biggest challenge right now? “Maintaining… keeping a steady pace.”

What’s keeping you from doing that? “Myself… not being disciplined.”

What are your goals? Where do you want to be in ten years? “In ten years… I want to make a name for myself. I want people to know me. I want to make an impact… at least for my family.”

What’s the plan? “I do a little music right now… hip-hop, rap.”

What’s the biggest misconception people have about you? “I don’t know… people just ask me if I’m ok… like I have a mean face all the time. I don’t really talk to a whole lot of people. I just keep to myself.“

If you could put a billboard up in Charlotte, what would it say? “Life goes on.”

Are you active in the music scene yet? “I’m just writing. I haven’t stepped into the studio just yet, but I’ve been writing a lot of stuff.”

What advice would you give to people starting out in music? “Never give up honestly. Nowadays you can really go viral… you just gotta keep going. Even when you feel like you’re not going so good… you’re not gaining fans… even if it takes years, just keep going. Even people who are big now, it took them years. You just gotta keep pursuing it and getting better and better and finding that new thing that people like.”

Technical Notes: It was a cloudy day, and I used a reflector below Kevin’s face to even out the light. Despite the processed look, I barely edited this portrait at all in Lightroom. This was the rare case where the subject, lighting and background all came together at the same time.

Stranger 94/100 – Matt

100 Strangers - MattStranger 94/100 – Matt

“The number of times I regularly get asked if I have any weed…”

Meet Matt.

What advice would you give to your younger self? “I feel like the things I didn’t know were part of what made me who I am today. I don’t know that I would want to tell my younger self anything.”

What is your biggest challenge right now? “Being able to say no to really good things for even better things. I think that would be my… the thing I’m wrestling the most with right now.”

What are your goals? Where do you want to be in ten years? “{laughs} We laugh because we just had this conversation a couple days ago. In ten years our daughter is going to be out of high school. I don’t know. I’m trying to figure that one out right now too. I know that, right now, I’m doing what I need to be doing, what I’ve been called to do, so I’m going to keep doing that until I know that next piece. Right now it’s the figuring out how much do I wait for it and how much do I go out and try to figure it out… try to get there myself. I love what I do.”

“So I work part-time at a school teaching music… I teach songwriting and beat making and music production. I taught math for eleven years. I love my school. I love my co-workers. I love my students. I work part-time at a church… also on the music front.”

What is the biggest misconception people have about you? “The number of times I regularly get asked if I have any weed… I got nothing… sorry man. That’s a fairly regular misconception. I get asked if I’m in high school a lot. I’ve been teaching high school for a long time.”

If you could put a billboard up in Charlotte, what would it say? “There’s more.”

Technical Notes: It was an overcast day, so I used my small LED panel to light up Matt’s face.

Stranger 75/100 – Julien

100 Strangers - JulienStranger 75/100 – Julien

“Love one another and maintain.”

Meet Julien.

What are you doing uptown? “Just chilling before I go to work. I went to go like meditate for a second. I closed my eyes and enjoyed the sounds of nature.”

So do you meditate everyday? “I used to. I might get back to the swing of things.”

Meditation is one of those things that everybody aspires to do, but most people don’t. “Yeah. {laughs}. Most people don’t.”

What advice would you give to your younger self? “Stick to yourself.”

What is your biggest challenge right now? “Just getting back on the good foot. To get equilibrium.”

What are your goals? Where do you want to be in 10 years? “Maybe I’ll have sold a bunch of music. Have a good life. At least maybe I have my own house to share with my son.”

What kind of music do you make? “I do rap, rock and R&B. I even like some electro-funk kind of thing. I just work by myself. I write music… I’ve wrote like 320 records. Yeah, I wrote a lot of songs.”

“I’m not necessarily going for like a gimmick in music. I don’t want to be limited to doing one thing. I want to do all things. I want to be into like rock. I want to do R&B. I want to be in soul music. I want to be able to do rap music. I want to do different genres within rap music. I don’t want to only do one kind of thing. That’s boring and bland.”

If you could put a billboard up in Charlotte, what would it say? “Love one another and maintain.”

Technical Notes: We were under an overhang near the side entrance of a bank. Julien was lit from his left side and I used a reflector to even out the light on his face.

Stranger 69/100 – Ben

100 Strangers - BenStranger 69/100 – Ben

While talking with Reggie (stranger #26), I noticed our next stranger walking by and had to approach him.

Meet Ben.

“I just got here. I was living in London so… I’ve been here before, and I liked it.”

Just visiting? “No, actually, I think I’m going to probably move here for a few months and then go back to London. Because, there, you’re only allowed to stay for six months if you don’t have a work visa, and I couldn’t get one.”

What advice would you give to your younger self? “That is tough. Wait to get married. Yeah, I got married too early.”

What is your biggest challenge right now? “Trying to stay in London. {laughs} Because my girlfriend bought a house there and… you can buy a house there, but you can’t stay there. So, we’re both working on getting our visas to stay. She’s going back to school. I’m a chef. They have a shortage of chefs there. I could get a job there easily it’s just the problem is getting a visa. So you have to be sponsored by the restaurant, and that costs a lot of money. And a lot of places have to be licensed in order to do that.”

Where do you want to be in ten years? “Own my own restaurant. Have a rock and roll band.”

What do you play? “Everything. I don’t sing. That’s the only thing I don’t do. I can’t sing. Before I moved to the UK, I was in Philadelphia, and my girlfriend and I had a band. I mean we just used our computer and GarageBand to do pretty much everything and record.”

What kind of music do you make? “Myself, it’s more like early California death rock… little bit of Goth and punk in it.”

What kind of bands would be similar? “Christian Death, maybe early T.S.O.L.”

If you could put up a billboard in Charlotte, what would it say? “My dad always told me if you live long enough, strange shit will find you. I think that’s been very true in my life.”

Technical Notes: I interviewed Ben while we walked and searched for better light. We stopped here and there, took some photos and continued walking. This was one of the last pictures I took. I used a small reflector to even out the light on his face.


Stranger 41/100 – Tim

Stranger-41–Tim.jpgOur next stranger had such a cool look that I had to approach him and learn what he’s all about.

Meet Tim.

What brings you uptown? “Well, I work across the street at Charlotte Center City Partners. I’m the artist in residence there, so I do all the music programming for all the city funded events. So, right now I’m working on the big Thanksgiving parade that’s going to be on this street.”

What advice would give to your younger self? “Be patient. I’m a musician. My father was a professional musician. I grew up surrounded by some of the most talented and gifted musicians and artists and singers in the world. You know what I mean? I think, because of that, I’ve spent my whole life in a rush to get somewhere. So I’ve seen that life takes it’s own course. You kind of get to sit back and enjoy the ride. Patience is everything.”

What are your goals? “When I was younger, I wanted to work for a record label, but the record industry is non-existent. I started managing some groups a few years ago, and I really enjoyed it and had a really good knack for it. People started calling me and having me put things together. That kind of took me to the event production and event management world, and I’ve really taken strongly to it. So I just want to keep growing in that capacity. And I don’t know what that looks like yet. I don’t know if that means I’m going to start my own event management company one day or if I’ll just freelance… I don’t know yet. But, I’m enjoying this space. I’ve learned to be patient, so I’m not going to rush myself this time around.”

So you must be a people person? “Oh, yeah. Absolutely. I have to be.”

Being a musician might be kind of lonely? “It’s only lonely if you make it a lonely existence. I’ve never been in the spotlight. I play drums. You know what I mean? I’ve never been at the front of the stage in the spotlight. Sometimes for those kind of people it can be lonely I guess because there may be a different pressure”

“I feel like singers and musicians, we’re all part of the same community… the sound technicians and the roadies and the tech guys have the same relationships that you have. It’s just about knowing your place and understanding that we’re all in this together and we all need each other to make these shows work.”

“Everybody has to feel important and I want to make everybody feel comfortable enough to where they feel good about doing their job. So, at the end of the day, we can all leave the event feeling good about what we did. That’s important.“

Technical Notes: Tim was well lit from the street on his right side, and I used a small LED panel from below to add more light to the left side of his face.