I recently sat down for an interview with my colleague/fellow solo piano artist David Nevue. Many of you that are familiar with my music will probably know David Nevue’s music. If not, read on! At the end of the interview I’ve included a couple playlists where you can hear both our music. Enjoy!
PW: Hi David, Thank you kindly for taking the time to talk to me today.
DN: You’re welcome!
PW: Please tell us about your background?
DN: Well, my dad worked in a lumber mill, and my mom was, well… mom! She was always there for me, taking care of me, managing the home and babysitting neighborhood kids on the side. Neither of my parents were musical, but I grew up in the late 60’s & early 70’s watching the Monkees on television and they were my heroes! To this day, I credit the Monkees TV show with instilling the desire in me to become a musician! They made being in a band look like the best, most fun thing in the world to be in!
My grandmother had a little electric organ at her house, so that was convenient. As early as I can remember, I used to sit down and figure out how to play songs I heard on the radio or TV. Just the melodies, of course. I wasn’t Mozart, that’s for sure, but I had an ear for melody, and I could find a song on the keyboard even before I understood anything “theoretical” about music.
That’s what got me going in this direction. My parents put me in piano lessons at the age of 12. I had three teachers in three years and I didn’t stick with it – mainly because I had no interest in the music I was being taught. I wanted to learn to play the music in my head… my own songs, or the songs on the radio I cared about. So I started teaching myself to do that… just by trial and error and repetition. Between my three years of lessons and my many years singing in choir at school, I could read sheet music enough to get by… enough that I could purchase sheet music for popular songs I wanted to learn, work out the basics of it, and then take off on my own playing it my own way.
Heading into college, I wanted to play rock and roll, and I did play in some “garage bands” with some other very talented musicians. My freshman year of college I was introduced to the music of George Winston and that’s when, as a result of his inspiration, I started writing for just the piano on the side and on my own.
And that’s what’s eventually led me here.
PW: Who where your earliest music influences?
DN: The music that influenced my songwriting in the early years were bands like Kansas, Supertramp, Rush, Pink Floyd… and Kate Bush. Also, for several years I was listening to a lot of the Irish band Clannad as well as a somewhat obscure piano-based prog-rock band called Renaissance.
PW: When did you know that you wanted to be a solo piano artist?
DN: It happened rather by accident. I didn’t start out thinking “Oh, I’m going to be a solo piano artist.” The idea really never occurred to me until I heard Winston’s music, because prior to that, “solo piano” was, to me, classical music or jazz, which wasn’t my thing. I wanted to play rock n’ roll… progressive style rock to be precise. But all the while I was playing in bands in college, I was experimenting with writing songs for “solo piano” on the side. Once I graduated from college, got married and separated from my bandmates, the piano was still there, waiting for me, and it was something I could do on my own, so I kept at it. Really, I just wrote at the piano for fun and as a hobby, but once I had a dozen or so songs composed, I asked myself… “What now?” The natural step was, of course, to find a studio and record an album. So that’s what I did. From there, I kept going, and by the time I got to album #4 I realized that maybe I could do it for a living! From the time I started writing for piano until the time I got to the point where I went full time was about 16 years.
PW: What inspires you musically?
DN: Living life… and my faith. My family and the adventures we have together. Places I’ve visited and traveled to. And the desire to put this gift God has given me to good use. A lot of my music is a reflection of my spiritual walk and comes as a result of my prayers and ponderings.
PW: Your most favorite song in your catalog?
DN: You know, a lot of people ask me this, but it’s really hard to pick just one song. I’m super proud of “Sweet Dreams & Starlight.” as well as a more obscure track called “Watching the Clock.” “Ascending with Angels” is a blast to play. And then, “Equilibrium” and “Out of Pain, Comes Beauty” from my newest album. There are so many compositions I really enjoy for different reasons. “A Tiny Heartbeat” has always been a favorite, simply because of what it represents to me… the birth of my children.
PW: Biggest joy in your career/life?
DN: My wife and kids, chocolate, and seeing new things. I love to travel and tour… just because I so enjoy exploring new places and meeting new people. I enjoy having the opportunity to speak positive, encouraging words into others’ lives.
PW: Biggest struggle in your career/life?
DN: Watching cancer take both my parents. Seeing my mother suffer so much and being unable to help her get better. As it relates to my career, learning to cope with my inner critic and my obsessive nature… and getting that under control. That’s been a work in progress for many years, but I am at peace with it now and I am learning how to silence/ignore the negative voices in my own head. I have been learning how to reprogram my mind with positivity and that is really helping! After years of struggle, I’m getting my energy back, and I am really excited about the future. I’m in a really good place now. I’m coming alive again. Thank you, Lord!
PW: Advice you’d give to up and coming artists?
DN: Don’t compare yourselves to others… and don’t try to be “like” others. Embrace what is unique about your voice and style, even if it’s not commercially accepted.
Do what you do for the joy of it first… and don’t let your desire for “more,” in the business/financial sense, steal away the joy you have in just doing what you love. If you let your art become about making money and/or getting attention, you’ll lose the joy. If you do it for the joy of it, first and foremost, you’ll always have that, no matter what happens. That joy will keep you going, even if/when the “business” side isn’t happening how you’d like it to. If you do what you love simply for the joy of it, positive things will happen as a result… because you will be full of joy, and joy, fully expressed is contagious!
FINALLY, as long as you love doing what you do, don’t ever stop doing it. In this business, like so many others, it’s those who last the longest and don’t give up after years and years who become the experienced leaders who are looked up to and admired by the next generation in their field. You just have to be willing to work and wait for it… and realize that it takes YEARS (even decades) to accomplish what most people think of as “success.”
PW: How do you want to be remembered?
DN: As a good father and husband, as a person who contributed something worthwhile to others’ lives, and as someone who very well represented his faith in Jesus Christ. And, of course, I hope people still listen to, and enjoy my music for years and years and years after I’m gone.
PW: Thanks David!
Now here’s a couple playlist where you can enjoy the music of Philip Wesley, David Nevue and many other artists in our solo piano genre. Enjoy!