Do you listen to other artists? Do any artists in your genre inspire you or serve as influences?
My whole life I have supported the artists I have loved and I find inspiration from everyone all music genre’s. I just LOVE music so much, that I have learned to appreciate it all. I will name a few that I really love Beethoven (Roger Norrington’s Beethoven Symphony Cycle … Man never heard Beethoven played that way), Mozart, Liszt, Chopin, Phillip Glass, Pat Metheny, Pat Metheny Group, Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush, Sarah Brightman, RUSH, Amaranthe, Mike Oldfield, 12 Girls Band, Kitaro, Midori, Medwyn Goodall, Piano Guys, Fiona Joy, Vin Downes, Will Ackerman, George Winston, Michael Jones, Nightwish, Kamelot, Vivid (JPOP band), all the Windham Hill music, I have collected so much. Josh Groban, Genesis, Yes, Kansas, Yanni, David Arkenstone, Yes I think you get the idea, that I’m eclectic and all over the place, these are just some of the recent ones I’ve heard and I know I have not even touched the surface and I can’t think of them all, but genre does not scare me, I will listen to anything and everything. So to answer your question more basically Yes artists in my genre do inspire me a lot and I feel whatever I listen to will have a big influence on me though I try and express my feelings as myself. Most of the bands, groups and artists I listed above are a lot more complex than me (musically). I’m a very simple person deep down and I pretty much keep to that idea.
Where do you draw inspiration from? Nature? Life experiences? People? Places? Something intangible?
My inspiration can take the form of many things, from the environment where I’m creating my music. For instance I love to play in churches. I feel at peace in a church, the peace and quietness inspire me to be more gentle and quiet. I think the environment I grew up in Japan taught me a lot about simplicity and I love simplicity, flow and quietness. Deep down and ultimately, I’m quiet, and gentle. I’m hoping that I convey that through my latest release, if nothing else. The beauty of being gentle and simple. Love’s Embrace has the tag line “Gentle Music for Gentle Hearts” and I feel that is what it’s about. Does that mean I never get mad and I’m always gentle ☺ (with hearts on my eye lids and rose color glasses) of course not, but fundamentally, I grew up in a culture back at a time when it was gentle. My dad got one thing straight at least he said something to the effect that ever since I have been in the US I have chased my childhood and it is true that I chase that time even today. I miss my life as a child very much and that is my inspiration to my music is my childhood, I had a great one, when I was in Japan, up until about 11 or 12. For instance, the piece of music called Graceful Soft Child (Gentle Beauty CD) I wrote to myself, to remember who I was. That was an inspired improvisation and even today is my biggest bought piece of music. I wonder what that tells me personally. I even had an artist who does murals for children’s rooms, hospitals and other places dealing with children say it was an inspirational piece and could he use it to paint to and I told him go ahead and take it. I guess that is a compliment. “Graceful Soft Child” was played once in 5 minutes and 23 seconds and before I was running out the door to go to work at L-3 Communications (the “real world”), I was even late and I had to run but my feelings and keyboard just called out and spoke to me that moment and it happened. So I get inspired by the moment also, when I get a feeling. I’m just a feeling kind of guy and I have no idea how I got in the world of engineering when that is the world of thinking. Even today at my job at Westinghouse, I said something to the effect, I feel this should be this way, my manager looked at me and said you feel that, you don’t think it, hehehehe well sometimes I feel my engineering projects (what can I tell you).
What is your composing process? Do you start with an idea? A musical phrase? Do you write down the music or improvise melodies first?
My composing process is to take a word that resonates with me and in this case it is words like “gentle”, “soft”, “quiet”, “peace”, “feelings”, “love” I will seat down at a keyboard and feel the spirit of the word, and I will start to play from that place of creativity. When I feel a word like “soft” it just feels fluffy and it feels floaty, kind of like the teddy bear from the commercial snuggles. That’s what I feel when I create the improvisation. I feel snuggles, I don’t play from a place of emotions necessarily, which is probably why, it’s not easy to connect with people. I used to use the word ambience but I don’t even like to call my creativity ambience because the label, just sounds like I don’t care and I do care about people and what they feel. I’m feeling and the feeling is kind of purest form without a story when it gets titled. I want people to feel the words that mean something. I feel when we feel softness and gentleness it brings us deeper into our inner beauty or inner heart or inner soul, whatever it is called I know all humans are soft, gentle and beautiful and that is what I express and where my personal creativity comes from. Being a human being can be beautiful and that is what I’m all about.
What is your goal with your music?
The goal of my music was always to slow down the world and give people a chance to de-stress. To give them space, and help them relax. I guess very short term my goal is get back out on the radio, and that is starting to happen. The second is to start to record my next CD and work with (collaborate with people).