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piano Archives - Morningside School of Music

An interview with Gus Harrower

Gus Harrower Wonder

“Nobody would have to know, your secrets on the radio…”

Gus Harrower,Gus,Harrower,Live,Wembley,London,

Gus’ music career began at primary school when he started piano lessons at a relatively young age. However, he did admit that he “hated learning to begin with. I couldn’t get into it when I started, but I stuck at it”.

Gus continued his interest in music by becoming a student at Morningside School of Music. This is where he began to practice and excel at the piano. He only had praise for the teachers at the music school, saying that “the encouragement from Paul and my piano teacher at the time inspired me with the music I would go onto write”.

He continued, “listening to the music which the tutors advised me to, totally expanded my taste in music and helped with my songwriting”.

Gus’ Musical Influences

Musical influences were a thing Gus was keen to share, citing numerous artists that have shaped his career. He began with his favourite act, American indie folk band Bon Iver.

“Currently, I enjoy listening to Bon Iver. The band are very different from the music I write, however, the lyrics are brilliant and great to listen to”.

He carried on, “I enjoy listening to Billy Joel. He is an excellent pianist and was brilliant in concert when I saw him at Old Trafford”.

However, Gus was keen to point out that it’s not only famous musicians impact his music. He added, “I learn lots from my friends and other musicians around Edinburgh; they don’t have to be a big name to influence my music taste”.

 

What was very apparent in talking to Gus is that his music taste is very diverse. Other than Billy Joel and Bon Iver, Gus listens to different artists on Spotify and spoke about the last playlist he listened to. “On my artist page on Spotify, you can find a playlist called Ten Tunes. It’s quite varied; there is some Blossoms and Theo Katzman too”.

Music, Work and Studies

While on the topic of Spotify, Gus spoke about his music which features on the platform. He expressed that “Spotify is great for artists, as millions of people can hear our music”.

Gus Harrower

Gus already has some music on the music platform with his album “Where We Were” which is performing well. However, he isn’t content with tha

t. He continued, “the aim, for me, is to get my music on an editorial playlist. These playlists can be another way to get people to listen to my music, so I am hopeful that it could happen soon”.

Gus loves gigging and is part of a very successful wedding band. He said, “I am enjoying playing in the wedding band at the moment. I joined the band last year as a money maker on the side of uni, and we are now booked up every Saturday until November”.

In the band, Gus doesn’t play his music; however, he did mention that he likes playing covers of other musician’s songs. “I do enjoy playing covers, though we have had some strange requests for first songs. The other week we had a wedding and were asked to play the Foo Fighters, which was a change”. He continued, “we were also asked to play Peter Gabriel’s Book of Love which is a more common request.”

Our discussion then moved from music to studies. Gus is currently in his second year of Popular Music at Napier University. “I’m finding the course very enjoyable. The lecturers are great, and I feel I am learning lots of new techniques. That’s also how I fell into the wedding band; through my course”.

 

The Future

Gus is sure of his immediate future and has got the next couple of years planned out. “Firstly I want to finish my degree and try to fit in as many gigs as possible while I’m still at uni. I am also keen to work on my music over the next few years, as well as play in the wedding band”.

Gus Harrower,Wonder,Gus,Harrower,Edinburgh,Music,Musician,

Further down the line, Gus is undecided about what to do after university. However, he knows he wants to remain in the music industry. “I want to stay involved in music; I know that for sure. I quite fancy moving away from Edinburgh, possibly down to London for a while”.

He admitted that it is challenging to make it as a musician but, he does have a few ideas. “It’s hard to make it in music; however I am hoping to become a songwriter or session player maybe”.

Regardless of the future, Gus Harrower is aiming to get more of his music onto Spotify. In fact, his fantastic new single “Wonder” is available to download now. You can also purchase Wonder on Apple Music.

You can follow Gus on Facebook here: Gus Harrower Facebook

Piano Man: Billy Joel

Billy Joel Picture

I first came across the music of Billy Joel while on holiday in America. We were driving along the highway, and over the radio Piano Man, possibly Joel’s most successful hit is played. I was a teenager at the time, and I was listening to the usual pop played on UK radio stations. However, it was refreshing to hear smooth and relaxing music that helps you unwind. It was from this moment forward that my love Joel’s music began.

The Early Years

Joel’s father, a German classical pianist, did influence Joel’s music. However, it was, in fact, his mother who insisted he learned to play. He practised the piano alongside Morton Estrin albeit Joel admitted that he was a better organist than a pianist.

The Piano Man

Billy Joel Piano Man AlbumIronically, despite Joel’s adamance that his future lay with the organ, his first major hit was Piano Man. This song explains the lives of the Saturday night customers in a piano bar in Los Angeles. Although the lyrics are very impressive, it was the intro that caught my attention. I would argue that the intro to Piano Man is one of the most recognisable of all time due to its unique blend of instruments. The intro provides fifteen seconds of complete relaxation, which continues throughout the piece.

The easy listening feel of Piano Man has made it one of the old ‘classics’ played by radio stations. However, it’s not the only one of Joel’s songs to have the same effect. ‘She’s Always a Woman’ follows suit and has become a favourite on Smooth Radio, appearing regularly on air and, to be honest, you can understand why. A romantic story, where Joel spends the entirety of the piece picking out the faults of the lady, but instead of letting these annoy him, he responds with the fact that ‘She’s Always a Woman’ in his eyes.

A Man of Many Talents

Billy Joel isn’t only known for relaxing pieces and, in fact, my favourite Joel songs are more upbeat toe-tappers. ‘The Longest Time’, is enjoyable because of the almost barbershop quartet feel. This song is less well-known than some of Joel’s other singles however it did gain some popularity by featuring in American comedy How I Met Your Mother. I enjoy the different vocals on the track, and it is, again, another song which will get you singing.

Only the Good Die Young Album

“Only the Good Die Young,” tells the story of one of Joel’s high school crushes, a Catholic girl called Virginia. The song was highly controversial on its release, with many feeling the song was anti-catholic, however, I disagree. I feel Joel is merely lamenting the fact that he cannot be involved girl whom he is fascinated with, which is something many people can relate to.

The Future

Billy Joel is now, sadly, coming to the end of his long and illustrious musical career. At the age of 68, the New Yorker’s tour this year could well be his last. He won’t be visiting Edinburgh on this tour, unlike in 1979 when he played the Usher Hall, and his only UK gig will be at Old Trafford, home of Manchester United, in June. His gig in Manchester will undoubtedly be a brilliant night as we listen to the greatest hits of a true music legend.

For more information: Billy Joel Website