I am a pianist, session musician, producer and arranger with many years of experience as a professional musician able to play music in all genres.
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Interview with Gilly Bean
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I co wrote and played on a track called "I Don't Know Why" an afro house track with David Anthony and Beverlei Brown. It reached No 1 on the afro house chart and Black Coffee played it to open his Mixmag Spiritual DJ set in 2015.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: On the personal front I am collaborating with several musician/singer friends of mine to create an album due for release on 22.02.22 which is great. I am also working on a song for a client who is celebrating her daughter and writing a song about her. It's very beautiful.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Nacho De La Riega is a wonderful mastering engineer, he mastered my album for me and is a super helpful guy with fantastic results if you are looking for a more analogue feel to your masters. Kuyano is also a fabulous mastering engineer with a more Digital feel which was perfect for a single I released last month, amazing to work with and really helpful as well. I highly recommend both of these amazing Master geniuses.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Digital is very useful, it can cross platforms and easily export what had been created to another person co create. So for speed efficiency Digital. And at the same time, a real piano, a really good piano is the best thing - the communication we share is so wonderful and deeply expressive about the real thing.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I will put my heart and soul into your project when I am working on it for you. I love to create joy as much as possible and that is why I am here serving as a musician.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Being creative and doing what I love, so many people live lives doing what they have to do instead of what they love to do.I am so grateful that my passion for music is also what brings the money in as well.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: How long will this piano song take? I can usually turnaround in a couple of days.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That it's just fun, it is way deeper than that for me. Music is such a massive part of what makes me get out of bed everyday. It has literally shaped my life.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What is your project for? Is there a specific time frame for what you are creating? Are there any styles you are interested in me bringing into this recording for you?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: I love clear communication, being able to hear exactly what you need so I can provide it for you is so helpful.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My Mac - got everything on there DAWwise! A lovely Bosendorfer Grand would be pretty amazing. Playing a real top notch piano is the best. My electric piano so I could still connect up to the Mac and record. My Stealth Mic - it is so wonderful to record vocals on for me. My Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro Headphones.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I began playing piano at four years of age. I'm self taught with a 10K repertoire and I have been playing gigs since I was sixteen with a career spanning almost four decades. The piano has taken me in so many different directions, playing bars, restaurants, hotels, ships, weddings, funerals, hospitals and festivals. I began music production 17 years ago and it has become a big part of my life as well. I have been a session musician for 10 years and play on quite a lot of house music tracks but I love being able to play on almost any genre you need.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Warm, fat chords, percussive when required, flowing and comforting when needed. Emotional, connective. Heart centred playing.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: My dream would be Stevie Wonder or Jacob Collier, their depth of harmony and arrangement are so amazing and I love the musical richness of all they create.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: If you are playing more than one piano part on a piece, sometimes it's good pan them in slightly different places so they surround the listener and all the details are heard clearly.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Whatever musically comes in. My ability to play in many genres means my work is greatly varied. I really love that because no two days are the same. The only genres I won't play are classical and heavy rock. Everything else I am open to playing and creating.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: My piano playing. It comes from my heart and I feel such a deep connection to music. Music is the language of the soul and I feel I communicate that deeply when I am on the keys.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: My heart and soul, I truly love music and feel so grateful it is such a big part of my life. My vast experience as a musician playing in so many different genres. My intuitive ability to know what is musically needed. My understanding of the brief and my willingness to make this song really special for you. My attention to detail.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I hear the piece of music that is needing to be covered and start to play it, I have perfect pitch so music makes sense to me the minute I hear it, like reading a book and knowing the words. Then I go more in depth and find the character of what I am being asked to create and bring it to life. I enjoy being asked to write music and playing sessions on new music. It's always a joy when something is flowing creatively and becoming a wonderful new song for people to hear.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I run Presonus Studio One Five, I also run Reason 11 I have an 88 note electric piano running through the audio interface and a vast array of piano sounds I can work with.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I love the expressiveness of Niels Frahm, The soulfulness of Luther Vandross, The crisp clearness of DeadMau5
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I am a live streamer and a pianist with many years of experience playing piano covers. I am often asked to create YouTube covers for channels. I am also asked to add to arrangements or do session work for music producers. My repertoire is vast and I can put a really great arrangement into a well known piece of music and give it new life, or I can do a carbon copy of the original, though it's great fun being creative with pieces of music that are well known and giving them a different feel.