My name is Sam Blizzard and I am a professional pianist, keyboardist, composer, arranger, music contractor, and music director based in Nashville, TN.
I have years of experience with live music performance and session work, and I have worked with several artists involved in many different genres of music. I have a substantial amount of experience with jazz, contemporary Christian, Gospel, rock, funk, R&B, and pop, among other styles. I specialize in piano, as well as keyboard/synths, and I can provide tracks with any desired sounds. I also can provide services in lead vocals and background vocals.
Since being in Nashville, I have gained a lot of experience as a music contractor and music director. I have many friends in the industry that I reach out to with new projects, who each have a considerable amount of experience with live music performance and session work. Moreover, I have spent lots of time furthering my leadership skills in every group that I am involved in, from my work with country and pop artists to leading my own jazz trio with weekly performances.
Besides spending time refining my skills in the areas mentioned, I have also spent time furthering my skills as a trombone player and gaining experience with YouTube cover recordings as well. Please visit www.samblizzard.com or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more!
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Interview with Sam Blizzard
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I am especially proud of my work on Connor Fiehler's upcoming album release. I played piano and organ tracks for these songs, and I feel that my work on these songs helped with overall enhancement. I added special sounds to these tracks to differentiate these songs from other records that are already released, and I am excited to see these songs release to the public soon.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: I prefer analog because it produces a better sounding recording overall. The resolution is able to expand, as the bandwidth is unlimited, which is what I highly prefer when approaching situations with these.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I am a jazz-influenced musician that is fluent in styles of CCM, rock & roll, country, R&B, pop, and many others. I believe that my history and experience in the field of jazz has strengthened the way that I approach other genres of music overall.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: One music production tip that is especially relevant to the work that I do is getting the pedal sound out of a piano track. There are several ways that people have approached doing this, but I feel that the best way is to use this sound as a selected frequency sound in Logic and remove this throughout the recording. Although that is a very tedious process, it is worth it for enhancing the overall audio quality of the song.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I can bring many unique ideas to a song. Whether it is through special sounds or musical ideas, I feel that I can bring distinctive ideas to a song. I have spent lots of time perfecting my skills, as well as learning how to best approach any type of song, and my large amount of experience with this in the past has set me up for success in the future with whatever type of song I am introduced to.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: The biggest misconception regarding part of what I do is that studio instrumentalists and musicians who play on tracks for records do not have the ability to put on a show when it comes to live playing. I feel that I can entertain crowds in a special way, as I have lots of experience doing so. I have used feedback with my live playing in the past to grow in this area and feel that I can both play and entertain at a high level when in a live performance setting.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: I would bring my Nord Stage 3 keyboard, my Volt 476 Audio Interface, my Roland KC80 keyboard amplifier, my Audio-Technica headphones, and my Alclair Studio4 IEMs with me. These are extremely beneficial with my ability to play tracks and play live for others.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started playing piano when I was in first grade and also picked up trombone in high school. My competitive nature started to strengthen when I was in middle school and high school, as I played in many piano and trombone contests, and my desire to win was "unmatched", according to those around me. After graduating high school, I decided to move to Nashville, TN and study Commercial Piano at Belmont University. I just finished my sophomore year there and am perfecting my skills to be experienced and ready to play for any project that comes my way. My involvement in the school's top ensembles, local churches around Nashville, and accompanying artists around the city has grown my ability to adapt quickly and effectively for every new project that I am introduced to.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I would like to work with Cory Wong. I love the work that he has done in the past and admire his enjoyment of music. I feel that we would both get along very well and work well together. I thoroughly enjoy his music and feel that I can add a lot of new layers to his music.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I normally work on country, pop, and R&B music. My history with jazz in the past has prepared me to bring special techniques and ideas to these styles and I feel that I have mastered each of these three genres of music.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: My strongest skill is my ability to hear a song and find ways to bring unique ideas to it in an appropriate manner. Because of my years of ear training, I can easily pick up the key and style of a song, and my experience with playing for so many others in the past has prepared me to find special ways to strengthen the overall sound of a song with my piano and keyboard skills.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I am working on two projects for artists that I consistently play for. One is a large recording project that I am working on - this particular artist is working on their album and has asked me to record piano and keyboard tracks on each song. I am also spending time practicing for a few upcoming live performances with artists in the CCM, country, and rock fields.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: I am good friends with Connor Fiehler and would highly recommend him for any guitar tracks or live performances.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I really enjoy challenging myself with different sounds and ways that I can record over a specific song. Because I have a large background with jazz, I feel comfortable with my piano skills enough to record things, but like to challenge myself with unique sounds that I can bring to any song. I thoroughly enjoy seeing where I can take a song in an appropriate way.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: One of the questions that I am asked the most from customers involves whether I can play in a really unique style of music, in addition to the hours I spend playing jazz, country, CCM, and others. I am comfortable with learning how to play in many different styles, and I believe my knowledge in so many different genres prepares me to approach new styles in a strong and confident way.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: I am always searching for how I can best serve a client with my services. I want to be challenged in everything that I do, and I want my work to be reflective of exactly what the client is looking for. Thus, I normally ask prospective clients what music I can study to best suit their style and what exactly they are looking for (keyboard tracks, piano tracks, music contracting for other musicians, etc.).
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: I believe that it is of upmost importance, when looking for someone to play for your projects (live or recorded), to find someone who has a strong work ethic, is personable, and has vast experience in the industry through previous training and work. I believe that finding others who are easy to work with is crucial to making music sound at the highest quality possible. I have spent years perfecting my craft, and I believe that I have a very strong work ethic and ability to communicate easily and personably with others.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: My typical work process involves starting a new project in the morning, spending about an hour or two studying the song or album that I am working on and other songs by that same artist or similar artists. I take a short break to refresh my mind and return to the job, starting to chart out each song and program sounds into my Nord with what would sound appropriate to the song. After taking another short break, I come back and start recording tracks that I can send to an artist. I spend another couple of hours editing and perfecting these tracks so that they could potentially be used on the song if the artist or producer likes them. I send these tracks to the artist to get feedback and edit any tracks as necessary with the feedback that I get.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: After recording for so many different artists, I have grown my studio setup and now have everything that it takes to create a great sounding track. I have a Nord Stage 3 88-key keyboard, a Universal Audio Volt 476 Audio Interface, Audio-Technica ATH-M40x Closed-back Studio Monitoring Headphones, and Alclair Studio4 Quad Drivers. Each of these play a key role in producing the great sounds that I have used in the past.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Garth Brooks, Elvis Presley, Bernie Herms, and Brandon Bagby are a few musicians who inspire me and the way that I approach my career field. Each of these musicians strive to be the best that they can be, which is very inspirational to the way that I approach my own music. I also am learning from their mistakes and trying to use their examples as models for how I can grow in my own career path.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: The most common type of work that I do for my clients is live and session work for several artists. After spending years meeting artists involved in many different styles of music, I have grown in each of these styles and strive to perfect each style that I play with. I promise every artist that I play for that I will strive to perfect their sound and do whatever it takes to support them as one of their musicians.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I will provide tracks that significantly enhance your recordings and will come prepared to ensure that any live performance goes exactly how you desire. I take all advice that I receive to heart and I strive to sound as good as possible at all times, as every moment matters to me.