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Artist Story: How Christian Spelz discovered his signature sound

Piano virtuoso Christian Spelz has been playing his instrument since he was six years old. He was particularly influenced by the music of Rachmaninoff and the great masters: Beethoven, Mozart and Bach. But when he hears Keith Jarrett, The Köln Concert for the first time, it becomes clear to him where the journey is going. With his music, Christian Spelz succeeds in creating a mood that sounds melancholic and hopeful at the same time and combines these two opposites in a special way.

Published on
April 6, 2023

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What's your band/artist name? Can you tell us a little bit about you and your career/projects so far?

Christian Spelz I've been playing the piano since I was 6 years old. Later I learned to play guitar as well. Since then I have played in many bands and projects: Progressive rock, acoustic pop, jam sessions. Although I've always composed pieces on the piano, it's only in the last few years that I've really taken to the stage with my solo piano pieces.

How did you get into music and what were/are your influences?

Classical piano lessons were a good foundation, also for music theory, polyphonic playing and just getting to know great music: Beethoven, Mozart, Bach. I still find the music of Rachmaninoff particularly formative: virtuosic, difficult and somehow inspiring at the same time. When I heard Keith Jarrett, The Köln Concert, for the first time as a teenager, I felt quite differently. That freedom in playing, the melodies in the right hand and the driving rhythm in the left. You can listen to his music a hundred times and always discover something new. Or you can just sit back and enjoy. Yes, Keith Jarrett is THE big musical influence for me. I saw him live twice, once in my hometown Essen and the first time in Paris.

Which partners or artists have inspired/accompanied you on your path and how?

All the musicians you play with influence you. Every instrument you play on, every room it's in can be inspiring. Among the well-known artists, the following are particularly important to me at the moment: Hania Rani, Nils Frahm, Ólafur Arnalds, Mammal Hands, Svaneborg Kardyb, Esbjörn Svennson, Grandbrothers.

How would you describe your music or sound?

My music somehow seems to manage to be melancholic and hopeful at the same time. A basic mood that is actually very beautiful, but seems contradictory in words at first. Music can overcome this contradiction. That's why my first album is also called BE POLAR: There are always two poles that are opposite each other and yet are connected in a special way and can also harmonize.

What has been the most formative experience in your career so far?

I can't name the ONE experience. What pleases me most is when people tell me after a performance that (or how) my music touched them and they take that feeling home with them. That is the essential meaning of music: to touch the soul. When you succeed in doing that, you can only be grateful.

Can you tell us about highs and lows of your music career so far and what you've learnt from it?

I can't really name any lows. In phases when it was "musically quiet" in my life, that was mostly okay for me. With music, it's always sometimes quieter and sometimes more intense. At the moment it's going very well and I would be happy if I could go much further on the way up.

How did you hear about MusicHub and why did you choose our platform to distribute your music?

As a member of GEMA, you can publish on MusicHub conveniently and currently for free. I like to use that and am very satisfied with the support so far.

Tell us more about your latest MusicHub release.

I released ENNO in February. There's a music video for the song on YouTube that I got to shoot at the Pantheon Theater in Bonn, which is a beautiful location. "ENNO" is the name of the wooden moose that my little son likes to pull behind him. That's how the title for the song came about. The release from 03/31/2023 is called ABOVE THE SEA, it's a very calm, floating soulful piano song in neoclassical style. I hope to get on the many quiet playlists of streaming platforms ("calm piano", "piano for studying" etc.) with it, because the song fits very well with that.

What goals do you still want to achieve? What are your plans for the future?

To reach more people live and on streaming platforms. So: play more live and get on the playlists of Spotify & Co. :-) Also, I would like to record an album on LP in the future. A record with a nice cover and my own music, that would be a dream.

Which instruments, devices, plugins or tools do you prefer to use?

Real piano or grand piano. On the computer: VST plugin NOIRE by Native Instruments: a sampled grand piano by Nils Frahm, which also offers great - new - effects, e.g. you can hear it on my new release ABOVE THE SEA. For live playing, I like to take my NORD with me when no piano or grand piano is available. I use a version with only 61 keys, which can be transported on the back with the bicycle if necessary. The sound and the touch dynamics are excellent.

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