Chloe Flower on: life as a pianist in quarantine

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By Ellie Palmer

22 April 2020

We continue our series on life as a pianist in quarantine as we chat to Chloe Flower, who was been giving free piano lessons online

Chloe, we have to ask, how are you doing?

I am doing great, especially for having only left my apartment 2 times in the last 5-6 weeks (I’ve lost count).

We hope your piano is keeping you company while you are inside! What have you been doing these last few weeks?

My pianos are my babies. I actually have three acoustic pianos in my apartment and one keyboard, so it is certainly a full house. During this time, I’ve actually been extremely busy, busier than ever really. Most of my time is spent finishing up my album and all the other time I have I spend thinking of new and creative ways to engage with my audience digitally.

When the quarantine started in NYC, I committed to making one new piano lesson every 14 days. I knew that this could be an important time for music education and music therapy, given people from all over the world were confined to their homes. Although it was extremely time consuming (I was recording and editing everything myself), it was equally gratifying and I learned a lot too. And every tutorial is based off of audience requests, so I ended up teaching a variety of levels. As long as you have an iPad, anyone can participate.

Check out the first piano lesson in the series below.

Have you been getting lots of positive responses about your lessons?

I have! I received hundreds of videos of people from all around the world learning how to play, from young toddlers all the way up to grandparents. It was so inspiring to see people from so many different cultures, religions, and countries using music to help them through this very difficult and stressful time.

Music has such a healing power, so as we heal ourselves and our planet during this pandemic, having access to the arts is critical. 

Do you have any more online projects in the works for us over the coming weeks?

Absolutely. I have already been posting peaceful and relaxing piano covers, similar to my Instagram posts, on my YouTube page.

Again, just taking requests from my audience and writing arrangements (as quickly as I can) on those requests. It’s not just another way to engage with my audience, but also a way to communicate positivity to anyone who needs it.

I am not in any of the videos because I wanted people to have an option to hear me play relaxing piano music continuously in the background. I’m using music’s physiological properties like medicine, in this case, for mental health. So you won’t see any couture in my pandemic posts!

 

We hear through the grapevine you have a new album coming out soon… What can you tell us about it?

Chloe Flower © Sony Masterworks

I do! I am so excited, I feel like I’ve been waiting my whole life to release an album. I have been working closely with my incredible label, Sony Masterworks, and my long-time producer, Babyface, on creating a sound that is not only inspiring, but very unique.

Because I am an instrumentalist as opposed to a singer, it’s harder to achieve a “unique” sound. But I have a sensitive but very strong personality, so you can definitely hear it in my music. Ultimately, I want people to hear my music and say, “Oh that’s definitely Chloe Flower.”

 

We also heard you recorded the entire album on your Steinway Spirio r. Why did you choose this model?

I was one of the first, if not the first, person to have the newest Steinway Spirio |r Model B piano. Obviously when the piano was delivered in August, I did not see the coronavirus coming, I just wanted to have the option of recording music in my home.

As beautiful and special as Liberace’s glass touring piano is (currently on loan to me by the Liberace Foundation and Estate), it does not have the same technology as the Spirio | r. No piano does. This incredible instrument saved my musical life during this pandemic. It is truly a remarkable combination of the highest quality craftsmanship coupled with revolutionary technology. I am able to record my music in my home studio and transfer the high quality recordings directly onto my computer with a USB drive.

Steinway's Spirio Model B. © Steinway & Sons

Under normal circumstances, I would have sent Jon Feidner, the amazing Director of Music and Media at Steinway, my files to re-record in their NYC showroom and concert hall. But because of social distancing, there is currently no safe (or moral-for that matter) way to do that.

Luckily, the Spirio|r is still able to capture most nuanced and sensitive passages from my own home, which means I can social distance and deliver my album on time. And now, thanks to Steinway & Sons, I can add engineer to my resumé since I was able to engineer my album from my NYC apartment!

 

What’s the first thing you want to do when all of this is over?

I’ve been asked this question many times. Honestly, the day after quarantine is lifted, I will most likely be here in my home studio writing and working. As flashy as I look during performances, I am very much a homebody and workaholic. But one thing I cannot wait to do when social distancing is over is reschedule my live performances that have been cancelled or postponed.

As wonderful as technology is for music streaming, especially for the sometimes inaccessible classical music genre, there is no comparison to the electric energy of a live performance. I’m very eager to start touring and share my vibration with my audience and feel their energy as I perform for them. There is no substitution for that.

Follow Chloe on Instagram to be the first to hear about her new album.

Main image: © Chloe Flower