As an amateur musician and aspiring singer/songwriter for most of my adult life, self-taught on both the piano and guitar, words cannot begin to describe the immense personal satisfaction in seeing an original song come to life in the studio, and develop into something that people enjoy listening to. I didn't get to really experience that until my children talked me into recording a whole album in a professional studio in 2016, at the tender age of 59. Now, with the release of my third album in as many years, I've continued my efforts to hone my abilities as a songwriter, musician and vocalist, while bringing it all together with some really talented musicians in the studio.
My own musical roots sprouted in the Lower Hudson Valley of New York, when I was in grade school. I sang in the school chorus from the 4th thru the 8th grade and took drum lessons in the 4th grade. My parents didn’t have the money to buy me a set of drums though so, after playing the bass drum for two years in the school band, I lost interest. When I was around eight years-old, I was at a friend’s house and, while waiting for him to finish his dinner, I sat down at the grand piano in their living room. There was a music book lying open to a tune I recognized and, though I couldn’t read a stitch of music, I began playing the song. My friend’s mother came running in and said, “Wayne, I didn’t t know you played the piano.” I said, “Neither did I.” I guess that’s what “playing by ear” means. I wouldn’t play piano again until I was given a hand-me-down upright in 1980. From there, I set out to master as much Elton John and Billy Joel material as I could.
Meanwhile, in 1977, I was living alone, having moved to the San Francisco Bay Area for a job. To pass the time during off-hours, I bought myself an acoustic guitar and taught myself enough chords to get by, playing songs by The Beatles, James Taylor, Gordon Lightfoot, Jackson Browne, The Eagles and many more. What I really wanted to do was sing, so the guitar served as my accompaniment until I got that hand-me-down piano. I didn’t pick up a guitar again until I started work in the studio in 2016. All my initial songwriting was done on the piano. I wrote my first song in 1988. Today, I use both instruments to craft my songs.