When people hear of young musicians, they often think of teenagers or twentysomethings stuck in a garage, imitating their heroes as they bash away on a guitar or drums.
But garage bands are just one type of musicians hoping for a break.
Someone who destroys that image is 25-year-old Kevin Bluemel, a Salt Lake City native who graduated from Granite High and now lives in West Valley City.
Bluemel is a contemporary instrumental composer who can’t be pigeonholded as simply a new-age composer, with all of the negative connotations the term new-age conjures.
In 2010, he released his first professional, self-titled album, and earlier this year, he followed up with “Uncharted,” which shows an evolution of his sound and a maturity only hinted at on his debut.
NewAgeMusicWorld.com, an international music blog, reviewed “Uncharted” and raved that Bluemel was an “exceptional independent artist with a rare talent as a composing pianist.” The review continued: “Eight years in the making, you can tell these songs are skillfully composed ... in a distinctly original style, best described as classic piano and electronic instrumental music reminiscent to artists like Vangelis, Yanni and Hans Zimmer.”
Bluemel, who began learning how to play the piano by ear at the age of 3, answered questions posed about his new album, grunge, and Franz Liszt.
Why did you decide to become a musician?
I love what music is capable of. Music gives me the ability to express and communicate emotion that otherwise could not be expressed in words. I want to connect with people. I would like to think that music allows me to do that in some small way.
Tell me what you wanted to do with “Uncharted.”
I believe that people hide from their feelings. In such a busy world, we forget to relax and take time to acknowledge the beauty of life. It seems everything around us is designed to suppress emotion or give fake highs. “With Uncharted,” I wanted to dive into some of these deeper emotions that often get overlooked by the fast pace of life.
What inspires you?
I once heard a saying that a man who cannot enjoy a sunset will be a very unhappy man. This quote is very true and applicable to how inspiration works for me. I believe we can find beauty and inspiration in our everyday surroundings, whether it be found in nature, our experiences, or emotions.
What are some of your highlights as a musician?
There have been many experiences which I treasure. Some of my more fond experiences are opening for Jon Schmidt at 17, or being able to receive useful feedback from David Lanz when I was first learning to compose. Other highlights, while more simple, are equally as enjoyable, such as writing a new song or playing on a finely tuned nine-foot Yamaha concert grand piano.
If you were a grunge band from the early 1990s, whom would you be?
I can’t say I have listened to much grunge, but my friends assure me that Nirvana would be a good answer.
When people ask you to describe your sound, what do you say?
It is a complex sound that has evolved from many different genres. Most people would classify it as new age. I like to call it contemporary instrumental. My sound really touches on a couple of different categories which can include movie soundtracks, new-age instrumental, or even hints of pop or classical. The music is typically orchestral with a strong emphasis on piano. It is really hard to classify it as just one type of sound, as creativity is not limited by genre boundaries.
Describe a perfect day.
I am pretty boring when it comes to what my perfect day would consist of. If not performing in front of an audience, my perfect day would be very simple. In an ideal day, I would wake up in the morning, work out, and go for a swim. I would then sit down and practice some Franz Liszt for a few hours to build technical ability and dexterity. After lunch, I would return to the studio and work on writing and recording a new song. Later in the evening, I would take a break to enjoy my living planted aquarium and a nice relaxing night.
What would you name the offspring of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, and why?
If I were to take notes from Beyonce or Jay-Z, then any type of descriptor or nature name would work. Maybe Jingle Bells?
People can find Kevin Bluemel’s music on his website at www.kevinbluemel.com, Amazon, iTunes, CD Baby, Spotify and Pandora.