Pianist Morgan-Paige Melbourne shares insights on her relationship with the piano, how she approaches composing and what’s she’s been doing during the pandemic. She’s currently working on Where Do I Go?, a new short film intertwining piano, contemporary dance and spoken word.
What do you love about the piano?
The piano has always been another voice for me. Even from a really young age I was just drawn to it; we had a piano that was given to us by one of our church members. Whenever I feel like I can’t say what is on my mind, playing the piano just feels right; it’s how I express myself!
Where do you search for inspiration when approaching a new composition?
There’s always some soul searching involved in composing! I find inspiration from what I’m experiencing emotionally, or what’s around me. I’m really passionate about social justice issues and that’s something I like to draw from.
I also love listening to rock and heavy metal because of the way they implement their minor and tonal structures. It’s so beautiful! I love the lyricism of neo-soul and R&B – I try my best to add a little bit of what I love, but also still make it something that’s my own.
What excites you about collaborating with dance artists on this project?
A dancer doesn’t think in the way a musician does, and a musician doesn’t think in the way a dancer does. How we approach music or symbolism is so different!
We’re asking questions like how are we going to play off the themes? How are we going to bounce off each other’s emotions? What can we see, what can we hear? It’s very sensory, and it really amplifies the fact that you can experience music in so many different ways and in so many visual representations.
What artists are you listening to at the moment?
Recently I’ve been listening to neo-soul artists like Jordan Rakei. He infuses 70s funk and soulful gospel, but it’s still secular music. The harmonic structure of it is absolutely divine, I love the way he plays around with vocal harmonies on top of music.
I grew up listening to bands like Red and Skillet – a lot of it is very symphonic. I like the connection between classical and rock music, the structures and formats are similar with vocalizations on top.
Have you been doing much performing online?
Absolutely! The pandemic has given me more time to work on things that I haven’t been able to do in so long. I’m actually really grateful for the time to focus on different projects.
I’ve released an EP as well as an album and I’ve worked a lot with my sibling too, we’ve been producing videos. I’ve also spent time just experimenting with different things, even doing digital collaborations with musicians overseas, expanding the network!
It’s actually been amazing to see the innovation that’s come out of all of this.
Morgan-Paige Melbourne stars in Where Do I Go?, a stunning short film intertwining piano and dance, premiering March 27.