As a 12-year old kid living in a small town in Switzerland, I had just about no interest in music until the day I heard Stevie Wonder sing, “Isn’t She Lovely.”
I remember was thinking, “What is this!? What am I hearing?” All I knew was, everything I was hearing grabbed me and spoke to me like nothing I’d ever heard before and I wanted more. More Stevie, more of whatever this was I was experiencing. So, like hundreds of thousands of people around the world, I got my copy of Songs in the Key of Life. I listened intently. I listened over and over and over again. I started imitating what I was hearing. Without a doubt, I know that it was listening to Songs in the Key of Life that birthed my first attempts at composing music.
First Piano, First Lessons
I remained self-taught for several years. Thankfully, my parents acknowledged my passion and encouraged me to pursue my passion. First, they bought me a Fender Rhodes piano. The same one you see in the picture with my original Stevie Wonder sticker still stuck on it! Then, they enrolled me in classical piano lessons. Their support and my dedication paid off, and I ended up being accepted into the Berklee College of Music. It was a long road and a long way from the small town of Weiningen, where I grew up, and it started with one song.
To this day, Stevie Wonder is still an inspiration, and Songs in the Key of Life remains my all-time favorite album. And, I can claim “Isn’t She Lovely” as my first musical love. It is amazing how one moment, one song, became a defining moment in my life.
If you’re a parent . . . please encourage your children to honor what speaks to them. If you’re an adult, give the child in you permission to do the same.