Commercials or hit songs, Jim Brickman is comfortable penning both.
In fact, ask the most charted male adult contemporary musician, and he’ll tell you coming up with fodder for jingles for a burger chain or air freshener is no different than writing an album.
“I’m really, at the core of it, a songwriter more than anything,” said Brickman, who spent several years coming up with the next earworms for household name products before getting rotation on radio stations with his love songs.
However, he’s quick to note that it was a career he loved and never treated as a stepping stone to making it big with records.
“You’re writing songs (for commercials). They just happen to be 30 seconds instead of about love or breaking up. While the content is different, the craft is the same,” he said.
“All original music is about that emotional connection. Whether that connection is intended to be bright, comforting, romantic or harsh, at the core, it’s about connecting emotionally.”
If anything, writing the musical interludes that convinced us to buy a certain bug spray gave him the chance to try his hand at many musical genres and get to know the idiosyncrasies of studio life - something that often eludes aspiring musical acts toiling in their garage or basement.
“One day, I’d get to write a country song and the next, it’s rock and roll,” Brickman explained. “You get to dabble in all kinds of things.”
Brickman will be doing that at the Centre for the Arts on Jan. 31 when the Cleveland-born crooner returns to Canada for the first time in about 10 years.
He’s coming on his Love Tour, promoting his Love album, which is sold exclusively in Target stores.
Like the much loved album, his enchanting shows also include a mix of covers and original music performed on the ivories.
This Grammy-nominated piano sensation has collaborated with the likes of Lady Antebellum, Martina McBride and Olivia Newton-John.And The Love Tour brings along Canadian singer-songwriter Luke McMaster, one half of the hit duo McMaster and James, with whom Brickman shares the hit song “Good Morning Beautiful.”
McMaster experienced the rock star life of studios, videos and touring from a young age. From Chantal Kreviazuk to Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera, McMaster cut his teeth with some of the biggest acts of the day.
After McMaster and James ran its course, his natural gift for songwriting led him to Toronto, New York and L.A. to work with a wide variety of international talent including Rihanna and Nick Lachey.
McMaster gained critical experience behind the studio walls as he figured out what his next move would be … which has brought him back to his true passion, performing. The best of both of worlds inevitably collided.
A long time fan of Brickman, the two were introduced through their mutual friend, acclaimed singer-songwriter Marc Jordan.
“Jim Brickman and I met at such a fortuitous time. He was starting a new record, and, being an instrumentalist, he’s always looking for up and coming singers to collaborate with. I was such a fan of how he helped develop artists like Lady Antebellum and was so excited to work with Jim… I knew we could do something incredible,” said McMaster.
The two got together between one of Brickman’s sound checks and performances, and “Good Morning Beautiful” was born.
“We knew we had something special right away,” said Brickman when asked about the song. “It was such an obvious single and worked so perfectly for both of our albums. It was effortless for us to write it, which usually means it was meant to be”.
The show will feature both musicians sharing the stage and music, performing together and solo on the piano.
Brickman is known for his hits, including “Valentine,” “If You Believe” and “Love of My Life,” but also for his engaging performances. “To me, it’s the overall experience. There should be lots of storytelling and laughter. It will be funny, charming, beautiful, comforting…,” Brickman said.
“It’s always very lighthearted,” Brickman said. “It’s not a piano recital by any means. I think sometimes people hear solo piano and think it’s a soft and quiet recital…and it’s not.”
For tickets and more information please visit the Centre for the Arts online or call the box office at 905-688-5550 x3257.
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Brickman Fast Facts
•7 million records sold
•14 Top 10 Billboard radio hits
•Two Grammy nominations
•Two SESAC Songwriter of the Year
•Dove Award winner
•Canadian Country Music Award winner