INTERVIEW WITH BADER SOMA
New York Piano Group | February 2018
In a short span of time, Bader Soma, a Lebanese-Canadian pianist, has released his first studio album, EntheoGenesis, featuring his own compositions. He took up piano while living in Brazil six years ago. Ever since, he has been playing and composing by ear. He cites Ludovico Einaudi and Yann Tiersen as his greatest influences. He derives his musical inspiration from his life experiences, his spiritual journey, and his travels.
Bader's debut album, EntheoGenesis, which means "the awakening of the Divine within," was born out of his passion for music and the piano. He embarked on his North American album tour this year with a grand opening in his hometown of Montréal, followed by stops in Toronto, New York City, Ottawa, and Philadelphia. He will play at Michiko Studios in the heart of Times Square, New York City on Saturday, February 3, 2018.
"I somehow find a scale which I like and then I play it. Naturally, a melody emerges. It then ceaselessly and incessantly plays in my head until I give it birth and complete the song."
I see that you have travelled and lived in various places. Where are you currently based and what brought you there?
I am currently based in Montréal. I visited for the first time in 2011, and I fell in love with the city. So, I decided to move here a year and a half later. I love the mixture of Europe and North America, French and English, and the artistic, Bohemian vibe of Montréal.
You have embarked on your North American album tour this year. How are the concerts going so far and what do you wish to achieve with this tour?
The concerts have gone very well so far, with great attendance and appreciation. We had a grand opening in Montréal, followed by an exceptional concert in Toronto. I wish to get my name out there and share my music and emotions with a wider audience. Furthermore, Piano Paradiso is a unique experience which mixes several genres of music together, all solo piano performances.
When did you start piano and how did you get started?
Six years ago, I was teaching English at a school in Brazil. There was a piano in the hall. I felt drawn to play it. In between lessons, I would go and just play whatever came to my mind. I felt in the flow, and I fell in love with the piano. It was the first time I had access to a piano on a daily basis. I started composing right away. I was inspired by my beautiful adventures in Brazil. It was as if I went to Brazil just to learn the piano.
It seems like you were at the right place at the right time. Do you have any influences and mentors who have helped you to develop your piano skills?
My biggest inspiration is Italian pianist Ludovico Einaudi, followed by French pianist Yann Tiersen. I am self-taught and have had no mentors.
As a self-taught pianist, do you also read music, or do you play mostly by ear?
I do not read music. I memorize all the music and play by ear.
Can you tell us about your latest album, ‘EntheoGenesis?' What does ‘EntheoGenesis’ mean?
EntheoGenesis means “the awakening of the Divine within.” It was influenced by my experiences and spiritual journey over four years. It reflects all the emotions I felt which I could not put in words, so I expressed myself using the universal language of music. It is very personal, alluding to things like places I have lived, my favourite activities, a past lover, and the experience of spiritual illumination. When I was recording the album, I didn’t have much time because I was travelling. The whole album was miraculously recorded in four hours, except for High Renaissance, which was recorded earlier and kept because it was totally improvised.
You have composed all the tracks on your CD. Does composing come naturally to you? What inspires you to compose?
Yes, it is very natural and spontaneous. I am inspired by travelling, love, new experiences, people, and deep states of meditation.
Can you take us through your process of creating a composition?
I somehow find a scale which I like and then I play it. Naturally, a melody emerges. It then ceaselessly and incessantly plays in my head until I give it birth and complete the song.
How would you describe your music in terms of style, genre, etc.?
It’s neo-classical or new age as far as genres go. It’s contemplative, relaxing, meditative music. It’s often nostalgic, whimsical, and captivating, with sensitive coloring and expressive phrasing.
Aside from piano, what are some activities that you enjoy?
I love travelling, yoga, meditation, reading, and deep conversations.
What is your typical day like?
I start my day with a combination of yoga, meditation, exercise, and chanting/prayer. Then, I have a tea while planning my day. I play piano in public almost everyday, as well as read for a couple of hours. I also make time to see friends and go to events.
What else do you besides piano?
I am a life coach as well. I really enjoy helping people live the best and highest quality life. Learning about life, health, happiness, love, and peace of mind has been my passion ever since I was a teenager. Therefore, it was natural that I would eventually share my knowledge and experience with others.
Do you have any advice to give to those who aspire to become a musician?
Just play with your heart! Also, playing regularly in front of an audience is essential for sharing your gift and passion, as well as building confidence.
Do you have any current or future project you would like to share?
Yes. I am currently working on my second album “As Above, So Below.” I am aiming to release it in the fall.
Bader Soma performs on Saturday, February 3, 2018 at Michiko Studios. For tickets, click here. Follow Bader Soma on Facebook by clicking here. His CD can be purchased here.