Louis Lounge

I've been doing some thinking, amongst everything that I'm actively trying to breathe life into and thought:
Who is Louis Vaspar?

BEFORE I CONTINUE:

So everything I am going to say next may seem all over the place, but these points are both valid and coherent.
Okay? Okay.

What's on my mind?

I have been confronted with the possibilities of what kind of sound I bring and what my niche would be. I've always wanted to be a Classical Musician...but it's not at all valued coming from me. The problem is that I am so hung up on the racial optics and the prestige of being a Black classical pianist because there aren't any prominent figures to speak of (and Andre Watts doesn't count, he's biracial, fucking stop it.) I always thought that I could carry on the legacies of Quincy Jones, Nina Simone, Art Tatum and be great and remembered like them. I still want that, but where do I really fit?

Unfortunately, I might not be amongst the great Black musicians of a past lifetime, but I find that my sensibilities are rather lighter in tone. I can be great, and Black, but I find that I would also be more in-line of the likes of Sergio Mendes or João Gilberto. In terms of Black artistry, I'm a Dionne Warwick, rather than an Aretha Franklin.

Fuck. Listen, I don't appeal to my own demographic! Trust me, race has everything to do with what I'm saying. I hate that I had to bring it here, but the reason it's a staple is because the "confrontation" (when I use this word, I don't mean "hostile" but rather "pointed" if you get what I'm saying) came mostly from White people who are curious about who I am supposed to be.

The Race Angle

I have met people from London, Manchester, Boston, Chicago, and Toronto and every last one of them didn't look like me...but they took an interest in me. Why? Because I lead in with Classical pianist. Why? because it's kind of a showstopper, they hear it and immediately assess that 1) I'm Black and 2) Classical piano?! They're not used to that kind of association. As opposed to saying "I'm a jazz pianist", then of course it wouldn't be so hard to believe. It's essential to say "Classical" at all costs, because it gets the intrigue. But I'm not regarded as a Classical musician because of my versatility; If I play anything outside of Classical then the claim is no longer valued, and it happens all the time. I could play Bach and Chopin all day but if I do anything out of that realm, I'm now an artist of that particular genre (recently, I got R&B for the first time) because it's easier to assimilate and categorize.

I remember going to a meeting last month with a good friend and her husband, and her husband kept making this remark toward the end to me that rubbed me the wrong way every time he said it. He said something along the lines of "[What you did was] WAY different that Classical" regarding a performance I did last year. The part that bothered me first was his blatant disregard of me already explaining earlier on that I also perform other genres; namely Samba and Soul. For some reason he must've forgot that I mentioned this tidbit because he continued to bring up that same remark another two times. He is White. He saw for himself that I played Classics as well as a few of my originals and some covers (there's a backstory to this btw) and somehow only focused on the covers (Alicia Keys, Sergio Mendes, and Nina Simone). This is all very important because it cross-references my earlier statements: I appeal to mainly White audiences, and If I play anything outside of Classical (my lead-in), it's no longer valued and I am reassigned into another genre.

The NEW Marketing Strategy

Which brings me back to the beginning, who is Louis Vaspar? How do I market myself? I can't strictly say I'm a Classical pianist, because I'm held to it (until I decide to switch it up, then I'm suddenly something else and only that). I am versatile, but then I'm only allowed to be one thing. SO I have decided how to market myself: I am a Lounge musician.

According to the components of Lounge, it blends Bossa Nova, Jazz, Exotica, Cha-Cha-Cha, Big Band, and Mambo (there's a couple of other genres but I'm just going to stop there) and it's a perfect representation of what I do. I always tell people "Samba" as an umbrella term although Bossa Nova is more in  line with my work because I want to avoid "Jazz". I love Jazz but the assumptions are what I want to get away from, and yes, being Black plays into it every time. It's happened enough times for me to realize that I don't want to be easy to categorize, I want to stand out. In this climate of all these overnight celebrities doing the same kind of music, I want to be that "fresh rebirth" of an era. I want to be sexy, but with a touch of class. I want that elegance, to be the picture of cool and glamorous.

Demographics

I've already made the conclusion that my market consists mostly of Caucasian (in both the Americas and in Europe) descent, White Americans who are in their 30's and higher to be specific. But I want to branch out and reach the Japanese and Portuguese, and Spanish (and Arabic) audiences as well. I've also concluded that I compose cocktail [drinking] music, I make (what a relative once said about me) "elevator music" (Fun fact: it's called Muzak, yes there's an actual term for it), I make mellow music to smoke to, I make music for slow "vanilla" lovemaking. You don't have to be of...a certain color persuasion (so I don't have to keep saying it, although I said it like 50 times already), I also appeal to those out of that target who indulge in these kinds of activities.

I represent something else now, what I'm doing is NOT new, but it's definitely a breath a fresh air.

Concluding...

So, when you see Louis Vaspar, please associate the name to Lounge; a cool breeze, smoke from a cigarette, a smooth glass of liquor, the walk of a cat. That's who I am.

Production.

I was talked into performing again...but I think I'll stick to my guns; no concerts at all this year. I think I should focus on studio work, period.

Because I'm sticking to studio work only, I feel less pressured to be perfect and instead work on my promotional work. I need more viewing materials as well as planting my previous studio work for consumption. While I work on this prospect, the following has been penciled down:

Project D 
Production slated for May 24-28 (may change)
Film production on-location in Chicago, photo shoot May TBD. 
Material release: N/A (video), (photos)

Project E
Production slated August TBD
Studio production in Brooklyn, photo shoot (October TBD)
Material release: N/A (photos), October TBD (album)

Project F
Production slated January TBD
Studio production in Brooklyn (Tent.)
Album release: February 14, 2019 (Projected)

Concert Season (finally)
April - October 2019

Right now, I'm finally getting out of the rut, and I want my money to be invested properly because I'm poor as shit. If I'm going to continue funneling my money towards my ventures, then I want to invest it wisely. By the time I'm ready to concertize again, I'll have a lot of materials for all to view! New photographs, new music, and even videos!

I'm going to update more on here, and of course keep you up to date (if you care) on Twitter and Facebook.

Until then,

Louis

The Toronto & Chicago Sessions

Here we go!

I have decided that after the events that happened in the UK, I would officially give up concertizing for a while. I have thought to do that sooner, but this took the cake.

[Toronto plans have been moved to Brooklyn]

After these events, a video taping in Chicago is due including pieces by Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninov, and Skrjabin. These videos will be a second take of the original footage that was eventually wiped from PianoForte Studios in promotions for my DSO debut (see past updates) and redone with new repertoire for general promotions on Vimeo.

Once that's done, I'll have more work to prepare for.

Stay tuned (Paris),
Louis

Detained in the UK

I ranted about this on my Twitter account, I find I must summarize on the website for those reading.

I had my concert in London this past Monday...but it never happened. Due to the unprofessionalism and amusement of the Borer Force, I was detained for upwards of 11 hours. And left without access to my money or a decent shower and bed. They offered a weeks stay in the UK but were completely dismissive towards my plight, that they further caused mind you.

I voiced my anger towards the United Kingdom's Border Force, and I meant every word. I take nothing back. With my concert at 1901 Arts Club being cancelled for the trouble, there has been an overwhelming amount of support towards me and I appreciate the public on London for this.

However, there was a minor silver lining. Because of my resourcefulness, I managed to gain access to the finest hotels in the area with little effort and make it back home in Detroit without trouble...unfortunately it cost me majorly as opposed to my budget which would've afforded me the luxury of London and Paris as a local for the week.

I will make it back to Paris this April after a few tapings (wait for it) and I will be there for the sake of another album and concert that was due at Le Carmen to be done in another venue (I'll announce later, I promise).

Until then, I'm back home and working on somethings else. You know me, I don't give up easy.

Louis

The Glenn Gould Approach

I've been battling self doubt all week. I sit down and practice my repertoire, and just stop to think...should I even bother with live performances at this time? Is it too soon? I'm ready to issue further refunds if it comes to it, I just might. I had high enough hopes, and the right amount of support...but maybe I should take my talents to the studio and begin in reverse order. (Yes, I'm aware that Glenn started on stage then remained in-studio for the remainder of his career)

Extend the taping period and spend that portion of time working on the album, recording repertoire, and spending the other half of my time networking and working on sponsorships. Maybe hit a gig every now and then, then start again with the concert in Toronto and work backwards. That sounds good.

I love the stage, and if this is what it takes to get there, I guess I should take a number and get in line.

 

Thank you for following, I'll always have more to come.

Louis

 

REGROUP: Next Move.

Since sales - yet again - are slow, I've decided to create an alternative: I'm springing for 2-3 concert each month. The opening (Detroit) show will stay in tact as the sales for the show have been impressively quick. There are still plenty of seats open to my fellow Detroiters ;)

I've gotten tremendous support from the public in London, and I'll be a fool to postpone on them so soon. The show in Paris was a hard-sell from the start. Since July of last year, the contract was inked and the show was in promotions...out of the 160+ seats, only 4 have been sold. I am slowly gathering interests, but if this show doesn't sell faster in the next two weeks; either I change venues, or I'll have to simply wait and sell for the September date.

For what was supposed to be the "tour", is turning out as I've been thinking to do in the first place: single unrelated performances. Instead of one cohesive ring, it's just going to be scattered dates and locations in different points of the year. As I've mentioned, I'm hoping for at least 2 shows each month.

The new proposed plan is as follows:

February 9 - Scarab Club (Detroit) | $5
February 12 - 1901 Arts Club - Salon (London*) | £10
February 14 - Le Carmen (Paris*) | 10€

March - April 2018: Taping Period (Refocusing on the unfinished album "Smoke in my Soul" and writing new music.)

April 21 - Gallery345 (Toronto*) | $20CAD
May TBA - Renee Weiler Recital Hall (NYC) | $10
May TBA -  Chapel Performance Space at Good Shepherd Center (Seattle) | $10
June 23 - Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles (Los Angeles) $20
July 7 - Waterfront Lofts at Greenpoint (NYC) | $20
July TBA - New School of Music (Boston) | $10
July 15 - Fine Arts Building (Chicago) | $10
August TBA - Recital Hall, Washington University (St. Louis) | $10
August TBA - The Music Settlement, Burke Mansion (Cleveland) | $10
September TBA - Cercle Suedois (Paris*) | 20€.

Recital Postponement?

Promotion expenses have grown, ticket sales are slowly picking up, and the deadlines are getting tighter. With this said, certain changes are possible to be made...should I postpone the dates? I've been thinking over the last couple of weeks that I should spread out the concert dates entirely.

I haven't decided how I was going to do this, but I may keep the Scarab Club Date on February 9th, and possibly keep my Europe dates as well. But if they don't sell faster, I might postpone them into the Spring.

Stay tuned,
Louis

 

 

Concert Schedule

After the initial "classical ring", there will be a one-concert-a-month run in select cities where I will be joined by musicians in a jazz combo, performing personal compositions, and covers of my favorite artists; Nina Simone, Mina, Marcos Valle, Liberace, and more!

CONCERTS

April 21 - Gallery345 (Toronto*) | $20CA
TBD - Constellation (Chicago) | $20
TBD - Artist Studio (Seattle) $20
June 21 - Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles (Los Angeles) $20
July 21 - Waterfront Lofts at Greenpoint (NYC) | $20
July 28 - Cercle Suedois (Paris*) | 20€.

Recital Ring Update

I've decided to keep the tour intact. New dates are being added and hopefully tickets will sell well in the next few weeks.

Current schedule, including official site links (will update as they come)

February 9 - Scarab Club (Detroit) | $5
February 12 - 1901 Arts Club - Salon (London*) | £10
February 14 - Le Carmen (Paris*) | 10€
February 18 - Renee Weiler Recital Hall (NYC) | $10
February 20 - New School of Music (Boston) | $10
February 23 - Brooklyn Conservatory of Music (NYC) | $10
March 15 - The Music Settlement, Burke Mansion (Cleveland) | $10
March 16 - Fine Arts Building (Chicago) | $10
March 26 - Recital Hall, Washington University (St. Louis) | $10
March 27 -  Chapel Performance Space at Good Shepherd Center (Seattle) | $10

Next Month...

I'm contemplating if I should even engage in the tour so soon, or if I should wait until the Spring to begin the ring or recitals. Though tickets are selling, they're moving too slowly. I'm in a space where I should maybe hold on to my overseas shows and save the US concerts for the next season.

How's this?

Initial Run

February 9,  Scarab Club (Detroit) | $5
February 12 - 1901 Arts Club - Salon (London*) | £10
February 14 - Le Carmen (Paris*) | 10€
February 18 - Weiler Concert Hall (NYC) | $10
February 20 - New School of Music (Boston) | $10
TBA - Preston Bradley Hall, Chicago Cultural Center (Chicago) | $10
March 15 - The Music Settlement, Burke Mansion (Cleveland) | $10
March 26 - Recital Hall, Washington University (St. Louis) | $10
March 27 -  Chapel Performance Space at Good Shepherd Center (Seattle) | $10

Non - Classical Run

April (TBA) - Gallery345 (Toronto*) | $20
May (TBA) - TBA (Chicago) | $20
June (TBA) - TBA (Seattle) $20
June (TBA) - TBA (Los Angeles) $20
July (TBA) - TBA
(NYC) | $20
August (TBA) - Cercle Suedois (Paris*) | 20€

Paris Debut:

September 20 - Salle Cortot (Paris*) | $20

October - December TBD

 

It seems a little less stressful, money-wise for me, but I suppose time will tell.

Until then,
Louis

Tour Updates

TOUR

February 9,  Scarab Club (Detroit) | $5
February 11 - Weiler Concert Hall (NYC) | $10
February 12 - 1901 Arts Club - Salon (London*) | £10
February 14 - Le Carmen (Paris*) | 10€
February 20 - New School of Music (Boston) | $10
February 28 - Gallery345 (Toronto*) | $20
March TBA - Schaver Recital Hall (Detroit) | $10
March TBA - The Music Settlement, Burke Mansion (Cleveland) | $10
March 26 - Recital Hall, Washington University (St. Louis) | $10
March 27 - Chapel Performance Space at Good Shepherd Center (Seattle) | $10

2018 Tour

Regarding next years recital ring, a launch in Detroit starting in early February will begin the two-month 2018 multi-city tour. The cities on the agenda are as follows:

First Leg (Eastern US & Europe)

February 9,  Scarab Club (Detroit) | $5
February 11 - Weiler Concert Hall (NYC) | $10
February 12 - 1901 Arts Club - Salon (London*) | £10
February 14 - Le Carmen (Paris*) | 20 €
February 20 - New School of Music (Boston) | $10
February 24 - Smash Studios: Showcase Suite 1 (NYC)  | $20
February 28 - Gallery345 (Toronto*) | $20

-Interval-

Second Leg (Western US)

March 20 - WSU Comm. Arts Auditorium (Detroit) | $10
March 23 - TBA (Chicago) | $10
March 26 - Recital Hall, Washington University (St. Louis) | $10
March 27 - Chapel Performance Space at Good Shepherd Center (Seattle) | $10
March 30 - TBA (LA) | $20

-End of Tour-

 

Bolded Venues feature Non-Classical performances (also includes alcohol), Italicized venues are tentative or waiting for the greenlight. Asterisked venues are out of country (US) performances.

The Turning Point & The Silver Lining

After what was prepared to be a great beginning came to a halt. Again.

But that will not stop me from making the move to get where I want to be. In the next update, post, you'll see the launch and ticket sales for my multi-city tour in selected cities: Detroit, NYC, Boston, St. Louis, Seattle, LA, and introducing Paris (FR) and Toronto (CA). There's still debate of rather Chicago, Philadelphia, Cleveland, San Francisco, and London (UK) should make the cut. Only time will tell.

There's a motive behind this, but I'll reveal that in time.

 

Love,
Louis

HOUR Magazine Featurette

It's finally here!

I've been sitting on this since mid-October, my debut at Orchestra Hall is being featured in this months issue of Hour Magazine. As featured on page 88 (fitting to say the least!), my recital programme will consist of selections by Liszt, Chopin, and Rachmaninov.

Tickets on sale now for $20 General Admssion, $10 for Students and Seniors

Coming soon to Vimeo

In anticipation of my recital debut at Orchestra Hall, I will be venturing to Chicago from November 30th through December 4th to film a promotional recital to further boost ticket sales. 

The program will consist of 4-5 full-length videos available elusively on Vimeo (and to be uploaded to Youtube the following week). The program is as follows:

Hungarian Rhapsodies
S. 244, Nos. 3 - 5

Deux Légendes, S. 175
St. François d'Assise: La prédication aux oiseaux
St. François de Paule marchant sur les flots

Production will take place at PianoForte Studios - December 1, 2017.

Paris Preview

14 Fevrier 2018

Le pianiste américain, Louis Vaspar, lance ses débuts à l'étranger dans son récital d'avant-première spécial composé de Rachmaninov et Chopin!

Réception spéciale après-spectacle avec moi en appréciant des cocktails, de la musique et des questions et réponses en français et en anglais.

Programme:

En Avril, à Paris -- Charles Trenet
Cello Etude -- Chopin
Une barque sur l'Ocean -- Ravel

Entr'acte

Variations of a Theme of Chopin -- Rachmaninov
Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 36 -- Rachmaninov

Toccata in F-sharp minor -- Bach (Finale)

Jazz EP in the works

While preparing for classical recitals and an album to follow, there's also another project in the works; my EP Midnight which features songs recorded in January from the arrested Smoke in my Soul session in Brooklyn. 

Midnight will feature vocals, retooled originals, unreleased pieces, covers and a special rendition of "Le Talkie Walkie" by Serge Gainsbourg in the original French. The EP will hold 7 songs and is on pre-order for $5 on BandCamp!

Tracklist

  1. Sweet
  2. Punctuated Performance
  3. Le Talkie Walkie
  4. Barumba
  5. Moonlit Haze
  6. Striptease
  7. Scherzando!
    BONUS: Obsession

Rebelle au Diable

As of July 14th, concert debut Louis le Diable has been postponed what was originally on an indefinite status. As of today, the date has been moved to December 22nd, just days before my 26th birthday.

As a result, the theme no longer fits and the entire program is being scrapped and turned into an album to be recorded next summer.

I'll keep you posted both here and on my facebook page.