Derek Bishop Is More Than Just a Piano Man

To say that Derek Bishop is a musician or a keyboard player does not do this performer justice.  Derek Bishop is an experience on stage that one should treat themselves to.  The first time I saw Derek perform, I was impressed, intrigued, and delighted.  His showmanship perfectly compliments the lyrics and melodies of his songs.  I have had the privilege of seeing Derek perform in the NYC area and am so happy to be able to introduce you all to him.

Q: Did music help you to be more comfortable about coming out?

A: It didn’t necessarily make me more comfortable, but it gave me a platform to work through a lot of turbulent emotions.  And that platform provided me with some great songs and a much-needed cathartic outlet — which I feel very fortunate to have had.  One of my favorite songs of my album, “HARVEY” is specifically about coming out.  I think it will always be a favorite because of how that time in my life shaped me. It’s also the song where I get the title of my CD, “Resistance is Beautiful” — which is a lyric that is very telling about that era of my history.
Take a listen: http://soundcloud.com/derekbishop/harvey

Q: You describe yourself as “maker of melodies and odd odes.” Who and what sounds inspire you most?

A: I love ear candy.  I love sounds, instruments and arrangements that are different from what we normally hear in a song.  I want to create music that is “ear-catching.”  I work hard to give each of my songs a sound and a pallet that is unique combining elements that one might not usually put together.  In terms of what inspires me, it could be anything from finding an old xylophone in a junk shop and wanting to try implementing that into a disco song — or just hearing two songs back to back from two different eras and wanting to figure out how it would sound to merge those decades together into something fresh. Inspiration can come from anywhere: reading, bike riding, seeing someone good-looking walk down the street… And I don’t care if that inspiration ends up in lyrical or melodic form.  I just take it when it comes and run with it.

Q: Your music incorporates new sounds as well as old.  Would you say you are an old soul?

A: Although I love many a vintage thing from days gone by, I really don’t think I’m an old soul. I’m way too trusting and naive   A few songs on my album are about being lost, clueless and letting time and opportunities pass me by. I would hope that if I were an old soul, I’d be a little more quick to pick up what’s going on. That said, I am a smart guy who has the reward of past experiences on my side to help me guide through the future.

Q: What artists would you like to work with? Besides Brett Gleason, of course! :)

A: I would like a one-on-one with Butch Walker discussing music production and stage singing stamina (I think he’s just amazing!). I would love to record some songs with Christine McVie in a vintage-sort-of-way, using only Wurlies, Rhodes and B3s (she plays them beautifully…and I miss her voice!)  I would like to co-write a lyric or two with Amiee Mann. (She’s so smart and dry in her writing.)  I‘d love to sing harmonies with the fellas from The Kin. (The way their voices intertwine is a modern day alchemy.) And I’d like to do anything musically with Stevie Nicks… Heck, I’d be happy just to hang out with her! Lunch..tea…what ever she prefers! I’m available!

Q: I have been privileged to see you perform live. It is quite a performance. Do you see yourself as equal parts showman & musician? Any aspirations to act?

A: Thank you so much for saying that.  I’m truly thrilled you liked my show!  Honestly, I just try and put on a show that is equal parts musical and visual.  I want to make sure that I not only sing well, but I’m well-rehearsed on the piano. And I always consider what I will wear. I’m on stage, so I don’t want to just look like I’m hanging out on the sofa.  As a keyboardist, I’m somewhat trapped behind the piano, so I do make a concerted effort to make sure my show is more than just “guy-at-a-piano”.  When I see a show that I really enjoy — one that inspires me — I take mental notes because I want to ensure I do something similar at my gigs.  I want to entertain…but I have no aspirations to act.  Though I certainly enjoy making the music videos. Lip syncing and emoting to my own tunes is all the acting I care to do.

Q: Along those lines, is Derek Bishop the man the same as Derek Bishop the performer? Beyonce has her stage persona, Sasha Fierce, do you have one as well?

A: I have no alter ego. I’m just a little more confident on stage because I have melodies (and sometimes a drummer) to back me up.  Pretty much, I am the same fella on and off stage. I even dress the same. My songs are rooted in my experiences and history, so I want to share those as honestly as possible.  I don’t want to put on a mask that could cover anything up.

Q: Where can we find you online? Purchase your music, connect with you?

A: Online, I’m at www.derekbishop.net
You can find and purchase my music at Amazon ( www.amazon.com/Resistance-Beautiful-Derek-Bishop )
and Itunes ( http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/resistance-is-beautiful/id444180412 )

Socially, I’m most active on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr
https://twitter.com/MrDerekBishop
http://www.facebook.com/DerekBishopMusic
http://mrderekbishop.tumblr.com/

And be sure to check out my videos on youtube. (i’m working on a new one right now!)
http://www.youtube.com/user/DerekBishopMusic

Q: What do you think of shows like American Idol, The Voice, and X Factor? Do they help artists? Are they beneficial to the industry, in your opinion?

A: I believe they can occasionally help the occasional artist, but mostly they just create fast disposable entertainment. These shows are not about fostering talent, they are about ratings.  I don’t think they are beneficial to the artist nor the industry, because they aren’t looking for long-term talent.  The time frame these shows run on is just too fast. You cant grow a fan base at the rate these shows play out. Every now and then someone makes a big splash…so if you’re Carrie Underwood, then congrats to you.  If you’re one of the other winners or runners up, often times you are forgotten in a few weeks.  And then it’s in-with-the-new, out-with-the-old. It’s not about creating art or artists, it’s about creating quick commerce.

Q: What are some of your favorite songs to perform? Why?

A: When I’m performing for myself, I’ll put on some old Ben Folds Five tunes and play along. That’s an excellent finger workout! If I want a good vocal workout, I’ll sing along to my favorite Butch Walker tunes. (He’s got a range and nuance that I find inspiring.) In terms though of performing live for others, I tend to do well covering Fleetwood Mac tunes, since I’ve been playing them for 25 years!  But my favorite songs to play live are my own.  I’m still proud and in love with all the tunes off my CD, “Resistance is Beautiful” — and playing them live (either with a band or solo) gives me great joy.  My top songs off the CD are “Why Hold On”, “Thinking About You,” “Pass Me By,” and “Jackpot.”  Playing my own songs means they are constantly evolving – the arrangements always changing.  I love that.  The difference between how these songs are performed live and how they were originally recorded is huge. I find that exciting as a performer and as someone who loves these tunes.

Q: What’s up next for Derek Bishop?

A: Right now I’m about 75% finished writing songs for my next album.  I’m planning to record it early this winter and even before that I’m going to perform them live several times with a full band.  Where the last CD sounded like a nod to the 1970′s, these new songs will be a more 80′s influenced.  I’m going to be using a lot of synthesizers in the recording (mostly the very vintage ones I’ve had since I was 12!)  I also want to take advantage of all the really talented friends I have and use them throughout the recording!  Of course I’ll also be making some really fun wacky videos as well.  In the mean time, I’m going to do my best to keep promoting my current CD, which I still believe has a lot of life in it!