Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in music but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Craig Addy, Founder of Under the Piano, located in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I offer unique musical experiences where I invite listeners—individuals, couples, small groups, and audiences—to share stories about their lives. Then I spontaneously improvise music on the piano to re-create and evoke the emotional essence of the stories. This is why I call myself "The Musician Who Listens to the Listener." I provide these experiences in person and online, and I have several offerings for different people and situations. Because it can be deeply profound, the original and most impactful experience is Under the Piano.
This is for couples and individuals. We have a conversation where they share stories about their lives: passions, traumas, interests, dreams and desires, intentions, or whatever is on their mind. The individual or couple then lie under my grand piano, and I improvise a 40-minute concert that re-creates the stories they told me. It is a sound spa for the body, mind, and soul. People who are celebrating their relationship—anniversaries, wedding gifts, Valentine's Day, and birthdays—are my most frequent customers. Also, pregnant mothers and people who are grieving or dealing with illness, stress, and anxiety get tremendous value from having an Under the Piano experience. This original Under the Piano experience has been expanded to include small groups and audiences both in person and online.
Tell us about yourself
When I was a teenager, I dealt with the unpleasant reality of being bullied. At this time, I turned to music to manage the sadness, stress, and anxiety. I was too embarrassed to tell my family or friends. Music saved me at a difficult time in life. I soon discovered that this music that was nurturing me also nurtured others. This is where my interest in music as a healing and calming tool was established. The idea for Under the Piano began when I was a child. My mom played the piano beautifully, and I used to crawl under the piano as she played. It was like a secret surround-sound fort.
Over 30 years later, I was in a piano store and had a sudden memory of being that child. On a whim, I crawled under a 9-foot concert grand piano as a fellow I didn't even know played it, and I was transported back to my childhood. I also noticed how great it felt. The vibrations the piano produced felt like a massage. I could feel my body tingle and resonate with the music. Shortly after, I invited three friends to my place, and they took turns lying under my piano as I improvised some music. They were all astonished by the power of the experience, and one of them said I should create a business and call it Under the Piano. That was in 2009, and I have been doing the Under the Piano session since then. Many customers choose to get a recording of their personalized piano concert so they can reconnect with the experience.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I'd say the biggest accomplishment is some special Under the Piano sessions for people who are grieving or managing illness and pain. The impact of Under the Piano for people who are grieving and struggling to be with the emotions or the numbness to the emotions that grief and illness cause has been cathartic. The deeply personalized music I create and the physical experience of being enveloped by music can reach in and access emotions that cannot be expressed in words alone. In these cases, Under the Piano is truly transformative.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The hardest thing that comes with being a business owner is consistency and frequency of promoting my offering. In answer, I just started a 100-Days-of-Music challenge where I will be live-streaming a piano improvisation every day for 100 days.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Don't do it alone. No matter how talented, smart, or productive you are, you will exhaust your capacity to grow with that strategy.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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