Artist Interview: “Peaceful” by Hovig Nassanian

Q: We love the calming playing in your new album, what was your creative process in making “Peaceful”?

HOVIG NASSANIAN: Thank you. Just after this past Christmas, it became clear that we would be going into another COVID lockdown here in Cyprus, which basically meant I would have more time at home. One of my colleagues at work had been nagging me for a while to record some of my piano music, so I told my wife I would go into my ‘man cave’ in the garden to record some pieces for her. I honestly did not plan to record a full album. As in many things in life, you begin something small and it gradually evolves into something much bigger and gets a life of its own!


Q: What inspired you to start making piano music to put out on spotify and other streaming platforms?

HOVIG: This particular album features music pieces that I had composed at various stages of my life: teenage years living in Lebanon during the civil war there, original musical productions years, meeting my wife and a couple of lullabies written for our son. So the inspiration really comes from life itself; from moments of happiness, sadness, faith, hope and love.

Q: Was there a pivotal moment in your life when you decided to follow your path as a musician and has any teacher given you really good advice and what was it?

HOVIG: A pivotal moment was probably when I started playing pieces by ear (I think I was 12 or so when I started playing Richard Clayderman’s pieces)…and then discovered the excitement of arranging and composing.

When I was 16, I had some composition lessons from an experienced Armenian composer in Lebanon. It was not so much that he gave me good advice, but I remember clearly when I played one of my compositions to him and he said, “This is good!”. Those simple words of encouragement stayed with me since then. The piece is actually on the album, ‘Tonight’ (track 7).


Q: A compositional style like yours takes years to perfect and craft. Who are your biggest influences?

HOVIG: That’s a hard question to answer. I guess we are constantly influenced subconsciously by things we have heard in the course of our lives. When I compose music, I actually try to clear my head (as much as possible) and go on a journey with the music I am writing. I really enjoy putting something unusual or ‘hiding’ something subliminal in the composition. That could be an unexpected chord sequence or breaking the rules a bit when it comes to genre or what the listener is expecting to hear next.


Q: What is coming up next for you?

HOVIG: I have just finished recording the piano part for a new vocal/piano single song called ‘Bow & Say Goodbye’. The vocalist is Rebecka Eman from Sweden. Really looking forward to releasing it soon….and I’m also in the process of preparing the next piano album, a Christmas one this time…my wife’s request!


Q: What would you like to tell your supporters out there?

HOVIG: I really enjoy hearing from those who have listened to the album. Drop me a message; give me your suggestions; buy the album; send me chocolates!


Interviewed by Stephanie Pankewich





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