RECORDS THAT CHANGED MY LIFE  with Avi Wisnia

Avi Wisnia

I’m a singer/songwriter from Philadelphia, finding inspiration in Brazilian bossa nova, acoustic American folk, 1950’s west-coast jazz, and contemporary pop. I started playing piano when I was 5, but began composing on the keyboard earlier than that, before I even knew what I was doing. I now tour regularly with my debut album, Something New, performing in venues around the world – from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City to The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC to concerts in Warsaw, Poland and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. My latest single “Sky Blue Sky” was recorded via satellite between Philadelphia and Brazil.

João Gilberto and Stan Getz – Getz/Gilberto (1964)

This classic bossa nova album exemplifies the power of subtlety, how to say a lot without making a lot of noise. The melodies, rhythms, and chord changes fit together seamlessly – each one an important piece of the puzzle. It was different from anything else I had heard growing up, and yet it resonated deeply. I knew that I would not look at music the same way afterwards.

Ben Folds Five – Whatever & Ever Amen (1997)

This album proved that serious musicians could take the music seriously without taking themselves too seriously, and that pop music could be accessible and fun and intelligent all at once. It also opened my eyes to just how much piano-pop could rock.

Chet Baker – My Funny Valentine (1953)

Chet Baker makes everything sound effortless. As a male vocalist, he is the opposite of macho – he is understated and vulnerable, and heartbreakingly beautiful. As a trumpet player, he is a virtuoso without showing off. This album covers some of the most popular standards, but finds the artist performing in his own unique voice.

Indigo Girls – 1200 Curfews (1995)

I discovered my love of harmony by singing Indigo Girls songs at jam sessions, camp fires, sleepovers and during long drives in the car. There is something transcendent about blending voices, whether 2 or 2,000. Find people you love making music with, and just do that as much as possible.

For more info about Avi Wisnia, follow him on Twitter @aviwisniaWhich records inspired you to become a musician? Let us know and you can be featured in a future column. Email [email protected] for more info.

photo by Thomas Hitchcock

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