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After years of traveling and experience playing and producing a variety of music, Brian Wilkins still calls Pittsburgh, PA home. A multi-instrumentalist and producer, Brian was inspired by anything that made sound from a very young age "I would try to play anything I had access to". He started with a toy drum set when he was only 4 and by 13 was onto the guitar, "I chose the guitar because I watched a Hendrix documentary ... Eric Clapton unplugged followed that show and I was completely hooked". Those two performances ended up having a big impact on Brian and blues improvisation became of one of his specialties very early on. Much like some of his major influences, he's truly a self-taught artist, "I learned the blues scale and a few chords from family friend, Pat Gribbin and the rest I really learned by watching, listening and playing". His first formal lessons didn't come until he took beginner level guitar in his sophomore year in college at Denison University in Columbus, OH.
Like a lot of young musicians, it was in college that Brian started playing in groups, "mostly I initially wrote and arranged the tunes for the groups, but I always wanted input from the other players". A valuable lesson for young Brian, who would go onto write, record and produce music for other musicians. His experiences range from writing for Alvin Ailey principal dancer, April Berry and Ailey guest artist, Dewight Roden, to playing guitar live with gospel great Kirk Franklin to working with up and coming R&B singer songwriter Rashad Thomas. He's also performed music for the McClendon School of Dance in Atlanta, wrote and performed guitar parts for Adina Howard's latest tune "Nasty Grind" with Angelo Ray.
In addition to his experiences with other artists, Brian has written, recorded and produced two albums of his own, "A Few Thoughts", released in 2002 and "Sonically Inviting" released just a short time later in 2005. It's in his solo work that you can hear Brian's varied interests and influences, "Jimmi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Al green, James Brown, Jeff beck, Quincy Jones, Phil Collins, Bill Withers, Hall n Oats, and Seal" to name few. When asked how he draws inspiration from such different places, he replied "I like these folks because of the variety of sounds and feelings they shared with the world". It's fitting that Brian describes his musical influences in that way, as listening to his music is a dynamic and emotional experience. It truly is difficult to place his original work into any specific genre.
These days Brian is hard at work honing his studio craft, composing original work and collaborating with other artists. There's no shortage of opportunities for Brian, and his attitude reflects that, "you put your heart out there, in the form of a song or art, to be judged by the world... some people are not so forgiving, but you just do what is natural to you and be honest".