Author Q&A With Jim Wilson

Author Q&A With Jim Wilson

Jim Wilson started his career as “piano tuner to the stars” and went on to have several albums in the Billboard Top-20, two PBS specials and music has been streamed by millions of fans around the globe. Jim isn’t merely the guy who gets under the hood of your Steinway and gives it a quick tune-up. He will transform a piano. Which is why he ended up jamming “Lady Madonna” with Paul McCartney, riding the range with Carole King, and hitting the ski slopes with Dan Fogelberg. His best-known work was 2018’s Remembrance: A Collection of Cinematic Portraits.

Hailed as his career masterpiece, it topped the Amazon and iTunes charts and held the #2 position in Billboard’s instrumental chart for 2 weeks in a row.

Jim’s had two PBS specials, including A Place in My Heart, which was filmed before a sold-out audience of 1,300fans at the GNC Performing Arts Center in Amarillo, TX. In the mid-‘80’s, Jim helped develop a revolutionary MIDI-adaptor for the acoustic piano, which for the first time allows this age-old instrument to interact with computers and synthesizers. He developed a topflight reputation, teaching uses of MIDI-piano to the upper echelon of pop musicians such as Paul McCartney, Elton John, Jackson Browne, Burt Bacharach, Carole King, and many, many more. Tuned In – Memoirs of a Piano Man: Behind the Scenes with Music Legends and Finding the Artist Within is Jim’s first book. Meet Jim:

You are an author, but is it your day job? I’m a piano technician who’s had the incredible fortune of getting to know and work for just about all my childhood heroes. I’m also recording artist, so I have a pretty full plate, which means sometimes it can be a challenge to clear time for writing. Ultimately, once my writing is moving along and the wind is at my back, I’m inspired to get myself to the computer and write away… right away!

Did you always want to be an author? I’ve always enjoyed writing, but never dreamed I’d take on writing an 86,000 word memoir! The deeper I got into the project, the more I wanted to learn about writing. I did a deep dive into structure and all I could learn about the craft of writing, and I worked weekly with two separate writing coaches, pouring over draft after draft of my memoir.

What is your most recent book and what inspired you to write it? I began writing my first book, Tuned In: Memoirs of a Piano Man during the pandemic. I’ve been told countless times over the decades that I should write a book about my fun celebrity encounters. When the world shut down in March 2020, I was fresh out of excuses to avoid finally writing my memoir!

How do you hope your book uplifts those who read it? I think people will enjoy the “behind-the-scenes with music legends” stories, but more importantly, I hope my journey as an artist inspires anyone pursuing a dream against the odds.

What are you most excited about with this book? I’m buoyed by all the positive early reviews and beyond grateful to over 40 of my friends and clients who stepped up to support me, including Ray Romano, David Foster, Barry Manilow and Martin Short.

How do you handle setbacks and criticism? Great question. The first draft should definitely be all about “writing down the bones” – writing freely without judgement. As the tome gets tamed, I find it invaluable to get input from others. But that can be a slippery slope if you give too much credence to other’s opinions. Ultimately, you, the writer, must be the final arbiter of what fits your vision and what doesn’t.

What book uplifts you? Educated: A Memoir, by Tara Westover’s is a profoundly moving story about overcoming adversity in the pursuit of bettering oneself. Tara was raised in a compound in the mountains of Idaho, by an extremely oppressive fundamentalist father who was anti-government and anti-education. After facing countless adversities, Tara went on to earn her PhD from Cambridge University. Educated is at the top of my list of uplifting memoirs!

Learn more about Jim and his new book via his website. 

Images Courtesy of Smith Publicity, Inc. 

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