As an artist who has flourished in the comfort of Jazz, the Top 40s, R&B, and Pop; pianist Brian O'Neal oozes with the versatility of a uniquely upbeat, smooth style that compliments today’s "New Jazz”. He brings an exciting and uninhibited sound to the world of jazz, which makes it creatively challenging for many to classify his music. O’Neal attracts an eager following and commands the respect of his listeners domestically and abroad. "I don't listen to the radio often out of respect for my craft. I don't want to taint my vision of music with that of which we hear everyday. By shutting myself out of the listening audience, I'm not apt to emulate any sound you've ever heard before." O'Neal says to WFSK 88.1FM's DJ Sharon Kay.
O’Neal was born July 5, 1965, in Detroit, and first discovered his passion for music at the age of six when he took his first drum lessons. Although Brian (known to his friends as "Bean") learned to play many instruments, including the saxophone, bass, and trombone; he aspired to be a professional drummer. That was until his junior year in high school, after being asked by his band teacher to fill in to play the piano for the band’s performance. Brian instantly became enthralled with the idea of mastering such a magnificent and gentle instrument. His grandmother, "Daisy O'Neal", began to notice how comfortable and excited he was about playing, and purchased his first piano. O'Neal's passion for the piano increased as he experimented with various melodies and cords; causing his skill to mature rapidly. As a self taught Pianist, he later received a full Piano Music scholarship to Alcorn State University.
Brian’s talents then soared into the world of jingles, working with companies such as the McDonald's Corporation. His love for movies and children inspired him to compose film scores for youthful audiences around the country. As he explored his musical gifts, he began touring with several Rock and Top 40 Bands, Atlanta-based jazz band "Take Notes" and Contemporary Jazz/R&B artists; some of which he serves as their Assistant Music Director. O'Neal's love for music led him to share his talent by mentoring to other aspiring artist such as Universal/Motown recording artist Kem, who has become a national Jazz/R&B sensation.
O'Neal has shared the stage with many great musicians over the past two decades; including Will Downing, Morris Day and the Time, India Arie, Ledisi, Fantasia, Angela Bofill, Stevie Wonder, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Alex Bugnon, George Duke, Pieces of a Dream, Chaka Kahn, Najee, Kindred the Family Soul, and Jeff Lorber. He has composed and produced music for several artist and poets abroad; including UNV, Kathy Avalon, Kem, Eddie Oliver and a host of other upcoming talents.
Several of O’Neal’s accolades include being nominated for Detroit Music Awards “Most Outstanding Composition”, his song Mesmerized won best song on OurStage, two of his songs were selected for the National Weather Channel, and he has hailed the #1 spot on MySpace charts for several months. O'Neal's lifetime musical influences have been Herbie Hancock, Pat Matheny, Prince and Stevie Wonder. These legendary artists helped shape his desire to pursue a career as a professional musician. As a writer, producer, composer and performer; O'Neal has a gentle and natural approach to creating musical safe havens for his listeners. Brian O'Neal is truly a talented and humble musician. He captures your inner desires with melodic rhythms and teases your emotions with the vibrations of each instrument.