Episode #9 of the Miller Piano Podcast is finally here! In this episode, host Jason Skipper talks with Eric Bikales, a musician, composer, and amazing pianist. If you are a music lover, this is an episode you do not want to miss out on!
Eric's Relationship with Miller Piano
How Eric Became the Musician He Is Today
Advice to an Aspiring Musician
The Music Business and LA Living
Eric's Music and New Album
Jason Skipper 0:12
Welcome to the Miller Piano Podcast! I'm your host, Jason Skipper, and in this episode, we have special guest, Eric Bikales connected with us. Eric has been a longtime friend of Miller piano specialist and is a musician. Specifically a wonderful pianist, composer, also a flute player and many other things. Eric has played for 37 years, I believe, with Neil Sedaka. He has composed music and played for many different artists, TV shows, and much more. I'm really looking forward to having Eric share so many of his stories. Eric, welcome to the podcast!
Eric Bikales 0:47
Hey, Jason, great to be here. I'm really happy to speak with you. The first thing I want to say is thank you to Miller Piano for being such a great home to me. All the people over there so nice, and they have treated me so well. For years now they just really make me feel like I have a place here in Franklin, Tennessee. You know, they also sell the best pianos too!
Jason Skipper 1:18
That is for sure! I know you've been with their events, "The River of Calm" and other events that they've done over the years at Miller Piano Specialists. I heard your music there and heard it online many times. Your music is amazing. Talking about Miller since we started there, how did your relationship start with Miller Piano Specialists?
Eric Bikales 1:37
Well, it was kind of funny. I had just moved to Franklin from a little bit north of Nashville. I lived there for a number of years. When I moved to Franklin, I decided that I want to start teaching piano out of my home. So I designed some posters and I just looked up what music stores were in the area and the first one on the list happened to be Miller. I went over there and I met Sherry Carlisle Smith, who was their general manager and a saleswoman, and she and I just really hit it off.
Jason Skipper 2:16
It's hard not to with Sherry in it?
Eric Bikales 2:19
She's got that bubbly personality! We sat down and talked for I think what amounted to like a couple of hours. I was only going to ask her if I could hang up an ad for teaching in her music store and it wound up that we knew all kinds of people in common. Then I found out that she had been in the business herself as one of the Jordanaires, which is a very famous singing group who used to backup Elvis and a lot of other artists. One of the guys in the Jordanaires and the name escapes me now (Charlie McCoy), who actually devised the Nashville Number System that we still use today. Sherry was there on the ground level when all that was happening, she was touring as a singer and she didn't become a piano salesperson until later on in life. Anyway, we had a great conversation and became really good friends. I just wound up starting to go there weekly to check up on how things were going, and then I got involved in their Writers Night, and she let me play original material. I developed a little audience and following at Miller, and then one thing developed into another and we've just been going strong for years.
Jason Skipper 3:43
How long has that been?
Eric Bikales 3:45
Well, I've been here for about six years, something like that. I think that she was one of the first people I met when I got here.
Jason Skipper 3:52
Okay. I know you've been connected through "Writers Night," you've been involved in that activity. Also "The River of Calm." How often are you in these events? And how often are these events held?
Eric Bikales 4:03
Miller Piano has events going every month. The