The final in our three part series – Piano Puppet Poem – with Cincinnati favorite.
BLUES, BOOGIE WOOGIE, AND NEW ORLEANS PIANO
Piano Puppet Poem – Going Live in three, two, one… Is this mic on?
What inspired you to do FB live performances?
When the Covid shutdown occurred on March 15th, 2020, all my live performances were cancelled – after spending my adult life focused on performing, the absence of work was thoroughly upsetting…I looked to broadcasting a weekly Facebook Live program as a way to stay connected with the world, an opportunity to still have a gig of sorts and a way to seek support when I had no income to speak of.
What were your expectations going in and has experience matched that?
I had no idea what to expect – I just dove in head first ! What I didn’t predict is how loyal my viewers would prove to be – I began broadcasting on March 21st, 2020, so I just came up on one year of FB shows – one of those “one year ago today” posts came up on my page and I saw the very first broadcast – the comments made that day were from folks that are still commenting today – that sure made me feel good !
Why did you choose Friday @ 7PM EST USA Time for the broadcast?
Friday seemed logical because it’s the start of the weekend, and 7:00 PM seemed just right – I keep the program at one hour just like a TV show, and a once-a-week schedule also meant I wasn’t oversaturating or coming on at random times – same date and time each week makes it a no-brainer. Also, for folks in Europe and the U.K. (where I built a following over the last twenty years), they could catch me real time (12:00-1:00 AM in the U.K., 1:00-2:00 AM in Europe) if they weren’t early risers – plus, all the shows live up on my Facebook page (facebook.com/rickynyepiano) to be viewed at any time.
Your broadcasts are simple but sound great. What technology is involved? Cable or DSL Internet? How do you mount the broadcast device? Any advice?
I like the idea of presenting an acoustic program – it’s sonically and visually intimate. There are several ways to skin the proverbial cat, and some folks go all out with production – I like the “it’s just us” approach…I use an iPhone X mounted on a tripod…early shows I just used the built-in mic, but when I found my signal could be stronger I did some asking around and was advised to get a Shure™ MV88 microphone – it plugs into the charging port of my phone and is operated through an app where I can set sonic parameters to suit what I’m doing. Since the program is one hour I must be sure the phone is fully charged.
Your wingman that fields messages and provides additional support – was that planned or just happened? Do you recommend having an assistant when going live?
I do recommend having an assistant if possible – how many times have you seen someone on Facebook Live staring directly into their phones to read messages? It appears they are staring directly at you – odd and unsettling…I am fortunate to have a girlfriend (celebrated artist Karen Boyhen) who likes what I do – she was with me from they very first show, and I am grateful – I have a system where I play three tunes, then Karen passes me the hellos and requests she jots down from viewers – this makes the show truly interactive.
When the music venues open back up, will you continue doing these FB live broadcasts?
I know that I will, but the show may move to Thursdays to accommodate the weekend work I’m predicting once the vaccine is more widely distributed and herd immunity starts coming into play – this has been a valuable way to connect with folks all over the world in a travel-free manner.
What is it like emotionally to do this with no audience?
The first few shows I found it a bit odd to be performing to the back of my phone – but when I viewed the show the following day and read the responses, I could see that folks were happy I’m providing a distraction of sorts while everyone is sequestered – each week, even after a year of broadcasts, I’m still thanked for bringing music into their homes…also, this is a high-quality audience ! I’ve spent years (along with playing in concert settings) being in non-concert situations where I’m not the focus, working in an incidental capacity – luck of the draw says I could be playing to a room full of jerks, or maybe I’d be in a situation where I wouldn’t know a single soul in the venue – but I know that when I’m tuned in, I’m being viewed by people who specifically want to see what I’m up to – and that is very beautiful !
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Inducted into the International Boogie Woogie Hall Of Fame
Voted Blues Artist of the Year in CityBeat Magazine’s 2019 CEA Awards
Voted Best Local Musician in CityBeat Magazine’s “Best Of Cincinnati” 2018 Reader’s Poll
Newly designed website: www.rickynye.com