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Pianist Alex Mercado releases new album "Symbiosis"
(Published: August 19, 2014)

Q: When did your passion for music became apparent and how old were you.

A: I was 9-years-old when I became exposed to classical music through a collection of albums that belonged to my grandfather, a classical music lover himself.

I used to listen to classical music for hours at a time, getting to know the beauty of such composers as Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, and Schummann, among many others. Not coming from a musical family this was a passion that was discovered by coincidence. Later on, I began studying the guitar, but I didn't feel a real chemistry with that instrument. It was not until my family inherited an acoustic piano that I began putting into practice the passion that was aroused by just listening and enjoying music.

Q: What made you decide to become a pianist.

A: I started my classical training on the piano at age 13. A little late for those people who want to pursue a career in classical music. But I immediately started to feel uncommon passion for a kid my age, especially not coming from a musical family. This passion motivated me to practice for long hours until it almost became an obsession. This made me advance fairly quickly and steadily, making a lot progress in a short amount of time, which made me realize that I had a long way to go. In order to have more time to achieve what I wanted to achieve musically I decided to devote my whole life to it and pursue my studies in music.

Q: When did you begin composing music.

A: I began composing music seriously when I discovered jazz, at age 17. I realized I could have my own voice expressing itself through my music. I remember trying to emulate the flair of a classical piece, borrowing piano and orchestral textures and trying to permeate them into my own music. I wrote many drafts and tunes when I was at Berklee College of Music. None of these stayed long but they helped me to develop the skill of mature writing.

Q: How would you describe your creative evolution as artist.

A: My evolution has been marked by several stages in my career, but the common ground is a constant thirst for development I try to absorb as many influences as possible, not only from musical sources, but from reality itself. I believe the secret of evolution is to let reality, nature, and other human beings influence you to the point of breaking away from your past self, accumulating new experiences that will eventually lead into a constant artistic metamorphosis.

Q: What is the jazz scene in Mexico like.

A: The jazz scene in Mexico is not as active as in other countries. There is, in fact, a lot of talent, but somehow it doesn't find the way to get recognized internationally. There are not many jazz clubs to play at and the jazz artists have to play mostly other kinds of music to make a living. This has made the jazz scene a little static, not letting it evolve to its full potential. There is a lot of support from the cultural institutions but, mostly, jazz has to battle with other styles of music that are so rooted within the Mexican audience that it becomes hard to make it a business for labels, management, and artists themselves. Therefore, the artists have to work independently to make themselves known.

Q: How did you meet Scott Colley and Antonio Sanchez, your collaborators on your new album, Symbiosis. What did they contribute to it.

A: I met Antonio Sanchez at Berklee College of Music. I have admired him from years and felt proud of all his achievements as a Mexican musician. When I found out I was selected by the Mexican government to support my second trio album with original music, I felt compelled to invite Antonio Sanchez to collaborate in the album Symbiosis. He was the one who introduced me to Scott Colley, another great musician who I have followed for many years. Antonio and Scott are supreme and pure interpreters of music, and they contributed to the album Symbiosis, putting their wisdom and maturity at the service of the composition at hand. Their musical personalities are so strong that they co-led the project with me in such a natural way that the trio sounds like it has been playing together for a long time.

More Information: https://www.alejandromercado.com

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