Brian O'Neal

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About Brian O'Neal

Detroit based pianist Brian O'Neal began his musical journey at age six, when he picked up the drums as his first instrument. Having experimented with bass, sax, and trombone, O'Neal set his sights on becoming a professional drummer while still in his teens. O'Neal's grandmother Daisy bought him a piano for his 16th birthday, replacing his dreams of drumming with something better yet. His love for melody and harmony inspired O'Neal to practice tirelessly, turning him into a formidable self-taught talent. That talent was recognized in 1984 when O'Neal earned a full music scholarship to Alcorn State University. While studying, he became an accomplished jingle writer, crafting jingles for major corporations like McDonalds. As a freelance player, O'Neal took the stage alongside R&B luminaries such as Chaka Khan, Stevie Wonder, Frankie Beverly, and Maze. He made forays into the neo-soul scene performing with artists like India.Arie, Me'Shell Ndegéocello, and others, ultimately relocating to Atlanta in 1994 to pursue those ends. O'Neal turned his attention toward production, helping emerging artists like Kem, Kathy Avalon, and Eddie Oliver make their mark. Not entirely satisfied behind the scenes, he soon took center stage, performing his own compositions and exploring jazz, R&B and Latin as a bandleader. His debut disc, Mood Swings, was released on his own BCO Media record label in 2003. While juggling commitments working as musical director for the increasingly famous Kem, O'Neal continued to pursue his identity as a solo artist. His sophomore effort, Daisy, named for his grandmother, was released in 2007, quickly climbing contemporary jazz charts nation wide. ~ Evan C. Gutierrez

Jul 5, 1965

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