Jim Wilson ~ My Mother’s Son

Jim Wilson

Jim Wilson

My name is Jim Wilson, and I’m a recording artist of piano-featured, contemporary-instrumental music. While I’ve been composing since I was 7, it wasn’t really until my best friend died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 37 over a decade ago that I began to pursue my music career in earnest.  It really brought home the point that you never really know how much time you have in life, so whatever your dreams are, you damn well better get on with it.

I began recording my first CD straight away.  It’s amazing how when you’re really aligned with your purpose, the universe responds.  The second I made up my mind that I was going to make that first recording, some very talented friends came to my aid: Davey Johnstone (guitar player for Elton) and Dave Koz, among others.

So, 6 months later, with finished CD in hand, I set out to get a deal.  Rule #1, as we know, is do NOT send your CD to labels unsolicited. Guess what? I did not abide by that rule!  I’d gotten my hands on an A&R Directory and faxed (yes, this was a few minutes ago) specific A&R folks. I followed up to let them know a package was being FedEx’d to them that included a CD Carole King says “is a magic carpet ride of melodic beauty” and David Crosby says is “emotional, elegant and delicious.”
(Note to aspiring artists: Get quotes and reviews beforehand.)

Of the 20 packages I sent out, I got yes’s from 7 of them.  Four of those “put paper on the table.”  Crazy. Looking back, I can’t believe I had the moxy to pull that off. I ended up signing with Angel EMI and my first CD, Northern Seascape, made it to #21 on the Billboard New Age Chart.
(While my music is more folk/pop/contemporary instrumental, that was the only category they could put me in.  Hey, I’ll take it!)

Well, that was 1997. I’ve since had the pleasure of making 7 records (yeah, I’m old school), 3 of which have made the Billboard Top-20 New Age charts. I have 2 PBS specials under my belt. My CD, A Place In My Heart, was nominated by radio programmers around the world for Album of the Year.  I’ve had the extraordinary honor of being joined on my recordings by some amazingly talented guest artists, including Stephen Bishop, Dan Fogelberg, Dave Sanborn and Chris Botti.

Jim Wilson playing pianoCurrently, I’m working on 2 new projects. The first CD is Jim Wilson: The Solo Piano Collection, a compilation of piano-only versions of my most popular songs.  The second CD is my My Mother’s Son. I had that song title for a while, and I planned to write the song and sing it for my Mom.

Two years ago, I got a call that my Mom’s health had worsened and decided to go visit her. As I waited for my ride to take me to LAX, I sat at the piano and the melody and lyric concept of the song suddenly began to take shape.  I developed it further on the flight. As I got off the plane, flowers in hand, my niece greeted me with the news that my mom had died an hour earlier. My Mom was my biggest champion and supporter of my music. While she never got to hear this song, I’m happy that the sentiment of the song and video will live on as a tribute not just to my Mom, but to Moms everywhere.

The title cut features J.D. Souther on harmonies and was mixed by Bob Clearmountain.  The music video is up on my website (link below), and it features mother and son pictures submitted by over 100 fans and music luminaries Burt Bacharach, Richard Carpenter, Lisa Loeb and Quincy Jones.

In the indie spirit of this new era of crowd-funded projects, I started a Kickstarter campaign, so anyone can participate and bring this dream to life. Though the recording, video and promo budget for the 2 new CDs is much higher, I set a pledge target of $15,000. Momentum has been gaining and we’re on our way.  We loaded the pledge tiers with lots of rewards and goodies.  The campaign runs through July 31.

Check out my Kickstarter campaign and join in if you can!

Bonne chance to all aspiring artists out there, and as I was told early on: “Keep reaching for the brass ring!”


Jim Wilson

Jim Wilson postcard with Mom