Homecoming With “Frankie”: Parts I, II, and Coda

Hey everybody!

This past month has been incredibly busy for me and my family! Between school and my mom and dad working a lot, free time has been very precious to do anything, much less play on the piano. This is why I’m so glad I got to spend some recent Saturdays with Michael…

The first Saturday was near the end of January, a mini family reunion of sorts. The adults were hosting a dinner party while my cousins and I had fun playing on an iPad upstairs. (We love Super Mario Run!) Michael and his wife came by a little later in the evening to have some of the delicious food my mom prepared. When I heard he arrived, I raced downstairs and welcomed him as “Frankie!” Between that greeting and being in my jammies, Michael must’ve thought I was very casual — even in my home. No matter, we both knew the music mattered most.

This time, Michael and I got to play for my family and publicist, Mr. Will, a medley of songs that were suggested by Michael just seconds before. No rehearsal, no sheet music. Just us switching between a Yamaha keyboard and a grand piano to see how we played these instruments together. In fact, I think Michael was trying to “test” me again with a song or two I never heard of! But to his growing amazement, from “Venetian Boat Song, Op. 30 No. 6” by Felix Mendelssohn to “Kiss The Rain” by Yiruma to one of my all-time favorites “Amazing Grace,” no song was too challenging for me. And, of course, my family agreed with consistent applause all throughout!

The next Saturday gathering with Michael carried more significance based on recent events. It was the day after Chinese New Year, and my parents went out of their way to treat “Frankie” to a home-cooked dinner. Along with his wife, Mr. Will, and a pair of my mom’s close friends, I noticed this was a more reserved homecoming than the last. When I came downstairs in a floral dress, I certainly lightened the mood. It was then that Michael shared with me that legendary musician Chick Corea, who had died earlier in the week, was a close friend of his for many years. And in Chick’s memory, Michael wanted that evening’s jam session to be a tribute to the late jazz pianist.

I think playing for Michael that evening was a little therapeutic. Not only in helping him cope with Chick’s passing, but in proving that music, much like love, can provide a genuine soul connection. Two people from different walks of life, yet able to understand a language that doesn’t need words, can truly inspire each other to fulfill a greater purpose. It is my life’s dream to provide that inspiration to as many people as possible through my music!

Since those Saturday jam sessions at home, I’ve been really busy working on a “special project” that Michael requested of me. In memory of Chick Corea, I’ve been given a book of sheet music from an album Chick recorded aptly titled “Children’s Songs.” Michael thinks it would be a fitting tribute for a child to record this album, and thus far, I’ve already got five songs down pat! This is still a work in progress, but I hope to have these and the remaining songs practiced to perfection by the end of spring. And then it’s off to the studio with Michael once again for a proper recording!

That’s all for now, I look forward to seeing each of you soon! Real, real soon…