Welcome to my website! My name is Jon-Michael, and I was born and raised in Birmingham, AL. I am an accountant, professional pianist, YouTuber, blogger, motivational speaker, church pianist, adjunct professor, and founder of a foundation aimed at enriching the lives of people with dwarfism.
I am a people person, thoroughly enjoying time traveling, spending time with family and trying out the newest restaurants. My music career has taken me all around the country, and thanks to iTunes, Amazon, YouTube, Spotify and Apple Music, my music is also enjoyed in over 150 countries every single month! I am incredibly blessed enough to do all of this by the age of 37, while standing only 3’8” tall. I have quite a story to tell, and I'm honored and humbled that you're wanting to hear more about it.
Where It All Began
I started playing the piano at the age of three, which actually was before I learned how to walk. My brother placed me on the piano bench after finding me in the piano room, and I was able to start playing chords. The day after my fourth birthday, I began taking lessons at Samford University, which is where I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees (in accounting) and where I would return to teach Personal Finance as an adjunct professor.
I never excelled at reading sheet music. I would listen to my piano teacher play what was on the page and then use my ability to play by ear to learn the song, rather than read the sheet music. I did not have pedal extensions at the time, so I had to sustain the notes with my fingers rather than a sustain pedal. Also, my hands are too small to reach an octave or more, so what I played never sounded exactly the way it should have. I was able to quit lessons after ten years, which ironically is where my love for piano really took off.
I began building my repertoire of songs that I learned entirely by ear, as well as developing my own style of music, where my hand size was not holding me back. At the age of 18, I began playing professionally at a restaurant and then a country club, where I still play weekly today. In my younger days, I would play the piano four to six nights per week, but as my day job provided more income, I was able to be more selective about the gigs that I took. During this time, I was releasing both physical and digital albums, back when CD's were a thing.