MEET MICHAEL BOROWSKI
There are so many pathways to becoming a professional musician. Some are happenstance, some through direct, or indirect, influence, some are coincidence, and then there is the direct route. A person is introduced to music at an early age and, like a seedling, it takes root and blossoms into a lifelong love affair. One that culminates in the goal of bringing the person's music, the very melody of his/her soul, to the world, as if driven by compulsion. This, the latter, is how Michael Borowski came to release his first album, Peace Valley, to the world in the fall of 2020.
Like so many others, Michael received piano lessons as a young boy (he started formal lessons at the amazing age of only four years old). Lucky for him, his mother was a piano teacher, although not his. However, her presence early on as an active agent of encouragement no doubt had a massive impact on him persevering through the rigors of what may seem like (to children) endless practice lessons. As Michael himself recounts "She was not my main teacher, but she helped me with my lessons. I wouldn't be where I am musically if not for her."
Michael's dreams of becoming a professional pianist became even more solidified over time, including a special concert he attended with his mother. "…I really can’t remember ever wanting to do anything else. Seeing George Winston live at the Academy Of Music with my mom when I was a young boy solidified that dream for me." However, from that point on, the pathway to the present was, of course, not always a straight line. "I studied Suzuki piano…until I graduated high school with Glorianna Sewell of Milford Square Music Studios. I went on to study music composition and piano performance at Temple University in Philly with Dr. Maurice Wright (composition) and Dr. Charles Abramovic (piano)… in college I started playing with various bands…becoming attracted to 'Jam Bands' and I became sought after as a piano player for studio work. I’ve performed and recorded with countless bands and artists [and] performed steadily with the Grateful Dead tribute band, Splintered Sunlight since 2001. I only recently started branching off into solo piano work, which was always my first true love."
Everyone who knows an "aspiring" professional musician realizes that they need to pay the bills, and that can take many forms, as Michael recalls in his case. "I’ve done everything from landscaping to painting houses, managing a guitar studio, to playing Billy Joel's 'Piano Man' over and over again in piano bars. I also dabbled in teaching, but I did not inherit that skill from my parents."
In 2020, Michael gained the attention of Windham Hill Records founder and Grammy winning producer/artist, Will Ackerman. The result of Will's interest was a trip to Ackerman's Imaginary Road Studios in rural Vermont where Michael recorded Peace Valley. It was a dream come true for the pianist to be working with Will, whose work as an artist and a producer was an early and major influence on shaping Michael's music. Peace Valley features eleven original compositions by Michael as well as his interpretation of one of Will Ackerman's signature pieces, "The Bricklayer's Beautiful Daughter."
Presently, Michael resides in the Philadelphia area with his wife and a son. Besides his music, he maintains an avid interest in beekeeping, selling a jar of honey now and then, admitting that if music wasn't his profession, the bees would be an interesting venture to explore. In addition, Michael is passionately involved with finding a cure for Alzheimer's disease, which sadly claimed his mother after her heroic twelve-year battle with this terrible illness. He notes "I spend a lot of time fundraising and Volunteering for the Alzheimer’s Association."
In Michael's own words, from this stage in his life, it's "Onwards and Upwards."