Musically Composed and Creative ~ Steve Rawlins Music



Steve Rawlins is an American musician, composer, arranger, musical director, and author. He's also an extremely kind person who is very gifted at his craft. Steve has managed to turn his passion into a fledging career. He works with different artists, takes on unique and challenging projects, and is constantly learning by working with various talented creatives on his travels.

Music is his world and he definitely has appreciated the learning process along his journey.


Steve's Work

He produced the single Angelito (Angel Baby), recorded by Isela Sotelo on Motown Latino Record and chartered on Latin Billboard's Hot 100 in 1982. He has arranged music for various recording artists, including Smokey Robinson, Bette Midler, Chaka Khan, Anna Danes, and Lainie Kazan. Steve has also arranged music for the Academy Awards, the Emmy Awards ceremony, and multiple television shows, including "The Crazy Ones," "24," and "Jeopardy. " Rawlins has also performed throughout the U.S. as well as internationally, including Carnegie Hall, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and served as music director for such artists as John O'Hurley, Lainie Kazan, Steve March Tormé Anna Danes, Shea Arender, and the Wonderful Wizard of Song-The Music of Harold Arlen.


How Did It Begin?

When Steve was eleven years old, he located to California with his family. His parents frequented live CBS variety television show tapings as part of the audience. They sat next to the orchestra, which influenced Rawlins in choosing a career as a professional musician. Also, his parents purchasing a piano, Steve had a natural gravitation towards music and everything it embodies.


When Steve had a moment, he spoke with Gemma Magazine about his desire to compose and arrange music, his love of working with others, and how he had made music a full-time gig. So, let's get started!


Did you always know that you wanted to be a musician? I know you started playing early with the piano and the trumpet.

My parents wanted to have a piano in the house for the kids. Instead of buying a used or cheaper one, my father thought if they were going to get a piano, they should get a good one - so they went to Steinway and Sons on 57th St in NY and bought a Steinway upright that now is at my daughter's home. I started playing at age five and had natural gravitation and a good ear.


Do you feel that attending the CBS tapings with your parents influenced you becoming a musician? I attended my first CBS taping at age 11, and by then, I wanted to be a musician. Watching all those great shows and performers only reinforced my belief.


What are some of the earliest arrangements that you have written?

I arranged some brass choir pieces while in junior high school- Lorna Luft (Judy Garland's daughter) was the singer with my high school's big band when I was in the 10th grade. I remember writing arrangements of "Didn't We" and "Stormy" for her when those were new songs.





Did you start learning formally in college? I attended California University at Northridge for one semester in 1972. However, I didn't like it - It was still mandatory to avoid the draft, which Richard Nixon ended just before the election.


My parents wanted to have a piano in the house for the kids. Instead of buying a used or cheaper one, my father thought if they were going to get a piano, they should get a good one - so they went to Steinway and Sons on 57th St in NY and bought a Steinway upright that now is at my daughter's home. I started playing at age five and had natural gravitation and a good ear.

What did you specifically focus on in college?

Fortunately, I studied with the well-known composer/arranger Sammy Nestico at Pierce Junior College after that one semester at Northridge for the next two years and learned many advanced orchestration applications.


How did you like playing keyboards in the band that you toured with? I have yet to do many long tours; when I was 19, I played in a top 40 band throughout western Canada - enormous fun, beautiful country, and my first real time being on my own. About 15 years ago, I played a 2-month tour throughout the US - beautiful venues, all first class but too long for me to be away from home. I do several days, primarily at a time or at least two weeks. I enjoy the opportunity to travel.





What was the Merv Griffin experience like? I was in my early 20s, so it was an excellent opportunity to learn from many people—the musicians in the band, the staff, and several guests. Jack Sheldon (one of the trumpet players in the band) recommended me to Benny Goodman to write several arrangements for a Carnegie Hall concert, which was quite a thrill.


Can you explain the creative process of composing/arranging music? Arranging is generally done by assigning. Knowing the style, key, tempo, ensemble size, etc., is essential. Composing is usually a process of sitting at a piano - starting playing, and seeing what happens.


Is there one artist that stands out when you work together? That would probably be Steve March-Torme, (Mel Tormé's son). We have very similar musical sensibilities. Here's a big band arrangement I wrote for the two of them. https://youtu.be/l2lSbO8LHwo


What is it like arranging music for awards and television shows? How do you even know where to begin? The times I've arranged for award shows, I knew how large of an orchestra I would be writing for and was assigned different pieces of music with the style and timing already decided. So, not much different than other projects.


To keep up with Steve Rawlins, follow him on his social media platforms:

https://www.facebook.com/steve.rawlins.104

https://www.instagram.com/stevenrawlinsmusic/







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