Ronnie Milsap, Pianist and Singer-Songwriter
4000 Piano & Harp Planar Wave System (4000)
Quote: “There's nothing quite as inspiring as the sound of a Yamaha Grand Piano and no greater challenge than to reproduce it onstage. The Barcus-Berry Planar Wave 4000 faithfully captures the full dynamic and tonal range of my C-7 MIDI Grand and allows me to monitor it at virtually any level without sacrificing fidelity. I can now use "virtual" technology to support my instrument, not replace it! Thank you Barcus-Berry for giving me the best of both worlds!”
Bio: Ronnie Milsap spent the first six years of his life in a small rural town in the Great Smoky Mountains hamlet of Robbinsville, North Carolina before moving to Raleigh to attend a school for the blind -- where he began studying violin and piano, studies he’d continue for the next 12 years. Music’s lure proved powerful for the young Milsap, and while he’d pursued his studies diligently in order to make the grade at law school, a chance meeting with Ray Charles prompted him to take another path that was about to open to him.
“I went to a Ray Charles show while I was in college and somehow they let us backstage,” he recalls. “I was introduced to Ray Charles and I said, “Mr. Ray Charles, you’re my hero. You’re the man I look up to. I emulate your music, but I’m faced with a dilemma. I’d love to be in the music business, but all my advisors tell me I have to have an academic life. So I’m going on to study law and become a lawyer.” And there was a piano in the dressing room, and Ray said, “Well, play me something.” So I played him three songs, and Charles said, “Well, son, you can be a lawyer if you want to, but there’s a lot of music in your heart. If I were you, I’d follow what my heart tells me to do.”
Milsap did just that, recording a handful of singles in Atlanta before moving to Memphis, where he joined forces with super-producer Chips Moman and, by 1969, with Elvis Presley -- for whom he played piano on hits like “Kentucky Rain” and “Don’t Cry Daddy.” Although he was making a name for himself as a versatile studio musician, Milsap was set on being at center-stage, rather than in the supporting cast, a goal he’d achieve by 1974, when he scored his first number-one country single, “Pure Love.”
He’d go on to top the country chart more than a dozen times in the ‘70s, with such enduring hits as “Let My Love Be Your Pillow” and “What a Difference You’ve Made in My Life” -- the latter of which is reprised on Then Sings My Soul with an all-new recording and arrangement. His peers responded just as strongly as the public, awarding Milsap six Grammys and a dozen CMA Awards, including four turns as Male Vocalist of the Year. The success he achieved in the country arena would soon spill over into the pop and adult contemporary realms as well, thanks to universally accessible songs like “I Wouldn’t Have Missed It for the World” and “Any Day Now.”
And even with 40 #1 chart-toppers under his belt -- not to mention avidly-received live shows across the world, Ronnie Milsap is still growing and surprising long-time fans. His newest album Then Sings My Soul: 24 Favorite Hymns and Gospel Favorites, is his first foray into gospel music. The unflaggingly uplifting double-disc finds Milsap revisiting his North Carolina childhood for a collection of songs that capture a remarkable spirit -- one sure to resonate with listeners regardless of their musical and cultural backgrounds.
To find out more about Ronnie Milsap, visit his website: http://www.ronniemilsap.com