Get to know Jazz Fellowship Awards Finalist Kris Bowers


We are pleased to introduce you to KRIS BOWERS, one of the five Finalists for the American Pianists Association’s 2014 – 2015 Jazz Fellowship Awards presented by REI Real Estate Services.

Kris Bowers_Photos

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Los Angeles.

Are you from a musical family?

Not really. In my immediate family, neither of my parents are musicians, but my little brother does play sax, and is really coming along. Outside of my immediate family, I’ve got a cousin who raps under the name Murs and is pretty well known, and an uncle that sings and used to do a lot of Broadway. But other than that, that’s pretty much it.

What attracted you to the piano/can you play any other instruments? 

My parents, although they’re not musicians, actually decided before I was born that they’d like me to play the piano. So in the beginning, it was chosen for me, but I grew to love it pretty quickly.

Unfortunately, I can’t play anything else. I’ve been trying to teach myself guitar, but it’s incredibly frustrating being new at an instrument all over again! I need to get a bit more diligent with my practicing. I pick it up from time to time, but then get frustrated and stop playing it for weeks. One of these days though…

What age were you when you started to play the piano? 

I was about 4 when my parents put me in Suzuki lessons, and then when I was around 8, I began private lessons.

Kris Bowers 2

How do you deal with the pressure and being on stage? 

I don’t get phased too often. Every now and then for solo piano shows, or some of my early shows as a band leader, I’ll get a bit anxious, but for those, I just take a few deep breaths and pace a lot backstage.

Favorite venue?

Hard to say. In New York, Jazz Standard might be my favorite.


Biggest musical influence? 

Probably Herbie Hancock. Not only has he heavily influenced my playing, I also admire how he’s excelled in other areas such as film composing, performing/creating other styles of music, and his humanitarian work.

herbie hancock

What is an ordinary day like for you?

When I’m not on tour (which is pretty rare these days), I try to get up pretty early and start my day responding to a few emails, having a good breakfast, and going on a quick run. The rest of the day is most likely spent writing music for some upcoming project and practicing.

When I’m on the road, it’s pretty much the same routine, although I rarely have the chance to practice on tour. I also usually have a handful of days of sleeping very little, followed by a day of sleeping almost an entire day away. Then that cycle repeats.

What type of music do you listen to?

A lot. These days, it’s anything from old blues stuff like Blind Willie McTell and Willie Dixon, to film scores, some old rock like Hendrix or Zeppelin, folk music like Bob Dylan, old R&B and funk like Stevie, MJ, and Earth Wind and Fire, or current artists like James Blake, Laura Mvula, Everything Everything, CHVRCHES, Chance the Rapper, Kanye, Kendrick Lamar, St. Vincent, Bon Iver, Grizzly Bear, etc. I could go on for a while. And I’m still discovering new music every day!

Favorite restaurant(s)?

Just recently, I went to this Italian spot called Sauce in the LES for the first time. It’s definitely one my favorites now.


Favorite movie(s)?

The Godfather and Coming to America.

Favorite TV show(s)?

Breaking Bad, The Cosby Show, and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Fresh Prince of Bel Air

Favorite color?

These days, black.

Favorite season?


Favorite vacation destination?

Sevilla, Spain

Interesting facts about yourself?

I do a bit of film composing.

I’m lactose intolerant.

Kris Bowers and the other 4 Finalists (Christian Sands, Sullivan Fortner, Emmet Cohen & Zach Lapidus) will return to Indianapolis to perform at The Jazz Kitchen for the Semi-Finals presented by Barnes & Thornburg on Friday, March 27, 2015 and at Hilbert Circle Theatre for the Finals presented by Ice Miller on Saturday, March 28, 2015.


TICKETS: 317.940.9945 |


Author: americanpianistsassociation

The mission of the American Pianists Association is to discover, promote and advance the careers of young, American jazz and classical pianists.

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