By RICK WATSON
When Michael Dulin and his wife, Jan, the assistant principal at Edgewood Elementary, were vacationing in Highlands, N.C., in 2003, he experienced an “aha” moment. The Alabama School of Fine Arts and Birmingham-Southern graduate had attended the Juilliard School and studied with master teacher and concert pianist Adele Marcus. He had co-owned and operated PolyMusic Studios in downtown Homewood. But he had never recorded solo piano music.
“It seemed that every shop we went in to had soft solo piano music playing in the background,” he said. “When we got to the checkout line, the ‘Now Playing’ CD was there for sale.”
I’m a partner in a recording studio, he said to himself, I can do this. So he went home and wrote enough original music to record his first CD. It was successful enough that he recorded and released three more CDs of original music – a CD of Christmas music, two classical CDs with his arrangements, and a CD of George Gershwin music.
The classically trained pianist composes original solo piano music that transcends borders and language to reach audiences around the world.
Thanks to the Internet and modern technology, people in Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and other countries around the world as well as here in America can tune in with their computers, phones, and other devices to listen to his music.
“The internet has created a marvelous way for someone who is an independent composer to reach people all around the world,” Dulin said.
And each time one of his songs plays anywhere in the world, he gets paid a royalty.
Dulin tours several times a year, playing mostly small venues of 200 seats or less around the country, but when he’s home he’s working with business partner Dan Whiteside at PolyMusic Studios on 19th Street in downtown Homewood.
His latest CD, Timeless II, is one of 20 on the first ballot for the Grammys that will be decided in December. If he makes it to the second round, he will be nominated for the award itself.
Even when the venues are small, Dulin expands his email list so that the next time he’s in the area, he can notify his fans. Again he’s using technology to build his fan base and reach more people.
In 2006, he toured for six months with The Temptations. When their regular keyboard player was unable to tour with the group, Birmingham native Big John Taylor, then the leader of the brass section for the iconic group, recommended Dulin. Touring with The Temptations was a great experience, but it took more time than he expected so he had to bow out.
Regardless of the musical credit to his name, the most important thing he wants people to know about him is that he’s a Christian. “Any talent I have is a gift from God,” he said.
You can hear Michael Dulin’s music on Pandora Radio, Spotify, and most other Internet radio providers or download his music from iTunes, Rhapsody, and other digital download sites. CDs and sheet music are available on michaeldulin.com.