Never Settle Stories - An Interview With Karim Kamar

  1. Ard
    Social Staff Member Nov 19, 2019

    Ard , Nov 19, 2019 :

    Hey everyone,

    Chances are if you’re reading this you’ve probably heard about the OnePlus Phone Piano. During the big reveal two weeks ago, there was no shortage of buzz, wonder and even a smattering of bemused looks.

    The OnePlus Phone Piano had a simple mission: to bring our community closer together and inspire connections through music. Studies have shown that doing this can release feel-good endorphins in the brain, which fosters social closeness.

    Naturally, we had to find a talented pianist to bring all of this to life as we took the Phone Piano on the road to cities across Europe. Enter Karim Kamar, a gifted musician and YouTube sensation, who had the mighty task of getting to grips with the Phone Piano, as well as showcase its musical prowess to the Community and general public alike.

    Born and raised in London, Karim is a contemporary classical pianist and composer who has performed at major venues including The Royal Albert Hall, The Jazz Café, Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club (a personal favourite of mine) and The Forge.

    I caught up with him as he prepared to leave Paris for the town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber in Germany.

    How long have you been playing the piano?

    I started having lessons when I was 10, nothing too serious, a few lessons here and there. Then I stopped playing altogether, went to college and then university. So, between the ages of 17 and 23 I didn’t really play the piano.

    Then I picked it up again when I was 23, before quitting my job that I had at the time, to become a full-time musician. I also started teaching kids and students how to play the piano. So, all in all, I’ve been a professional musician for about 7 or 8 years.

    What was your first reaction when you heard about our Phone Piano?

    Nervous excitement! My second thought was: ‘could this even be playable on a flat surface?’ My mind was literally going through all the things you’d have to overcome with a piano made of smartphone screens. That included whether I could play a piece on it, no matter how much practice I got in!

    Having said that, I was excited to see it and eager to rise to the challenge.

    How long did it take you to get used to the Phone Piano?

    We initially had about two weeks, but there were a lot of adjustments and recalibrations to things such as the tray size, making sure the 17 individual phones were positioned precisely where we wanted them to be and so forth.

    After that, we only really had three days left – so I spent the time running scales up and down to get used to the spacing, and then practicing the piece I was going to play.

    It took a bit of time getting used to where you could – and could not – put your fingers because the keys are slightly bigger than a normal piano. With the Phone Piano, I had to stretch my hands a lot more, although I quickly realised the phone screens were super-responsive to touch and provided instant feedback.

    What were you most surprised by?

    Actually, it worked just how I imagined it would – and it was cool seeing all the devices working in unison. The technology is fascinating, and it’ll be interesting to see if, and how, it evolves in the future. So maybe we’ll see a OnePlus Phone Piano Mk II!

    What is your relationship with technology? Are you  tech savvy?

    I like to think I’m very tech savvy as I use a whole manner of computers and tech to record and film. I’m always on my laptop, always recording in the studio, so there’s a bunch of hardware I have to be able to use and understand.

    What has been the most memorable experience on the European tour?

    Playing near the Eiffel Tower, even though it started raining! And seeing people in the area showing a lot of interest in what we’re doing. Also, at Bankside in London, we had a lot of people running up to the piano and wanting to try it for themselves.

    I’ve definitely had loads of fun! Taking the Phone Piano on the road has been great – and seeing the crowds interact and get really involved.

    What do you hope people take away from this experience?

    I hope people will look at their own technology in a whole new light especially in terms of connectivity. This experience has demonstrated just how advanced smartphones are now. Not only can you link them up to create musical instruments, but you can connect people in really imaginative ways. And, of course, I hope they had a great deal of fun too!

  2. YRJ
    Lollipop Nov 19, 2019

  3. StopItRawr
    Honeycomb Nov 19, 2019

    StopItRawr , Nov 19, 2019 :
    Sounds rather romantic the way you put it! :p

    I can't imagine how much this thing would've cost to put together. I wish I was able to see it in person.

  4. YRJ
    Lollipop Nov 19, 2019

    YRJ , Nov 19, 2019 :
    Stop-it-rawr :tearsofjoy::tearsofjoy: XD

  5. StopItRawr
    Honeycomb Nov 19, 2019

    StopItRawr , Nov 19, 2019 :
    Well think about it.

    You met as strangers.

    Karim serenaded you with his amazing piano skills.

    You're now swooning.

    Sounds pretty much like a love story to me! :) And why not, he's really, really good!


  6. #6
  7. Starcommander
    Lollipop Nov 19, 2019

    Starcommander , Nov 19, 2019 :
    Lol XD

    B.I.T.S. likes this.
  8. MosheG1
    Ice Cream Sandwich Nov 19, 2019

  9. YRJ
    Lollipop Nov 19, 2019

    YRJ , Nov 19, 2019 :
    Nice story. :rolleyes:
    Bollywood could make a movie on that. :p

    BTW, I appreciate his talent that's it :tearsofjoy:

    rameshshreyas likes this.
  10. StopItRawr
    Honeycomb Nov 19, 2019

    StopItRawr , Nov 19, 2019 :
    And you've got the piano for the composition!

    I'm kidding of course, but still, it's great to see artists like this inspiring people.

  11. YRJ
    Lollipop Nov 19, 2019

    YRJ , Nov 19, 2019 :
    Lol! :tearsofjoy:
    Indeed. He plays it well :)

    rameshshreyas likes this.
  12. Giriprasath
    Gingerbread Nov 19, 2019

  13. Mohammadalisha
    Eclair Nov 20, 2019

  14. Martin_VN
    Honeycomb Nov 20, 2019

  15. SaidAmmar
    Froyo Nov 20, 2019

  16. vincent.liu
    Froyo Nov 20, 2019

  17. michelin
    Gingerbread Nov 20, 2019