Jim Brickman knows billing his holiday show "On A Winter’s Night" as warm and inviting is a bit of a risk, but the pianist, who will perform Tuesday at The Orpheum, 200 N. Broadway, is prone to take chances when it comes to his music.
"I feel like people are afraid to say warm and inviting because it sounds like it’s going to be boring," he said. "But if you’ve seen us in concert before or know what we’re about, you know it’s very lighthearted and there’s really a charm to it. I feel like the space I’ve carved out is emotional and romantic, simple with lots of emotional connection, which I feel is synonymous with the idea of gathering friends together on a winter’s night."
The niche that Brickman’s gentle, sentimental style fills is not over-populated with competitors. While still working on the commercial side of music, Brickman began recording his original pieces in the studio for his own benefit.
"I just wanted to see how it sounded," he said. "And then I thought, well I’d listen to this. I really believed that there was a place for this."
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Labels, however, were not quite so sure.
"I believed in it enough and had enough confidence in the product itself, but that’s a hard place to be," he said. "You turn into a salesman for yourself. You have to convince other people. And record labels would say, ‘Wait, you’re just going to play? You don’t sing? There’s no band? Just you?’ ”
Eventually though, Brickman’s belief in his pop-style instrumental works paid off.
Since his 1994 debut "No Words," he has sold 7 million records and been responsible for chart-topping hits such as "Valentine," "The Gift" and "Simple Things." Brickman, known for his collaborations, has teamed up with the likes of Lady Antebellum, Martina McBride, Kenny Loggins, Carly Simon, Michael Bolton, Donny Osmond and Olivia Newton-John.
"Instead of following, I think you have to create a place for yourself," he said.
It’s something the award-winning artist strives to do with his annual holiday concert as well.
As opposed to a solely Christmas-song laden setlist, Brickman prefers to mix in his own hits with the seasonal sounds.
"I figure you can see an exclusive Christmas show at your church, school, the mall, listen to it on the radio," he said. "And I love that kind of thing. ... But I’m fortunate to have hit songs, and I’m not exclusively a Christmas artist. And my music fits well with the spirit of the season, it naturally fits. So the show’s about half and half, erring a little more on the Christmas side."
The show also has a theatrical quality to it, Brickman said.
"It’s almost like going to a Broadway show."
Joining the pianist on stage are guest artists Luke McMaster, Tracy Silverman and Anne Cochran.
"I especially like that I get to do this with my friends," he said. "It’s like we’re hanging out, only people are watching. It’s very much a communal event. We’re having an experience and an open dialogue. I resent when I watch TV and an interview of movie stars and they say, ‘We had such a good time.’ I’m not trying to say something like that. I’m not saying, ‘Oh it’s such a good time and you’re excluded from the club.’ The audience is very much included in the club"