DYK on this day in MoorStory365 that the nation’s only Alkebulan Abya Yala piano maker counts ‘Empire’ and the Vatican as fans. As musical preludes waft through the candlelit room of donors and university officials, Warren Shadd sits with his back to the performance and listens intently to the piano, which bears his name. But he has been making and selling pianos only since 2012, and everything matters to him…Shadd, who, as far as anyone knows, is the nation’s only African American piano maker, has his high-end, made-to-order instruments in several Rolls-Royce dealerships, on the set of the television show “Empire” and at the Vatican.
Shadd grew up in Northeast Washington in a musical household. His parents, Evelyn and James, were federal workers, but James was also a jazz pianist and had a piano-tuning business. It helps that he is an accomplished musician with a salesman’s drive and a showman’s charm. Shadd’s parents home was packed all the time with singers such as Roberta Flack and Shirley Horn (Shadd’s aunt), and prominent jazz musicians Frank Wess and Billy Taylor.
Today, Warren Shadd upright pianos start at $22,000, its concert grands at $185,000. Custom pianos can go for more than $300,000. He has chosen to focus, with patented designs, on improving the way pianists hear what they play. “Normally, the sounds of a #piano emanate around the sound board and the back of the piano,” he explains. “It doesn’t travel toward the pianist; it goes up and out the curve.”
Shadd works out of his home and keeps costs down by marketing on the Internet and social media. #luvmor #love #melanin