Pianist Chloe Flower poses for the picture. Angela Weis/AFP
Artist Chloe Flower won the internet earlier this year after a showstopping performance at the Grammys alongside rap queen Cardi B, who twerked on Liberace's crystal piano.
"I was so scared. I got a fortune cookie the night before, and it was like, 'if you don't take big risk, you won't get any reward," the musician said from her Manhattan apartment
The Juilliard-trained artist, who has been playing since age two, became an overnight sensation, gaining tens of thousands of social media followers within hours and landing a deal with Sony Music.
"My music is purely instrumental. So there are no lyrics — I have to find different ways to express myself.
My style represents my personality but also who I am as an artist.
In 2010 Flower signed with legendary R&B producer Babyface, composing instrumental sequences and gaining producing experience.
Babyface "taught me so much about the back end of music," Flower said, describing learning to use computer software to compose string arrangements and drum beats that could layer under her keys.
Chloe Flower in her Manhattan apartment. Angela Weiss/AFP
She has since worked with Celine Dion, Nas and 2 Chainz.
"It's kind of a road that isn't normal," she said. "It's not like there's so many classical pianist playing like a glass piano with hip hop beats, right? Or producing hip hop tracks to Bach."
But the marriage of classical and rap was natural, Flower said: "I love drums. I love beats. And I love dance."
"What we have to do as instrumentalists and artists — that's not exclusive to the piano, it includes the violin, the flute, and the cello — is for all of us to really think about our music in a different way; in a modern way.
"I always felt like there was no reason I couldn't combine the two, and as I did, I noticed that a lot of people who don't necessarily listen to classical music would text me: 'Oh my god, I was listening to the classical station because of you!"
"What we have to do as instrumentalists and artists — that's not exclusive to the piano, it includes the violin, the flute, and the cello — is for all of us to really think about our music in a different way; in a modern way," she said.
She uses Instagram — where Cardi B discovered her — to promote her work.
"My music is purely instrumental," she said. "So there are no lyrics — I have to find different ways to express myself."
"My style represents my personality but also who I am as an artist."
Chloe Flower poses for a portrait. Angela Weiss/AFP
Flower has an album forthcoming and recently released her first-ever music video, for her latest single "Get What U Get," which showcases her energetic performance style and features a cast of female dancers.
"Part of the reason why kids and adults don't understand or care about classical music is because they don't recognize it," she said. "I think that people think that without lyrics, you can't really understand the music or connect."
But "you can do it in a way that captures them and then add the element of accessibility, which for me was the drums, and it makes it almost like you can work out to it," she said.
"We just need more of me! More instrumentalists," said Flower, flashing a wide smile.
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