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10 years on

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Docklander - February 2016

04 Feb 2016

Docklander - February 2016 Image

Play it again Sam

If you’ve ever walked through Harbour Town Shopping Centre, then chances are you’ve heard Sam Kristy’s piano tunes.

A regular fixture at a cafe there, Sam has become a local identity in Docklands after more than two years of performing.

“I really enjoy connecting with the audience and passers by,” Mr Kristy said. “My aim is to touch their hearts.”

With no formal training and unable to read music, it may come as a surprise to you that Mr Kristy has a repertoire of more than 6000 songs, ranging from Mozart to Lady Gaga, all played by memory.

“Music is instinctive with me,” Mr Kristy said. “I have a really good ear for hearing stuff and repeating it.”

He first began to tap the keys as a 10-year-old when he came across a piano while visiting friends.

Starting out with nursery rhymes, Mr Kristy said: “It was an automatic thing, I just realised I could pick up a tune.”

His father, who had immigrated to Australia from Cyprus looking for a better life for his family, didn’t support musical pursuits, believing they would never lead to a steady job.

“My father, being a newly-arrived migrant, the last thing he wanted was for his boys to be musicians,” Mr Kristy said.

However, when Sam was 15, his father bought a piano – a decision he quickly came to regret.

“When we got it home, I started to really madly play it,” Mr Kristy said. “But three weeks later he took it away.”

With the piano locked in a spare room, Mr Kristy’s mother used to sneak him the key so he could practise when his father was out of the house.

“Whenever I heard the car door close, the piano lid would open.”

Having performed in hotels and other venues throughout university, the final crossroads came when Sam completed his studies.

After studying law and aiming to work as a mediator, his father offered to support him to establish his own business, but only if he gave up the piano.

It was at this point Mr Kristy decided to continue to pursue his love for music and performing, despite the costs.

While he understands his father’s reasoning, having grown up in poverty in Cyprus, for Sam the love of music was too strong.

He continued to perform and now describes himself as a professional pianist, composer, director and producer. He’s currently working on a musical.

And of course, for three days a week, from Friday to Sunday, Mr Kristy is resident pianist in Docklands.

“This has been great for me,” Mr Kristy said of performing in Docklands. “I’ve built up a huge following and have many repeat returns.”

While he enjoys performing in Docklands, Sam said he would love to see a greater arts presence in the area.

“That’s how Docklands will connect with people’s minds and hearts,” he said.

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