In June of 2013, 88 pianos had been strewn throughout the streets of New York, and I set out with the goal of playing them all. I was wondering how to turn the excursion into an artistic project, and the answer came to me while walking through Central Park listening to my favourite song, Nina Simone's I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free: "I'll play the same song on every piano, I thought, and then piece all 88 clips together."
A street piano rookie at the time, I was naive to the nature of the business — lineups, padlocks, broken keys, horribly untuned pianos — as well as to the geography of NYC. Covering the five boroughs in three days, it turns out, was too much for one little man: of the 88 pianos, I successfully played four.
Over the ensuing five years, I would hone the skills that define all the Great street pianists: patience, persistence and, most importantly, IM-perfectionism. I battled sickness, bad weather and boisterous crowds in my artistic pursuit. I sang over police sirens and service announcements. I peddled across Montreal's varied elevations, plodded up and down the avenues and boulevards of Paris, manoeuvred the madness of Manhattan. And I'm done.