Phillip Mills: A Great Inspiration

It was about a year ago that I found out about Phillip Mills, an amazingly talented Piano player. I was searching for Jim Brickman's videos on Youtube, mainly his live performances recorded by any audience. I am a HUGE Jim Brickman fan, and I think his music was the closest thing to heaven that I have heard through my ears. I stumbled upon a video where Phillip Mills had an opportunity to play in one of Jim's concerts. There was a short interview introducing Phillip, and there and then I was awe-struck, because the interview, and what Phillip has accomplished did make me think and reflect on my own life and choices that I have made.

Here is the short interview, and then Phillip played "Timeless" from Jim Brickman's Escape album. It was one of my favourites, and Phillip played it so well, perhaps even better than Jim himself. Everytime I watched this video, I shed a few tears !!

Do take some time to check out Phillip Mill's music:

Not much later after that I discovered that Phillip and myself are born on the exact same day. We share the same birthday (26 December 1984). Another coincidence? Maybe, but it sure was interesting to find another person at your same age (more disturbingly on the exact same birthday) already accomplishing such great heights, and more importantly, doing something he loves doing, and being so passionate about.

We both started to discover Jim Brickman at about the same age, 17 years old. Philip heard his first Jim Brickman's music through Delilah Radio show, while I heard mine through the Catz FM in Sarawak, Malaysia. I remembered one of the radio DJ's had an interview with Jim through phone and not only I immediately fell in love with Jim's music, but also his personality and how he composed himself, answering the DJ's questions with so much warmth. Much like Philip did after he discovered Jim's amazing piano music, I too, started digging more and more about Jim. I remembered going to the CD store opposite the place I stayed without my parents' knowledge and used my lunch savings (in coins) to buy a Jim Brickman's album in cassette (I could not afford a CD). The album was Destiny. The cashier spent about 10 minutes counting all the coins I poured out onto the counter desk. My parents would kill me if they knew I spent my money so recklessly. But you know, it was Jim Brickman !!

After immersing myself in Jim Brickman's music, I told myself I must learn piano and play like Jim one day !! Being able to pour out so much emotion and feeling through music is surely a talent worth more than anything in the world, in my opinion. I envy those who are gifted in music, either vocally or being able to play musical instruments well. There was that spark in me, that wanting to learn and be able to play piano well. There was a time I wanted to be like Jim Brickman !! I was young of course, and everything seemed possible. 

Now, the difference between me and Phillip? He made the bold choice, he put in all his heart, all his mind and soul into piano, and in just seven years, he was already playing in Jim Brickman's concert. If you ask me, that is one dream come true !! That must have been one of the happiest and proudest moments for Phillip. 

I started to think, how and what I could have been, if I truly put everything into what I do. Surely great things will come, but persistence, perseverance and much hard work are needed, along with sacrifice and time. I did not make it in piano at all (perhaps it is not too late to start now?) but I did take an unexpected, and interesting twist in my life: getting involved in photography just four years ago. I am not exactly in a place where I can proudly say I have achieved my dreams and accomplished great heights, but I do feel like things are moving at the right pace, and the right direction. I have seen how determination and passion have brought Phillip that far. I only hope one day, the turn will come to me.

There are many people whom I want to meet in life, and Phillip Mills has just made it into my list. To Phillip, if you are reading this, thanks so much for your wonderful work, you have been an immensely great inspiration for me to be more passionate about what I am doing. I wish you all the best in whatever you do, and I sure hope to have the privilege and honor to photograph you one day !!


  1. Robin, thanks for enlightening me about Phillip Mills! Your video player rolls through many of Phillip's songs. I listened to several of them with my headphones on, and really liked it!

    I always admire how musicians don't need to look at their hands, or read the music. It just flows from their consciousness to their instruments. Phillip obviously feels the music that he is playing!

    I played piano for 8 years, when I was very young. I especially liked playing Beethoven. I think it helped me with my math skills later, and as a result I eventually became an electrical engineer. Although I never became an excellent piano player, I was good enough to "feel" the music flow from my brain to my hands (after I had practiced the song many times).

    Oh, by the way, I visited his site, and left a note to make sure that he checks out your blog post today. I'm sure that others have already done that too. Best wishes!

    1. Thanks Gregg for the kind gesture, really appreciate it !!
      I think playing piano somehow unlocks part of the mind's potential, people who play piano can see some things very differently. I am not sure how true this is, but I was told playing piano needs both right and left brains to function simultaneously !!
      I do intend to pick up piano, but I want to make sure I have enough time dedicated for it. My life at this moment does seem a little busier than usual. One day, would surely love to be able to play piano like Phillip. As you have described, just "feel" the music and let it flow out !

  2. Hi Robin,
    I wonder if it is also a function of one's "village". If one is raised up (like me) in a under-developed society, there is more emphasis for survival. One is usually not encouraged to become artists. I heard someone says "I am a soldier now so that my children can become farmers so that their children can be poets."

    1. Hey Santo,
      In my case, though I love music, but I did not have the initiative to pick it up (the choice has always been mine). Nonetheless, I also did not have the "push" or encouragement from the environment I grew up in either.
      There surely will be a lot of "what ifs" but hey, we decide where we are going in the future !! I want to believe it is not too late for me to start playing piano !! I did pick up photography rather late, but I want to think I am catching up just fine !

  3. Music lover, huh. Very good! Music has the ability to influence the soul, and makes the creative juices flow. If you like excellent guitar players too, check out Alex van Voorst and Jan Akkerman. Two superb players. Alex plays in Malaysia too, sometimes.

    1. Thanks for the suggestions Andre. My heart yearns for piano !

  4. I too am a photographer who loves great music. If you've never heard the great Errol Garner, you ain't heard nothin yet. He literally dances on the keyboard with his fingers and doesn't even pay attention to his fingers! Do check this out and tell me what you think........

    Christian ( hope you can open this, I'm not all that savy about web stuff )

  5. Thanks! great experience.