Multi-instrumentalist James A. Norkawich hails from Bridgeport, Connecticut and comes from a musical background. His grandfather, an organist, first got him into the home spinet organ. After receiving his first chord organ, he went onto study piano from the Verrilli Music Studio and specialized in organ under the direction of Frank Markham. Norkawich also became a member of the Connecticut Valley Theatre Organ Society and was accepted into the Regional Center of the Arts in Bridgeport at the age of 16. He also gained experience working with other artists including Rosa Rio, lyn Larsen, Father James Miller, Bob Ralston and Larry Ferrari.
An after-school program, the RCA, had professional musicians and dancers for college credit. By age 17-18, James was performing in front of crowds of thousands and appearing on numerous television programs with the rest of the RCA ensemble. After graduating from high school, Norkawich was awarded a four-year scholarship to the University of Bridgeport and eventually received a full scholarship for his Masters. After college, he went onto perform with acts including Spyro Gyra, Dave Samuels, Brian Torff and many others around the New England area. In his spare time, Norkawich performed at the Covenant Church of Easton as part of their worship ensemble and played at private engagements including weddings.
Following his various studio projects including two Latin Christian albums, his latest endeavor is a genre he describes as “Classical Crossover”, which provides a unique canvas for his many talents. Using classical music as a background for more contemporary sounds, Norkawich collaborates with other musicians to bring a modern spin to a more traditional sound. The result is a complex and lush piano driven wall of sound with infinite room for experimentation and improvisation. The music features classically trained musicians doing both cover songs and traditional songs, but with a new free-flowing nature that presents both the old and the new in such a way that hasn’t really been done before.
“Who Wants to Live Forever” is a brilliant display of the influences and talents that Norkawich possesses, and a great introduction to the idea of Classical Crossover. The haunting piano provides the landscape for the soulful vocals to create an introspective track that is familiar enough to recognize, but different enough to intrigue. Aiming to provide a shot in the arm to an industry that has stagnated in a lot of ways, Norkawich hopes that his music will draw new audiences. He strives to provide listeners with some insight into the very different world that the genre seamlessly brings together.
When putting this single together, Norkawich was looking for a voice that had the creativity of Freddie Mercury, and vocal dynamics of Adam Lambert. Through the Classical Crossover community he asked Tyrone Piper if he would would make a vocal imprint on a Queen classic. You can hear Piper emote the passion and dynamics on this track as a one of a kind piece that fans of all music styles can enjoy. The song speaks volumes but when you hear Norkawich and Piper combined, its amplified to the next level.
“Music is the soundtrack of our lives.”, said Norkawich. He is looking to put his own spin on music we know and love. In this new genre he strives to bring in artists within the genre and work with them in anyway possible. Hoping that Classical Crossover will also lead to writing opportunities, Norkawich plans to distribute his new track for listeners worldwide, and it can already be found on major streaming sites including Spotify and YouTube.