By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Pianist-songwriter Jim Brickman has captured the essence of livestreamed shows.
After 50 performances over Christmas, Brickman is playing cupid this Valentine’s Day weekend with shows that benefit U.S. theaters, including the Wengler Center for the Arts at Pepperdine University. “Share the Love Live!” will livestream Friday, Feb. 12, to Sunday, Feb. 14.
“It’s funny what we all get used to after a while,” he said. “I kind of like this. In some ways, it’s even more intimate. I can actually see people. When I play in a theater, I don’t see people when I look out. It’s all darkness.
“I’m also not used to seeing people at their homes. ‘Intimate’ is the only word I can think to use.”
He said fans and their families can enjoy the virtual concert experience from the comfort of home, while supporting the arts during this challenging time. Attendees can customize their concert experience with special merchandise or even a personal meet-and-greet with Brickman after the show.
Joined by special guests Olivia Newton-John and her daughter, Chloe Lattanzi, Brickman is expected to perform songs like “Love of My Life,” “Destiny,” “Angel Eyes” and “Valentine.”
“I always play the hits,” he said. “People can also make a request or dedication when they buy the ticket.
“Also, I’m going to have Olivia Newton-John make an appearance. I was on tour with her for a while and we’ve done a lot of music together. She has a new album, and she sang ‘Valentine’ on one of my TV specials.”
Brickman’s requests aren’t limited, sometimes, to music. One of his oddest requests — one he did not fulfill — happened at ASU Gammage in Tempe, Arizona.
“One person brought a live dove to one of my concerts,” he said. “They wanted me to release the dove when the guy got on his knees to propose. I thought that was pretty odd.”
Brickman is a best-selling solo pianist with 22 No.1 albums and 34 Top 20 radio singles in Billboard magazine. He has garnered two Grammy nominations, gospel music’s Dove Award, two SESAC Songwriter of the Year Awards, and the Canadian Country Music Award. He also has a music scholarship named for him by his alma mater, the prestigious Cleveland Institute of Music.
Brickman is one of pop-music’s most fascinating success stories. He jumped from a career as a jingle writer of famous tunes for advertising, to reviving the romantic standard of the popular song. His first album release was 1995’s “No Words,” and he has gone on to sell 8 million albums worldwide.
He has written three best-selling books, starred in five TV concert specials, and is in the 22nd season of hosting the syndicated radio show, “The Jim Brickman Show.”
After living in Studio City for 25 years, Brickman returned to his hometown of Cleveland.
“Studio City is definitely where my career was developed,” he said. “It was partly to be closer to my family. My mom’s in Chicago. I thought it would be better to be closer.”
Wanting the best for people is just part of Brickman’s mission.
“I like to do anything that makes people feel more emotional about the way they feel about someone,” he added. “I think so much of what is in my music is what we hope for and what we want things to be.”
But Brickman explained his shows aren’t just for those involved in a romantic relationship. Parents and friends can enjoy the music as well.
“When I would play these Valentine’s Day shows, I would notice a lot of people say, ‘I don’t have anyone to go with.’ It puts that pressure on reminding somebody they don’t have a valentine that year.
“I feel, for me, it’s about love for your family and friends, your community, your kids, your parents. What’s happening now is people who live apart from their parents have been giving the gift of the show to somebody in another town and they see them on Zoom. That’s been kind of cool. I get to hear some of the conversations between them before the show starts like, ‘Hi mom. Happy Valentine’s Day,’ and they’re talking with each other. Other people start talking to them and it’s cool. I feel like that’s a lot of what it’s accomplishing.”
Jim Brickman: Share the Love Live
WHEN: Various showtimes Friday, Feb. 12, to Sunday, Feb. 14
WHERE: Digital concert performance
TICKETS: jimbrickman.com/share-the-love-experience and, to support Pepperdine, use the code “lovepu”