In terms of musicians who compose and play their own music, I have four favourites.
(I know, I never seem to have just one.)
1. Joe Hisaishi (Mamoru Fujisaw)
Admittedly, I would never have discovered such a great composer if I weren't so into Studio Ghibli films. Joe Hisaishi is probably most well known for his collaborations with Hayao Miyazaki, and has composed a list of different songs for several of Miyazaki's animations. You can get a YouTube playlist of Hisaishi's work here. Of course, I couldn't pass the chance of introducing you guys to one of my favourite pieces. It comes from Spirited Away, is called 'One Summer's Day', and is one of my all time favourites:
2. Ludovico Einaudi
I think a lot of people have probably heard Einaudi's work, but have been unaware that they belong to him. If that makes sense. 'Nuvole Bianche' is probably one of his most famous pieces:
3. Yiruma (Lee Ru-ma)
Yiruma (in my opinion) seems to be more well known in the Asian community. I had never actually heard of Yiruma, or any of his music, until I started hanging out with more Asians and sharing the music that we liked. 'River Flows In You' and 'Kiss The Rain' seem to be universal favourites, but my personal favourites are 'Moonlight' and '27. May'. 'Moonlight' was actually composed by Brian Crain, and was made famous through Yiruma's performances of this piece, so I guess that doesn't really count? '27. May' is special to me for several reasons; one is that this is my birthday, but there are other more important reasons which I won't go into.
For Yiruma, the 27th of May is an important date because it is his wedding anniversary.
You can see Yiruma's YouTube playlist here.
4. Yuki Kajiura
I was introduced to Yuki Kajiura through one song, which has become an eternal favourite of mine. Believe it or not, this song makes me want to cry.
I feel like all these composers are capable of creating and performing emotional and relevant music, which is a far cry from most of the nonsense music in the music industry today. When it comes to music, I prefer songs that you can relate to, with lyrics that make sense, or songs that actually make you feel something. I guess I'm quite serious when it comes to music.
Have you heard of any of these composers before? Who are your favourite musicians?