Podcast: LETS TALK...With ThisFunktional

Jun 17, 2020

Award-winning pianist raises funds, spirits with America's only nightly online piano bar for charity


Clayton's music has been featured on radio (including NPR, CBC, and Jazz FM) and TV (Dateline NBC, Keeping Up With The Kardashians)

When the COVID-19 lockdown came into effect nearly three months ago, award-winning Jazz pianist Jim Clayton wanted to use his downtime constructively.

So he began Facebook live-streaming a nightly piano bar from his home, to raise funds for various North American charities. And what came next was entirely unexpected.

Over the past 88 (and counting) nights in a row, Jim Clayton's Piano Bar has jumped from 250 followers to over 25,000, with listeners across North and South America regularly tuning in for Clayton's deep catalogue of jazz, pop, originals, and Great American Songbook standards (he knows over 500 songs from memory).

Many have credited the nightly show with helping their emotional wellbeing during COVID isolation. 
"Instead of asking for tips, I encourage viewers to donate to an important social cause," Clayton said. "I'm always sure to provide a direct link to the charity's funding page 
"Instead of asking for tips, I encourage viewers to donate to an important social cause," Clayton said. "I'm always sure to provide a direct link to the charity's funding page — this way folks know their money is going directly to the source, and not funneled through some piano guy working out of his living room."
With social distancing now the new normal, Jim Clayton's Piano Bar has quickly become a welcoming online community, where friends and strangers gather to take in Clayton's performances, hear their favourite requests in real time, and socialize with each other on the chat feature.

Online audiences have become particularly fond of Clayton's banter and stories, which are often infused with the sharp sense of humor he developed over a decade spent touring with the legendary Second City comedy theatre. 
"I'd say our biggest goal right now is to further spread the word on the piano bar," Clayton said. "It's been amazing to see borders and cultures come together through this mutual love of music, all while raising money for some important causes in the process."
Lenny Clayton, Jim Clayton. (Photo by Tracey Nolan)

Jim Clayton Bio:
Jim has spent over 25 years as a professional musician, and what a trip it's been so far: six albums, three national awards, and hundreds of international performances for everyone from expats in Asia to our troops in Bosnia. Jim's music has been heard around the world on radio (including NPR, CBC, and Jazz FM) and television (Dateline NBC, E!'s Keeping Up With The Kardashians). His recording act, The Clayton/Scott Group, was twice named 'Group of the Year' at Canada’s Smooth Jazz Awards, and picked up ‘Best Jazz Recording’ at the Canadian Urban Music Awards.

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