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Biography

Eric Johnson’s stature as one of the premier guitar
players in contemporary music is his artistic trump
card, backed by a Grammy Award and five nominations,
platinum album, Top 10 hits like “Cliffs Of Dover,”
praise from critics and the esteem of his peers.
But the full hand of his talents marks him as well as
a gifted songwriter, dynamic live performer, singer,
pianist, song interpreter, and creator of a rich and
diverse musical legacy.
His myriad and distinctive musical gifts are vividly evident
on Johnson’s aptly titled new album, Up Close,
released on his own Vortexan Music label via EMI
... Read more

Eric Johnson’s stature as one of the premier guitar
players in contemporary music is his artistic trump
card, backed by a Grammy Award and five nominations,
platinum album, Top 10 hits like “Cliffs Of Dover,”
praise from critics and the esteem of his peers.
But the full hand of his talents marks him as well as
a gifted songwriter, dynamic live performer, singer,
pianist, song interpreter, and creator of a rich and
diverse musical legacy.
His myriad and distinctive musical gifts are vividly evident
on Johnson’s aptly titled new album, Up Close,
released on his own Vortexan Music label via EMI
Distribution. The new 15-track disc finds the noted
master craftsman cutting loose, roaming through
variations on the rock, blues, pop, country and jazz
all found at the core of his sound, pushing the dynamic
range of his artistry, and mixing it up with
such friends and peers as guitarists Jimmie Vaughan
and Sonny Landreth and guest singers Steve Miller,
Johnny Lang and Malford Milligan.
“I decided to let go a bit and allow things to happen
and just go with the flow,” explains Johnson of
his approach to the album. “I think that’s a direction
that works better for any artist, and especially for
me. I like my work to have a high proficiency, but I
also wanted to go for the energy and magic of the
performances.”
That vitality and vivid musicality brims from such
hook-filled numbers as the hard-rocking instrumentals
“Fat Daddy” and “Vortexan” and the driving vocal
song “Brilliant Room” (sung by Milligan). “Gem” is
splashed with bright and painterly six-string colors,
“Soul Surprise” finds Johnson weaving a picturesque
tapestry of both his guitar and piano gifts, and “Arithmetic”
summons up a swirling and spectral kaleidoscope
of guitars, keyboards and Johnson’s singing.
His early years and influences are explored on the
Mike Bloomfield/Buddy Miles-composed blues
song “Texas” (from the 1968 Electric Flag album A
Long Time Comin’) on which Miller sings and Johnson’s
and Vaughan’s guitars engage in stirring interplay,
and “Austin” (sung by Lang), which looks back to
his teens in his hometown as a budding player and
avid music fan who would be allowed to slip underaged
into music nightclubs and “go sit in the back
and listen to bands.” “On The Way” is a delightful
Texas meets Tennessee twang romp, and “A Change
Has Come To Me” opens with a six-string nod to
Jimi Hendrix (a prime Johnson influence) that carries
through the track as it burgeons into a celebration
of the pleasures of the deep and soulful groove.
Interstitial instrumental snippets like the spellbinding
Indian music-flavored opener “Awaken” and the
dreamlike “Traverse” and “The Sea And The Mountain”
plus “Change (Revisited)” weave the collection
together. And Johnson caps the CD with the uplifting
grace note of “Your Book” on which he and Landreth
interweave their playing (including Johnson’s
stately piano work) with emotive elegance.
The lyrical themes of reflection, emotional revelations,
personal growth and fulfillment are underscored
on the album by Johnson’s most daring, urgent,
progressive and at times raw and fervent guitar
work to date. With its sonic immediacy (thanks to a
mix by engineering legend Andy Johns) and openhearted
musicality and songwriting, Up Close truly
lives up to its name as Johnson continues to forge
fresh and compelling new dimensions of his artistry.
Johnson leapt to the forefront of contemporary
music some 20 years ago as “an extraordinary guitar
player accessible to ordinary music fans,” as theMemphis Commercial Appeal hails him, with his
landmark million selling 1990 album Ah Via Musicom.
Lauded as a “recording [that] has reached near-classic
proportions within the guitar community” by All
Music Guide, it was preceded by dedicated groundwork
as a live performer that marked him as a talent
bound for great things. And it’s been followed by a
diverse and fascinating musical journey that inspired
The New Age Music Guide to rave that “Eric Johnson
plays guitar the way Michelangelo painted ceilings:
with a colorful vibrancy that’s more real than
life.”
His many achievements include being enshrined in
Guitar Player’s Gallery of Greats and named one
of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of the 20th Century
by Musician magazine alongside numerous other
awards. He also enjoys the admiration of many of his
fellow players and has performed and/or recorded
with such notables as Chet Atkins, Steve Vai, Joe
Satriani and others, and follows the release of Up
Close with an acoustic Guitar Masters tour sharing
the stage with six-string masters Peppino D’Agostino
and Andy McKee. He was tapped by Eric Clapton
to appear at the 2004 Crossroads Guitar Festival
and plays his second stint of the Experience Hendrix
tour in fall 2010. He has paid homage in song to such
players as Jerry Reed (“Tribute to Jerry Reed” on his
album Bloom), fellow Texan Stevie Ray Vaughan (the
Grammy-nominated track “SRV”) and Wes Montgomery
(who Johnson saluted in his Ah Via Musicom
song “East Wes”), and boasts both a signature Fender
Stratocaster electric and Martin MC-40 acoustic
guitar. “Cliffs of Dover” is featured in the video
game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock as the final
winning challenge. And in addition to his recordings,
tours and DVDs under his own name, Johnson also
plays with his side project Alien Love Child, which
released an in concert album in 2000, Live and Beyond,
that earned an instrumental Grammy nomination
for the song “Rain.”
Even before his breakthrough with Ah Via Musicom,
Johnson made his indelible musical mark with his
1986 first album release Tones. It landed him on the
cover of Guitar Player magazine, which hailed the album
as “a majestic debut,” and earned him his first
Grammy nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance
with the track “Zap.” Ah Via Musicom won
Johnson a Grammy for “Cliffs Of Dover,” which was
one of his record three Top 10 instrumental hits from
a single album alongside “Trademark” and “Righteous.”
Following three years of concerted touring
that established him as a continuing popular concert
attraction, Johnson recorded Venus Isle, which on
its release in 1996 garnered him another Grammy
nomination. In 1998, his previously unreleased first
album recording from 1976, Seven Worlds, was finally
issued. A limited-release collection of demos,
outtakes and live tracks, Souvenir, hit the streets in
2002. His most recent studio album, 2005’s Bloom,
yielded a fifth Grammy nomination.
Johnson’s success over the last 20 years was presaged
by a grassroots rise in which he made his
bones and burgeoning reputation as a formidable
musical talent and player since he first became a local
sensation in the Austin clubs as a teen with the
psychedelic rock band Mariani. Trained on classical
piano as a youth, he switched to the guitar after the
stateside arrival of the Beatles in 1964. As a young
player he delved deeply into blues, jazz, country and
other styles that inform his music. By the mid-1970s,
Johnson began touring and sparking a buzz about his
astonishing talents in the jazz-rock outfit Electromagnets,
whose recordings and a live TV performance
from that era were released in the 1990s to critical
acclaim. He cut his teeth in the studio on sessions
for Cat Stevens, Christopher Cross and Carole King,
and by 1984 his stature in Texas and beyond was so
strong that the unsigned artist was tapped to make
his first appearance on the prestigious PBS concert
show “Austin City Limits.” At the urging of such stars
as Cross and Prince, Johnson was signed to a major
label deal with Reprise Records and emerged onto the international recording scene.
His dynamism as a live performer is captured on the
2008 DVD Anaheim as well as the 2005 DVD/CD
release of his second “Austin City Limits” show in
1994, Live From Austin, Texas. His 1996 G3 tour with
fellow guitarists Joe Satriani and Steve Vai yielded
a best selling album and platinum DVD, G3: Live in
Concert.
Johnson’s eminence as a musical artist goes well beyond
just his stunning guitar mastery. His keen compositional
sense and lyrical playing create instrumentals
that speak to listeners and convey thoughts,
emotions and imagery, and Up Close also spotlights
his singing and sure way with words. “It really boils
down to the music and the song at the end of the
day,” he explains. “If it doesn’t have that it gets boring
for me.”
On his new release, “I wanted to bare myself a little
further and show myself more,” says Johnson. “As
you evolve as a person and artist, you reach forks
in the road where you look at what it is you really
want in life and to bring out in yourself and thereby
affect other people. What’s most important to me
is to grow as a person, and because of that, I want
my music to also grow and have more of a profound
meaning and impact.” And Up Close finds Eric Johnson
continuing to expand his artistry with compelling
and enriching results

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

Eric Johnson’s stature as one of the premier guitar
players in contemporary music is his artistic trump
card, backed by a Grammy Award and five nominations,
platinum album, Top 10 hits like “Cliffs Of Dover,”
praise from critics and the esteem of his peers.
But the full hand of his talents marks him as well as
a gifted songwriter, dynamic live performer, singer,
pianist, song interpreter, and creator of a rich and
diverse musical legacy.
His myriad and distinctive musical gifts are vividly evident
on Johnson’s aptly titled new album, Up Close,
released on his own Vortexan Music label via EMI
Distribution. The new 15-track disc finds the noted
master craftsman cutting loose, roaming through
variations on the rock, blues, pop, country and jazz
all found at the core of his sound, pushing the dynamic
range of his artistry, and mixing it up with
such friends and peers as guitarists Jimmie Vaughan
and Sonny Landreth and guest singers Steve Miller,
Johnny Lang and Malford Milligan.
“I decided to let go a bit and allow things to happen
and just go with the flow,” explains Johnson of
his approach to the album. “I think that’s a direction
that works better for any artist, and especially for
me. I like my work to have a high proficiency, but I
also wanted to go for the energy and magic of the
performances.”
That vitality and vivid musicality brims from such
hook-filled numbers as the hard-rocking instrumentals
“Fat Daddy” and “Vortexan” and the driving vocal
song “Brilliant Room” (sung by Milligan). “Gem” is
splashed with bright and painterly six-string colors,
“Soul Surprise” finds Johnson weaving a picturesque
tapestry of both his guitar and piano gifts, and “Arithmetic”
summons up a swirling and spectral kaleidoscope
of guitars, keyboards and Johnson’s singing.
His early years and influences are explored on the
Mike Bloomfield/Buddy Miles-composed blues
song “Texas” (from the 1968 Electric Flag album A
Long Time Comin’) on which Miller sings and Johnson’s
and Vaughan’s guitars engage in stirring interplay,
and “Austin” (sung by Lang), which looks back to
his teens in his hometown as a budding player and
avid music fan who would be allowed to slip underaged
into music nightclubs and “go sit in the back
and listen to bands.” “On The Way” is a delightful
Texas meets Tennessee twang romp, and “A Change
Has Come To Me” opens with a six-string nod to
Jimi Hendrix (a prime Johnson influence) that carries
through the track as it burgeons into a celebration
of the pleasures of the deep and soulful groove.
Interstitial instrumental snippets like the spellbinding
Indian music-flavored opener “Awaken” and the
dreamlike “Traverse” and “The Sea And The Mountain”
plus “Change (Revisited)” weave the collection
together. And Johnson caps the CD with the uplifting
grace note of “Your Book” on which he and Landreth
interweave their playing (including Johnson’s
stately piano work) with emotive elegance.
The lyrical themes of reflection, emotional revelations,
personal growth and fulfillment are underscored
on the album by Johnson’s most daring, urgent,
progressive and at times raw and fervent guitar
work to date. With its sonic immediacy (thanks to a
mix by engineering legend Andy Johns) and openhearted
musicality and songwriting, Up Close truly
lives up to its name as Johnson continues to forge
fresh and compelling new dimensions of his artistry.
Johnson leapt to the forefront of contemporary
music some 20 years ago as “an extraordinary guitar
player accessible to ordinary music fans,” as theMemphis Commercial Appeal hails him, with his
landmark million selling 1990 album Ah Via Musicom.
Lauded as a “recording [that] has reached near-classic
proportions within the guitar community” by All
Music Guide, it was preceded by dedicated groundwork
as a live performer that marked him as a talent
bound for great things. And it’s been followed by a
diverse and fascinating musical journey that inspired
The New Age Music Guide to rave that “Eric Johnson
plays guitar the way Michelangelo painted ceilings:
with a colorful vibrancy that’s more real than
life.”
His many achievements include being enshrined in
Guitar Player’s Gallery of Greats and named one
of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of the 20th Century
by Musician magazine alongside numerous other
awards. He also enjoys the admiration of many of his
fellow players and has performed and/or recorded
with such notables as Chet Atkins, Steve Vai, Joe
Satriani and others, and follows the release of Up
Close with an acoustic Guitar Masters tour sharing
the stage with six-string masters Peppino D’Agostino
and Andy McKee. He was tapped by Eric Clapton
to appear at the 2004 Crossroads Guitar Festival
and plays his second stint of the Experience Hendrix
tour in fall 2010. He has paid homage in song to such
players as Jerry Reed (“Tribute to Jerry Reed” on his
album Bloom), fellow Texan Stevie Ray Vaughan (the
Grammy-nominated track “SRV”) and Wes Montgomery
(who Johnson saluted in his Ah Via Musicom
song “East Wes”), and boasts both a signature Fender
Stratocaster electric and Martin MC-40 acoustic
guitar. “Cliffs of Dover” is featured in the video
game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock as the final
winning challenge. And in addition to his recordings,
tours and DVDs under his own name, Johnson also
plays with his side project Alien Love Child, which
released an in concert album in 2000, Live and Beyond,
that earned an instrumental Grammy nomination
for the song “Rain.”
Even before his breakthrough with Ah Via Musicom,
Johnson made his indelible musical mark with his
1986 first album release Tones. It landed him on the
cover of Guitar Player magazine, which hailed the album
as “a majestic debut,” and earned him his first
Grammy nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance
with the track “Zap.” Ah Via Musicom won
Johnson a Grammy for “Cliffs Of Dover,” which was
one of his record three Top 10 instrumental hits from
a single album alongside “Trademark” and “Righteous.”
Following three years of concerted touring
that established him as a continuing popular concert
attraction, Johnson recorded Venus Isle, which on
its release in 1996 garnered him another Grammy
nomination. In 1998, his previously unreleased first
album recording from 1976, Seven Worlds, was finally
issued. A limited-release collection of demos,
outtakes and live tracks, Souvenir, hit the streets in
2002. His most recent studio album, 2005’s Bloom,
yielded a fifth Grammy nomination.
Johnson’s success over the last 20 years was presaged
by a grassroots rise in which he made his
bones and burgeoning reputation as a formidable
musical talent and player since he first became a local
sensation in the Austin clubs as a teen with the
psychedelic rock band Mariani. Trained on classical
piano as a youth, he switched to the guitar after the
stateside arrival of the Beatles in 1964. As a young
player he delved deeply into blues, jazz, country and
other styles that inform his music. By the mid-1970s,
Johnson began touring and sparking a buzz about his
astonishing talents in the jazz-rock outfit Electromagnets,
whose recordings and a live TV performance
from that era were released in the 1990s to critical
acclaim. He cut his teeth in the studio on sessions
for Cat Stevens, Christopher Cross and Carole King,
and by 1984 his stature in Texas and beyond was so
strong that the unsigned artist was tapped to make
his first appearance on the prestigious PBS concert
show “Austin City Limits.” At the urging of such stars
as Cross and Prince, Johnson was signed to a major
label deal with Reprise Records and emerged onto the international recording scene.
His dynamism as a live performer is captured on the
2008 DVD Anaheim as well as the 2005 DVD/CD
release of his second “Austin City Limits” show in
1994, Live From Austin, Texas. His 1996 G3 tour with
fellow guitarists Joe Satriani and Steve Vai yielded
a best selling album and platinum DVD, G3: Live in
Concert.
Johnson’s eminence as a musical artist goes well beyond
just his stunning guitar mastery. His keen compositional
sense and lyrical playing create instrumentals
that speak to listeners and convey thoughts,
emotions and imagery, and Up Close also spotlights
his singing and sure way with words. “It really boils
down to the music and the song at the end of the
day,” he explains. “If it doesn’t have that it gets boring
for me.”
On his new release, “I wanted to bare myself a little
further and show myself more,” says Johnson. “As
you evolve as a person and artist, you reach forks
in the road where you look at what it is you really
want in life and to bring out in yourself and thereby
affect other people. What’s most important to me
is to grow as a person, and because of that, I want
my music to also grow and have more of a profound
meaning and impact.” And Up Close finds Eric Johnson
continuing to expand his artistry with compelling
and enriching results

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

Eric Johnson’s stature as one of the premier guitar
players in contemporary music is his artistic trump
card, backed by a Grammy Award and five nominations,
platinum album, Top 10 hits like “Cliffs Of Dover,”
praise from critics and the esteem of his peers.
But the full hand of his talents marks him as well as
a gifted songwriter, dynamic live performer, singer,
pianist, song interpreter, and creator of a rich and
diverse musical legacy.
His myriad and distinctive musical gifts are vividly evident
on Johnson’s aptly titled new album, Up Close,
released on his own Vortexan Music label via EMI
Distribution. The new 15-track disc finds the noted
master craftsman cutting loose, roaming through
variations on the rock, blues, pop, country and jazz
all found at the core of his sound, pushing the dynamic
range of his artistry, and mixing it up with
such friends and peers as guitarists Jimmie Vaughan
and Sonny Landreth and guest singers Steve Miller,
Johnny Lang and Malford Milligan.
“I decided to let go a bit and allow things to happen
and just go with the flow,” explains Johnson of
his approach to the album. “I think that’s a direction
that works better for any artist, and especially for
me. I like my work to have a high proficiency, but I
also wanted to go for the energy and magic of the
performances.”
That vitality and vivid musicality brims from such
hook-filled numbers as the hard-rocking instrumentals
“Fat Daddy” and “Vortexan” and the driving vocal
song “Brilliant Room” (sung by Milligan). “Gem” is
splashed with bright and painterly six-string colors,
“Soul Surprise” finds Johnson weaving a picturesque
tapestry of both his guitar and piano gifts, and “Arithmetic”
summons up a swirling and spectral kaleidoscope
of guitars, keyboards and Johnson’s singing.
His early years and influences are explored on the
Mike Bloomfield/Buddy Miles-composed blues
song “Texas” (from the 1968 Electric Flag album A
Long Time Comin’) on which Miller sings and Johnson’s
and Vaughan’s guitars engage in stirring interplay,
and “Austin” (sung by Lang), which looks back to
his teens in his hometown as a budding player and
avid music fan who would be allowed to slip underaged
into music nightclubs and “go sit in the back
and listen to bands.” “On The Way” is a delightful
Texas meets Tennessee twang romp, and “A Change
Has Come To Me” opens with a six-string nod to
Jimi Hendrix (a prime Johnson influence) that carries
through the track as it burgeons into a celebration
of the pleasures of the deep and soulful groove.
Interstitial instrumental snippets like the spellbinding
Indian music-flavored opener “Awaken” and the
dreamlike “Traverse” and “The Sea And The Mountain”
plus “Change (Revisited)” weave the collection
together. And Johnson caps the CD with the uplifting
grace note of “Your Book” on which he and Landreth
interweave their playing (including Johnson’s
stately piano work) with emotive elegance.
The lyrical themes of reflection, emotional revelations,
personal growth and fulfillment are underscored
on the album by Johnson’s most daring, urgent,
progressive and at times raw and fervent guitar
work to date. With its sonic immediacy (thanks to a
mix by engineering legend Andy Johns) and openhearted
musicality and songwriting, Up Close truly
lives up to its name as Johnson continues to forge
fresh and compelling new dimensions of his artistry.
Johnson leapt to the forefront of contemporary
music some 20 years ago as “an extraordinary guitar
player accessible to ordinary music fans,” as theMemphis Commercial Appeal hails him, with his
landmark million selling 1990 album Ah Via Musicom.
Lauded as a “recording [that] has reached near-classic
proportions within the guitar community” by All
Music Guide, it was preceded by dedicated groundwork
as a live performer that marked him as a talent
bound for great things. And it’s been followed by a
diverse and fascinating musical journey that inspired
The New Age Music Guide to rave that “Eric Johnson
plays guitar the way Michelangelo painted ceilings:
with a colorful vibrancy that’s more real than
life.”
His many achievements include being enshrined in
Guitar Player’s Gallery of Greats and named one
of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of the 20th Century
by Musician magazine alongside numerous other
awards. He also enjoys the admiration of many of his
fellow players and has performed and/or recorded
with such notables as Chet Atkins, Steve Vai, Joe
Satriani and others, and follows the release of Up
Close with an acoustic Guitar Masters tour sharing
the stage with six-string masters Peppino D’Agostino
and Andy McKee. He was tapped by Eric Clapton
to appear at the 2004 Crossroads Guitar Festival
and plays his second stint of the Experience Hendrix
tour in fall 2010. He has paid homage in song to such
players as Jerry Reed (“Tribute to Jerry Reed” on his
album Bloom), fellow Texan Stevie Ray Vaughan (the
Grammy-nominated track “SRV”) and Wes Montgomery
(who Johnson saluted in his Ah Via Musicom
song “East Wes”), and boasts both a signature Fender
Stratocaster electric and Martin MC-40 acoustic
guitar. “Cliffs of Dover” is featured in the video
game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock as the final
winning challenge. And in addition to his recordings,
tours and DVDs under his own name, Johnson also
plays with his side project Alien Love Child, which
released an in concert album in 2000, Live and Beyond,
that earned an instrumental Grammy nomination
for the song “Rain.”
Even before his breakthrough with Ah Via Musicom,
Johnson made his indelible musical mark with his
1986 first album release Tones. It landed him on the
cover of Guitar Player magazine, which hailed the album
as “a majestic debut,” and earned him his first
Grammy nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance
with the track “Zap.” Ah Via Musicom won
Johnson a Grammy for “Cliffs Of Dover,” which was
one of his record three Top 10 instrumental hits from
a single album alongside “Trademark” and “Righteous.”
Following three years of concerted touring
that established him as a continuing popular concert
attraction, Johnson recorded Venus Isle, which on
its release in 1996 garnered him another Grammy
nomination. In 1998, his previously unreleased first
album recording from 1976, Seven Worlds, was finally
issued. A limited-release collection of demos,
outtakes and live tracks, Souvenir, hit the streets in
2002. His most recent studio album, 2005’s Bloom,
yielded a fifth Grammy nomination.
Johnson’s success over the last 20 years was presaged
by a grassroots rise in which he made his
bones and burgeoning reputation as a formidable
musical talent and player since he first became a local
sensation in the Austin clubs as a teen with the
psychedelic rock band Mariani. Trained on classical
piano as a youth, he switched to the guitar after the
stateside arrival of the Beatles in 1964. As a young
player he delved deeply into blues, jazz, country and
other styles that inform his music. By the mid-1970s,
Johnson began touring and sparking a buzz about his
astonishing talents in the jazz-rock outfit Electromagnets,
whose recordings and a live TV performance
from that era were released in the 1990s to critical
acclaim. He cut his teeth in the studio on sessions
for Cat Stevens, Christopher Cross and Carole King,
and by 1984 his stature in Texas and beyond was so
strong that the unsigned artist was tapped to make
his first appearance on the prestigious PBS concert
show “Austin City Limits.” At the urging of such stars
as Cross and Prince, Johnson was signed to a major
label deal with Reprise Records and emerged onto the international recording scene.
His dynamism as a live performer is captured on the
2008 DVD Anaheim as well as the 2005 DVD/CD
release of his second “Austin City Limits” show in
1994, Live From Austin, Texas. His 1996 G3 tour with
fellow guitarists Joe Satriani and Steve Vai yielded
a best selling album and platinum DVD, G3: Live in
Concert.
Johnson’s eminence as a musical artist goes well beyond
just his stunning guitar mastery. His keen compositional
sense and lyrical playing create instrumentals
that speak to listeners and convey thoughts,
emotions and imagery, and Up Close also spotlights
his singing and sure way with words. “It really boils
down to the music and the song at the end of the
day,” he explains. “If it doesn’t have that it gets boring
for me.”
On his new release, “I wanted to bare myself a little
further and show myself more,” says Johnson. “As
you evolve as a person and artist, you reach forks
in the road where you look at what it is you really
want in life and to bring out in yourself and thereby
affect other people. What’s most important to me
is to grow as a person, and because of that, I want
my music to also grow and have more of a profound
meaning and impact.” And Up Close finds Eric Johnson
continuing to expand his artistry with compelling
and enriching results

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

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