By Paul Hair
Stephen Limbaugh wants to be such a good pianist and composer that people will have to hire him if they want to work with the best. And after you listen to his music and read about his work ethic, you might believe he’ll achieve that goal. On top of this, he says he’s working on something “that will literally change the music game going forward.”
Stephen Limbaugh III is a pianist and composer living in Los Angeles. He runs www.StephenLimbaugh.com where you can find out more about him and the music he’s produced. He also sells his music through popular online retailers. “I’ve got lots of GREAT music on iTunes and Amazon,” he said.
His latest single is, “Anchors Aweigh” (Oct. 2017), and his latest full album is, Pants (Jan. 2015).
So how did he end up in this career?
“I started out on piano because my dad plays and is a huge classical music aficionado,” Limbaugh said. “I started at the age of 11 or 12, which is late compared to other concert pianists.”
He clearly loves classical music but he doesn’t limit his tastes to it. “I like any music that is well done. LOVE Tyler the Creator and Kendrick Lamar, even some Kanye West,” he said. “I like those old blues guys who were the real writers of all those Led Zeppelin songs,” he added, listing Cole Porter, Dr. Luke, and Max Martin as three such guys.
Limbaugh also named Gustav Mahler, J. S. Bach, The Killers, Chopin, Schubert, Pink Floyd, John Williams, Hans Zimmer, and Wagner as other musicians he enjoys.
“What I absolutely despise is when people—many on my above list—start ‘phoning it in’ and making bad music just to get a paycheck,” he said. “Or when they let their underlings do ghost writing for them while they’re filming fashion ads or slinging BMWs. The talent that ‘makes it’ gets sucked into making the big bucks. That’s fine, but they neglect the responsibility to the world that God mandated to them when He blessed them with the luck/talent to be where they are. And that responsibility is to push their own artistic boundaries and peel back new layers of this wonderful existence we call life. That said, I think there is an opening for composers like myself to make commercially viable music that is a lot less plastic or dishonest.”
Having an opening to make music is one thing. But being a successful independent artist is tough—extremely difficult in an environment where there are so many others competing to succeed too. It’s a challenge few people are able to overcome.
“For a long time I spent as much time on promoting my music as I did making it,” Limbaugh said when asked about how he promotes and grows his work. “That was a mistake. A few years ago when I decided to focus solely on becoming the absolute best at piano/composing, that’s when my career took off. What was an eight-year series of false starts, it ended when I hunkered down, practiced more, then posted a few cheaply shot YouTube videos where my music and talent could just speak for themselves.”
Limbaugh’s music and talent aren’t the only things speaking. He isn’t shy about voicing political and other beliefs.
“This isn’t necessarily in keeping with the narrative that ‘conservatives are blackballed in Hollywood’ but I think that anyone who hates my political views will be forced to work with me if they want the best music or the best pianist,” Limbaugh said when asked if his political opinions have negatively affected his career. “To that end, I don’t believe I’ve lost any jobs just because I sport a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat.”
But even if he were to lose some jobs, he has plenty of other ones keeping him busy. “Right now I’m working on a documentary film by Mike Cernovich called Hoaxed, which will be released sometime this year,” he said. “After that I plan on writing a concerto for piano and virtual reality orchestra that will literally change the music game going forward. I’ve invented a new method of integrated composing/mixing/orchestrating that wasn’t technologically possible until now. It will take me months and months to complete.”
Fans and music aficionados who are looking forward to Stephen Limbaugh’s new work can satisfy their ears for now by listening to and purchasing the music he already has out. And you can follow him online via Twitter (@StephenLimbaugh) and Instagram (@stephenlimbaugh) in addition to his website. But you won’t be able to “friend” him.
“I permanently deleted my Facebook in December to focus more on music instead of ‘crushing liberals’ on the internet,” he said.