THE SHOW

Ben From Low Key Piano Bar

BEN MURPHY

Ben grew up mostly in the state of Indiana. He was born in South Bend where he started his first piano lessons at the age of nine. His father was a big influence in him starting music. He played a lot of piano and guitar around the house, and was always making up goofy songs that made the family laugh at inappropriate moments. Ben studied classical music during most of his childhood. He excelled at Chopin Etudes, Beethoven Sonatas, and the Brahms Intermezzo series. He also picked up guitar at age 12 and was a member of several garage bands at a young age.

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Ben attended Indiana University School of Music briefly after high school. Soon after, he joined a more serious band and moved to Chicago to pursue a career as a rock star with the band Only Infinity, which had a brief run of success touring the Midwest for about four years. Here, Ben learned to be a performer through several hundred nights in nightclubs and bars. However, bands are like families; they’re difficult to keep together.

After his time in Chicago, Ben moved to Arizona to be with his family. In 2006, he started his venture into the industry of dueling pianos. His vast song knowledge and repertoire made this a perfect fit for Ben’s talents. He has since gone back to school to finish his Music Education degree here in Arizona, with an emphasis on Jazz. Ben’s major musical influences include Frank Zappa, The Beatles, and Billy Joel. Jazz influences consist of Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, and Mulgrew Miller.

Fouad from Low Key Piano Bar

FOUAD MELKI

Fouad Melki was born and raised right here in Tempe, AZ.  Since he was a child he’s always had a passion for entertaining.  He started out singing in choirs and bands, then he moved on to marching band and university percussion, and more recently he’s become a piano bar entertainer.  Over the years he’s performed in many stadiums, stages, halls, clubs, bars and cruise ships in front of tens of thousands of people.  He has collaborated with Broadway stars from shows including Wicked and Rock of Ages.  Fouad first learned of dueling pianos in 2016 when he worked as a piano bar entertainer on Norwegian Cruise Lines.  He’d finish his solo sets and walk downstairs to rock out with the duelers in the Headliners Comedy Club.  After working on ships all of 2016, Fouad moved back to Tempe and found himself jamming at Low Key!

James from Low Key Piano Bar

JAMES T MITCHELL

James was born in Chandler, AZ and currently resides in Tempe. Living in Arizona his whole life is a feat he attributes to plenty of travel and a healthy appreciation for his local friends. He got his first taste of playing music on a piano at his cousin’s house at age 3, and has been hooked ever since. Throughout his schooling days he joined a variety of bands playing trumpet for school, guitar, and anything else he could get his hands on. Besides playing music, he enjoys audio engineering and has recorded bands from all over the West Coast with an affinity for old school analog recording equipment. He’s not afraid to make the electronic “bleeps and bloops” on his laptop for Hip Hop or EDM artists either. With a wide and encompassing taste of music, it doesn’t matter if it’s R &B, Death Metal, or anything in between. James has probably obsessed over it at some point. His favorite aspect of this gig is the constant self-progression and being able to keep a pulse on what is trendy and popular, not to mention being able to have a blast every night. James hobbies include travel, music festivals, skate/snowboarding, and hanging with his dog (Bowie) and cat (Beethoven Von Pretzel-Cheddar)

Julie from Low Key Piano Bar

JULIE SIMPSON

Julie is a true performer with a natural talent for music and creating an exciting and entertaining environment. From Michael Jackson to Miley Cyrus, she captures the sound, the fun, and the passion behind every song she plays. All it takes is Julie listening to a song a few times and she’s able to recreate the instrumental and vocal components, making it a version just slightly her own.

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Julie grew up in Granite City, IL, just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, MO. She began playing the piano at the young age of four and continued growing her musical talent through performing in church. She continued entertaining throughout her teens and became a drummer in band, where, admittedly, she was a “total band dork, and loved every minute of it!”

She began her career as a dueling piano performer in 2001 at the opening of the first Big Bang Dueling Piano bar in Downtown, St. Louis. She became a very dynamic entertainer and was asked to move to Tempe, Arizona in 2002 to open another club as the Entertainment Director and performer.

Now, at Low Key Piano Bar, Julie continues to rock out and provide an awesome experience for everyone every time she takes the stage!

Katrina from Low Key Piano Bar

KATRINA NILSEN

Although Katrina was born and raised in Australia, she has now lived in the States for 20 years. Katrina has been greatly influenced by her mother, who also played at piano bars and in jazz bands when Katrina was young. She took piano lessons till she was a teen but her true passion was singing. Katrina sang in choir during high school, and quickly excelled, often competing at regional and state levels. She also competed in many talent and beauty competitions, where she discovered her love for the stage.

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Katrina attended college in Colorado, and obtained a Bachelor in Fine Arts and a Masters in Architecture. She moved to Arizona in 2016 and soon after discovered Low Key located on the historic Mill Avenue. Inspired by Julie, Mike and Ben, Katrina got behind the piano again and started learning a whole new style of piano, singing and performance.

She may be new to the dueling piano world, but Katrina loves her job and will make sure everybody is clapping, singing and having a great time.

Matthew from Low Key Piano Bar

MATTHEW HAY-ROE

Matthew Hay-Roe comes from Canton, OH and moved to Arizona at age 8. He began playing piano in his preschool class, where his teacher had one for the kids to play. He took private lessons from ages 6 to 14, and loved performing at recitals. Matt joined a professional band during high school, which went on to open for Styx and Smash Mouth. In 2009, Matt joined the dueling piano staff at the Big Bang, and quickly expanded his song knowledge and multi-instrument performance.

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In 2012, Matt moved to Fort Collins to attend veterinary school, where he formed a side project keyboard/drum duo that performed on weekends. He returned to Phoenix in 2016 and is thrilled to be playing with his mentors and best friends!

Matt currently lives in Tempe and is a practicing small animal (dog and cat) veterinarian. His favorite artists are Styx, Muse, Hall and Oates and Guns n’ Roses, and he knows more classic rock than he probably should.

Mike from Low Key Piano Bar

MIKE CLEMENT

Mike got his start playing professionally in St. Louis, MO. At 19 years old, he began playing in bar bands and recording with the diverse St. Louis scene of the late 90’s/early 2000’s. After a 2 year stint in Michigan where he playing in country bands, he returned to St. Louis and immersed himself back into the scene with various original projects, and with dozens of other bands and artists, covering psychedelic rock, funk, pop, new age, and several improvisational groups, playing in every venue and various music festivals in front of thousands of people.

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In 2002 he began his career in dueling pianos with the Big Bang. In late 2003 he continued his dueling career to Tempe, Arizona, playing the hits and bring the house down till the Big Bang closed in 2014. After one year in California, he returned to Tempe and reignited his career with Low Key Piano Bar, where he continues to bring the house down today.

Mike has played all over the country in various formats, as a dueler, an original artist, and in cover bands. His major influences include Bruce Hornsby, Rick Wright (Pink Floyd), Grateful Dead, Billy Joel, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Wonder, Page McConnell (Phish), and everyone who he has personally worked with. You can contact Mike and find his original projects, as well as live recorded Low Key shows at mikeyclement.com.