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Michael Scherr M’14

Photo: Webb Chappell

Listen to Scherr play a jazz classic.

Coffee Break

Small Talk With Michael Scherr

At 7 years old, with hands finally big enough to play the piano, Michael Scherr began lessons. Thus commenced his lifelong affair with music. In high school, he turned to jazz, forming a band and playing at local events. After college, he played gigs to make ends meet, toured with a rock band for four years, became a dueling pianist, and started a production studio. Now a first-year MBA, Scherr is exploring the next phase of his professional career.

What rock band were you in?  Sons of the Addicted. It was heavy metal with a little bit of reggae and jam feel. We opened up for Def Leppard and Chicago, and all these bands that were huge. We got signed by a record producer who put $100,000 behind us and put us in a studio in L.A., but the album never took off. The band never took off.

What did you do next?  Dueling pianos. It’s two piano players taking requests, bringing people up for their birthdays, and roasting people. So it’s a mix of stand-up comedy, improv, singing, and playing.

Why start a production studio?  An opportunity kind of presented itself. I was working with a producer to co-write some electronic dance music. He was engineering in a studio that wanted to close and sell its gear. So basically for a quarter on the dollar, we got $40,000 worth of gear. At that point, we’re like, well, why not each put in a little money and have a full-size studio? We spent the summer of 2010 building the whole thing ourselves. My partner is running it, and I have a percentage of ownership. It’s making money, but it’s so competitive.

Why come to Babson?  I needed a change. I was turning 30 and wasn’t where I wanted to be musically, which was touring the world or making six figures on licensing deals or recording. As a dueling piano player, you actually can make a good living, but you’re never home. Your nights and weekends are gone. To get anywhere, I needed something else, and a business degree made sense. I’m passionate about cooking and healthy food, so I’m exploring the idea of starting a healthy snack company. I’d also like to work for a socially conscious for-profit or in innovation and design. But I will gig until the day I can no longer play piano.

We have to ask, karaoke song?  I love Dream On by Aerosmith. When I hit those high screams that almost no one can hit, I get a standing ovation. —Donna Coco

 

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