Meet The Art Week Artist | Melvin Coleman Jr. (he/him) aka Mr. Goldshine
Updated: Jun 11
Melvin Coleman Jr. (Mr. Goldshine) is an American-born and Iowa-based classical/contemporary pianist, keyboardist, and composer. A graduate of the University of Iowa, Coleman was one of the founding members of the Soul Crusaders and the Goldfunk band of Des Moines, Iowa in the 1970s. In 1974, Melvin opened for Chaka Khan and in 1994 he opened for The Pointer Sisters. Coleman has adopted a variety of musical directions in a five-decade career that continues to keep him at the forefront of many major stylistic developments. A unique pianist, he creates an exciting and soulful concert experience.
For Art Week Iowa 2023, Coleman Jr. will be the live pianist in a multimedia collaboration by Iowa Art Week Inaugural Fellows Jill Wells and Cameron Gray at xBk Live entitled: Black Trailblazers in Art and Film Get Their Flowers at Art Week 2023 - Immersive Black Cinema + Art. He will be paying homage to iconic Black performers throughout history, with intro and outro piano melodies to each film.
When did you first start playing the piano?
"I started taking piano lessons when I was eight years old. My piano teacher was Adelle Ewing. My piano teacher was a Holocaust survivor and she told me how her family survived. I lost my father two days after JFK was assassinated and she was a support for me. She was a piano teacher from East High and she had 30 students. She asked how far I wanted to go and I told her that playing piano took the pain away from the loss of my Father. She saw my potential and moved me up to the baby grand piano. I took piano lessons from her for 13 years."
Do you have a favorite pianist and if so, who?
"When I play Beethoven, he is my favorite. Moonlight Sonata is my favorite! I started out playing classical and started playing contemporary when I was a teenager with a group called Soul Vibrations and we played all the Motown Music."
What was it like growing up in the music scene in Iowa?
"Sports was also a big part of my life and the only way I could play football is if I went to piano lessons. My mother also always told me to treat people the way I want to be treated, with love and kindness. Music is in my blood, it is the gift God gave me. Most of the songs I play have a meaning and a story for the community."
What are the benefits of music in a community?
"We all have a history and the most important thing is that if you don't know where you came from, you don't know where you are going. Music can be a beacon of light that moves over the past and shines the way forward. If we bring the light to our hearts the world would be a better place to live. For me, in my life now and with my music, it is about the generations to come. Our leadership needs to pass the torch on, if we don't pass the torch the flame is going to go out."
Where does the name Mr. Goldshine come from?
"Mr. Goldshine comes from a group I was in called Goldfunk. I said, I'm gonna funk to the shine, ya know! It's like...I can take an old, used, dirty car and make it look brand new. This name is an expression of life. I think music, and art can be an expression of life. How you see the world, even with a happy or sad face. Art is created from the soul. Art is the expression of who we are. Hopefully, it can even be positive even if it is a sad face. Art is love and love is art."
What does it mean for you to be part of Art Week Iowa 2023?
"If you are not giving, you are not living. I am talking about being kind, asking people how you are doing, and praying. I am happy to give my music to Art Week and have a funky good time!"
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