Hi, I'm Niko Kotoulas
Global Concert Pianist & Producer
My Story (and what it means for you)
I’d like to share my story with you about my life, how I became massively obsessed with playing the piano, and how I started teaching people how to play using my methodology.
1993 - Born as a musical nerd
I was born right outside New York City into a family of Greek immigrants. The first words I uttered were not mom or dad, it was do-re-mi and that’s when my parents knew they needed to buy me a piano. I was also a nerd and wanted to use computers as soon as possible.
1995 - Falling in love with piano
At the age of 2, I began listening to songs on the radio and playing the melody on a child’s keyboard. The little keyboard to the left of the big one was the one I used as a child. You can tell my pure joy from music in this photo and it would be something I would hold on for the rest of my life.
2008 - Practice and diversification
As most people dropped out of piano lessons, I started learning to play all genres including classical, hip-hop, indie, new-age, EDM, everything. I skipped lunch 4 out of 5 days a week to practice in the chorus room.
I joined bands, choruses, and any other music activity in school. I also enjoyed playing basketball and was pretty good at it so these were my two passions growing up.
2012 - Studying under the pros
I attended Johns Hopkins University where I could do everything I loved – play piano and basketball. This is where I further developed my knowledge of music studying under some of the top classical composers in the world.
2013 - Silver lining
Everything seemed to be going well until this setback happened. I ruptured my foot, was told my recovery may never be 100% and I may never be able to competitively play basketball. I used this time to work on music even further and keep on my school work.
2014 - Releasing my first album
While I couldn’t play basketball, I created a YouTube channel for my music, released my first album on Spotify and focused on getting my first internship at Morgan Stanley. If I never endured this injury, I probably would have never started my YouTube channel or released my first album. I guess you could use the cliche “everything happens for a reason”.
2016 - Side hustle
I graduated from JHU and worked as an investment banker at Morgan Stanley. Instead of going out on most weekends, I stayed in and worked on my music. Over the span of two years, I released 200 piano covers garnering a total of 15MM streams while concurrently working 60-100 hours a week at my “day-job”.
2017 - The turning point
My music started to blow up on Spotify after landing on the Offiicial Acoustic Calm playlist. I started getting opportunities to perform at large venues on the weekends including the one pictured. Telling my boss I was flying out to Mexico to perform was 3,000 people was a funny conversation. It was even better when someone interrupted a meeting I was in to let me know the Chainsmokers reposted me playing piano on Instagram. Good times. I knew that I would have to explore music full-time or forever regret the consequence.
2018 - Leaving Wall Street to pursue music
While everyone always talks about leaving their job to pursue their passion, I actually did it. Yes, it was cool to say, but in reality I was back to square zero. I left New York City and the appeal of working on Wall Street to return home and live with my parents, with my income coming from royalty checks.
While I had a business plan, my first realization was that I needed to learn how to produce music, not just play piano. I worked on this relentlessly (10 hours a day, 6 days a week), and it paid off. This would be a skill that would make me more valuable wherever I went with my music
I got my first official remix with Borgeous and he played it live at Lavo Nightclub. Ok, so now where do I go?
2019 - The next step
After taking online courses for production, entrepreneurship, and other topics, I decided I wanted to get in the game. This is how PianoForProducers.com got started.
Music producers struggle with composition – the cure is knowing how to use the piano effectively to unlock full creative potential.