Greg Percifield: A Little Jazz And A Lot Of Sushi
greg percifield felix and fingers dueling pianist
Dueling Pianist, Felix and Fingers

Japan played a big role in shaping my life.  I moved to Osaka (pretty much on a whim) straight out of college, with only a degree in Jazz piano and a visa for teaching English at a language school called NOVA.  I thought I’d only be there for a year.  That was a huge miscalculation.  I spent nearly 10 years there.  The experience was so much more fulfilling than I could have imagined.

As a musician, being able to say, “Oh yeah, I played music in Japan!” sounds pretty cool.  In actuality, despite the high demand for foreign (American) talent when I was there (1995-2004), it generally did not involve music. Although, I did have some success with various bands.  One of which, placed 3rd in a nationally televised music scouting competition (shown in the image below). Those were good times.

Shiga Prefecture Japan 2000
What's That? Osaka Japan 1998

“Keizoku wa chikara nari.” Roughly translated means persist and persevere.

view from apartment in osaka japan
I took this picture from my apartment balcony in the Nakazakichō area of Osaka. I wanted to get the rainbow.

OSAKA, JAPAN — I had been involved with just about every kind of entertainment I can think of (ironically, music was near the bottom of the list.) In 1995, the Japanese media market was hungry for foreigners, so there were a lot of open doors, and before I knew it, I was on TV about once every other week.  I could be seen in morning dramas to evening comedies and some commercials in between.  You could even find my face on table mats at family restaurants.  I can’t act, and I’m not a model.  But I took advantage of the opportunities, often leaving a trail of destruction in my path.

Some of the odd jobs I took on remain vivid in my memory. One such instance was modeling for a sports catalog with a young Russian woman. She was talented and beautiful.  Every time the camera flashed, it created an image that was worthy of a fashion magazine cover.  Then there was me. I struggled to strike a pose that looked natural. My facial expressions and body language were hijacked by my inexperience, nervousness, and overthinking.  The camera man had to repeatedly tell me to stop looking up.  Somehow, the jobs kept rolling in.

Through the ups and downs, I learned about myself and grew through the many moments of humility I faced during my time there.  Despite some regret, I always look back on my life there with great fondness.

Greg Percifield points from piano

NAPERVILLE, IL — When I got back to the US, I felt pretty irrelevant in the work force.  My only experience was that of an overseas social adventure.  However, it was because of that adventure and the lack of opportunity (in the US,) that my entrepreneurial spirit soared.   After many years and many different jobs here and there (primarily coding,) Felix And Fingers came across an old video of “Rocket Man” that I had posted online.   They asked me if I wanted to bring music to the forefront of my life.  How could I say no?  And so the new chapter in my life began.

Aside from dueling, I also serve as the CTO for Felix and Fingers.

greg percifield piano in middle of road
“Hey, there’s a sushi bar nearby.  Let’s eat there before the show!”

(about a 100 different times)