Warren Keyboardist Joins Steve Vai
An 18-year-old rock keyboard player and Pingry graduate is on his way to Australia to join rock guitar virtuoso Steve Vai on a tour of Asia and the Pacific Rim.
Keyboardist Michael Arrom, of Warren, a 2013 graduate of The Pingry School in Basking Ridge, will join Vai and his band for his “Story of Light” tour, stopping in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, China, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Thailand.
In April, Arrom was named by the Jersey Acoustic Music Awards, or JAM Awards, as New Jersey’s Top 18 & Under Instrumentalist for his work with partner Shannon Corsi in the group Cobalt Blue, a piano/vocal duo specializing in pop, classic rock, jazz and blues.
Arrom’s first step into the national spotlight was in December 2012 when he backed up country music star and “American Idol” judge Keith Urban on Fox TV’s “American Country Awards” broadcast.
Arrom has frequently performed throughout the state at concerts, recitals, charity events and Red Bank’s “Rockit!” rock performance program.
“In the blink of an eye, lightning bolts can strike from out-of-the-blue and change everything,” Arrom said. “I always believed that if I worked hard and remained humble, good things would come. Now I have two more reasons to continue thinking this way.”
Vai is a three-time Grammy Award winner and electric guitar legend who has recorded and toured with the late Frank Zappa, David Lee Roth, Public Image, Ltd., Alcatrazz and Whitesnake. He has sold more than 15 million albums during his 25-year solo career, including his latest, “The Story of Light.”
Arrom landed the prestigious tour thanks to support and a recommendation from his close mentor, David Rosenthal, Billy Joel’s musical director and keyboardist. What put Arrom over the top was his grueling Skype audition on one of Vai’s songs that many musicians consider unplayable because it’s fast, complicated, and jumps between octaves.
“I played with everything I had, nearly holding my breath through the piece,” Arrom said.
A few days later, a call from Vai’s manager gave the gig to Arrom.
A pianist since the age of seven, Arrom also plays saxophone, synthesizers and organ as well as being a vocalist, composer, arranger and producer. Comfortable with rock, country, classical, jazz, pop blues and hip-hop, he studied classical music under concert pianist Michelle Chen Kuo of Hanover.
Once the Vai tour returns home, Arrom, who lives in Warren with his parents, Carlos and Paula Whitehorn Arrom, will travel to his “dream school,” The University of Southern California, to study popular music at the Thornton School of Music.
“I had always dreamed of doing something like this someday, but I always imagined that ‘someday’ would come after I graduated from college,” Arrom said. “Being only 18 makes this an incredibly humbling experience.”
“I have so much respect for Steve and his band, and seeing my name in print next to some of the greatest musicians in the world just inspires me to work even harder to earn their respect,” Arrom said.