Joseph Akins is an accomplished recording artist, pianist, keyboardist, composer, producer and educator. He has produced numerous CDs, composed for film and helped others accomplish the same through education.
His new CD release, Masterpeace (2007), is a collection of acoustic piano solos comparable to music from artists such as Jim Brickman, George Winston and David Lanz. Recorded on a remarkable grand piano, reviewers are describing it as peaceful, soothing and beautiful.
As a young teenager, Joseph played keyboards and saxophone in his father’s country-rock band that regularly performed in Tennessee. Joseph says “I remember standing on the stage when I was about twelve years old knowing that music would always be a part of my life”. Joseph went on to record and tour with local rock bands and eventually recorded his first solo record of new wave rock at age 20 called All Your Dreams (1985).
About this time, Joseph gained an interest in academia and attended college from ages 19 until 27 earning two Bachelor degrees and a Master’s degree in music. During these years, he acquired a new passion for jazz. He studied and performed with many notary jazz musicians, such as Jerry Coker, who inspired Joseph to teach in higher education.
Life brought a sudden change. Almost simultaneously, his father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and Joseph was stricken with a health problem that threatened his career in music. These events changed Joseph’s perspective on life and music. “Music became about feeling emotions and healing the human spirit", says Joseph.
Soon, Joseph met his life partner, Unita, and together they formed HeartSong Music. The first release was a CD of original music dedicated to the life of his father, titled Keys to the Heart (1997). Featuring Joseph on piano and keyboards, a fresh new sound emerged that was an eclectic blend of spirited music that could only have come from the heart. Award winning songwriter Dalton Roberts stated, "This music is a beautiful creation, it breathes joy and peace. And the musicianship is superb." Selections from the CD have received favorable airplay and use in short film.
Joseph worked with Herb Ernst (Dreamflight Trilogy, Bringers of the Dawn, Angels in Ecstasy) to co-produce Through the Veils (1998) featuring the beautiful voice and songwriting of Unita. Carol Wright of New Age Voice stated, "Unita's voice has been compared to Enya and Loreena McKennitt. No contest in my opinion. Through the Veils is mouthwatering and soul-stirring.”
In 2000, Joseph turned to teaching higher education full-time with an invitation from the prestigious Department of Recording Industry at Middle Tennessee State University, the largest music recording program in the world. And in 2006, he completed a doctorate in education. Today, Joseph is an award-winning educator at MTSU and writes, performs and promotes his original music. Masterpeace, a collection of piano solos, was released in fall of 2007, and there are plans to release a 10th anniversary edition of Through the Veils next year.