The 2024 Embedded Online Conference

From Embedded Software Engineer to Musician

Jean LabrosseAugust 7, 2023

As with almost everyone, I always loved listening to music and in fact, I wrote most of my books listening to my all-time favorite musician, Gino Vannelli.

My son James is a professional musician who graduated from Berklee College of Music in 2015 and plays guitar and specializes in the Flamenco and World Music styles. James released his first album (Orange Night) in 2018 and his Duckland EP in 2022, both available on Apple Music and most streaming services.

As some of you might know, I am the author of the uC/OS series of books and software and the founder of Micrium, which was acquired by Silicon Labs in 2016.

This article is available in PDF format for easy printing

In 2017, as I turned 60, I decided to get an electronic drum set (Roland TD-50), which had been a dream of mine for many years but, I could never find the time to learn or play.  I turned to online lessons from a place called DRUMEO (www.drumeo.com) which offers hundreds of lessons.  Drumming is as hard as it looks!

In 2019, I decided to learn more about music and decided to get a keyboard (synthesizer) and purchased a Yamaha Montage 7, an amazing instrument. I initially took lessons from an actual teacher and eventually, online lessons from PIANOTE (www.pianote.com). 

I never had as much respect for musicians until I started to learn about music. I thought Engineering was hard, but music is quite a few notches above.  There are so many things to learn: notes, keys and scales, chords, progressions, rhythm, reading sheet music, the different instruments and their roles, the lingo, etc. etc.  Playing a few tunes by yourself is one thing, but playing with others, in tune and in time is a whole different story.  I have so much respect for musicians!

In 2022 I got together with a friend (Craig) who used to own a recording studio in Miami. Craig also plays guitar and used to be in a band when he was younger. I met Craig at a Tesla party and after chatting a few times we decided to ‘jam’ together. Craig had a chord progression that he wanted to try to compose a song around, so we started with the chords on the piano, added drums, bass, guitar, saxophone, strings, etc.  After about two months of getting together twice a week (for about 6+ hours each time), we had our first composition: “Summer Life” (Craig came up with the title).

We said: "let’s try doing another one", and using a similar process, ended up with song #2: “Lucky Day” … again, Craig’s title.  We now have 5 compositions to our collection, all instrumentals:

  •     Summer Life
  •     Lucky Day
  •     Moonlight at Midnight
  •     Cold Blue Eyes
  •     Misty Morning

The music is characterized by smooth sax and innovative keyboard melodies contrasted by blues, rock and R&B influenced guitars and blended with jazzy, R&B styled rhythm tracks, orchestral string layers and rock beats.

I sent our music to family and friends and have a couple hundred fans. The compositions are all instrumentals (no vocal) but, a long-time friend of mine (Guy) in Canada sent our music to a singer/song writer (Luc LeClerc) that Guy knew and, Luc loved our music so much that he was inspired to write lyrics as well as sing on top of our music.  I am quite flattered by his initiative which certainly adds another dimension to our music.

Finally, many of our fans suggested that we publish our music and decided to do just that. However, we needed a band name and so, we came up with “JC Keysax” which comes from Jean Craig Keys and Ax (a nickname for guitars).  We published our first album (only the instrumental versions of our 5 compositions) on AppleMusic, Spotify, YouTubeMusic, AmazonMusic and over 100 other streaming sites! The album is called “Twilight by JC Keysax” (see album cover photo).  If you like our music, please follow JC Keysax on your favorite streaming service.  We started working on other compositions which we’ll publish as soon as they are available. 

JC Keysax’s First Album Cover

Happy listening!

Jean J. Labrosse

The 2024 Embedded Online Conference

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