MIKE'S STORY
Why we do what we do at Coresound.
I fell in love with music on an obscure upright piano my parents purchased used at a local store in Minneapolis.

I started playing that piano when I was six years old, and I composed my first song on it when I was eight.

I still remember the chord progression of that first song... four chords, revolving and layering different parts. Not a great song, but an original work nonetheless!

I quickly realized my desire wasn't just to play notes on a music sheet, but to be the one to actually put the notes on that music sheet myself.

I thought that was the coolest thing in the world, to make something out of nothing.
The piano wasn’t a fancy brand like Steinway, Baldwin or Yamaha; it was a walnut brown upright grand from Astin-Weight. Yet even though it wasn't a world-class instrument, I always felt most at home when I played it.

That piano helped get me through a lot of issues and challenges. It provided comfort when I was teased as a boy for being overweight. It endured an interstate move after my parents divorced. It encouraged me when my band-frontman aspirations were crushed in college and multiple record opportunities crumbled before I turned 25.

Those adulthood disappointments conjured up the self-doubt I felt as a teenager when, despite earning the Best Effort award on my swim team, I didn't have a chance of winning in big meets or even posting times that threatened any small records. I just couldn't contend.

But my piano rekindled a deep sense of peace each time I sat down and felt the keys underneath my fingers.

In it was hope, beauty, joy.
I struggled for a long time because I felt I couldn't contend with other lead-singers or lyric-writers.

But then I realized something. By beating myself up for not having frontman-worthy vocals or poet-worthy lyrics, I was missing the opportunity that had been under my nose the entire time.

I came to a revelation: I am not a frontman... and that’s totally fine. Why? Because I was made to create musical moments. And I absolutely love doing it.

Once I realized that, my previous guilt and shame were gone. I had a renewed perspective and passion for what I was put on earth to do, and what I need to pour my focus and heart into.

I love listening to a song and getting under its hood, breaking it down to its core, and re-creating my favorite elements of it.
I love melding notes together to elicit an emotion.
I love blending different instruments together and arranging a wide palette of colors.
I love figuring out how to achieve sounds that seem impossible to achieve.
I love to create.
My spiritual story is woven into my personal and professional journey as well.

Though I understood the Gospel just before my fourth birthday, I functioned as merely a “fan” of Jesus instead of a devout "follower" for twenty years. I knew all the answers, I "did a lot of church", and I even attended a Christian college. But I was weighed down by sin, fear, image, and doubt. I put all of that on myself instead of surrendering all of it (and myself) to the Lord. But God kept after me, and I went from "fan" to "follower" of Jesus and am grateful for His relentless pursuit of me.

As a husband and father, I have come to terms with my strengths and, more importantly, my weaknesses. By God’s grace, I am at peace with myself and what He's given me.

Now, I feel closest to Him when I’m writing music and creating sounds to serve as the backbone for films and visual stories. I'm no longer ignoring the niche God carved into my heart. Instead of being sad about what I'm not, I'm thrilled with who I am.
A friend jokingly said I was like a sommelier, a wine steward, in my knack for helping people pair the perfect music with their projects and occasions.

I hope you’ll give me and everyone at Coresound a chance to partner with you and create together. That's where the beauty is.

Now let's go make something!

Mike Graff
Coresound Chief Creative