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St. Louis born pianist and composer Royce Martin plays with an intense joy and a meditative style, in pursuit of an emotive resonance that contains echoes of the past and dreams of the future.  “His playing is by seamless turns rolling and tumbling and stately…seemingly effortless.” (The Syncopated Times)  


Largely self-taught, Royce began learning Beethoven on a small electric keyboard at age 14.  Two years later, Royce won the 2016 St. Louis Teen Talent Competition, performing an original composition.  After graduating from Grand Center Arts Academy, he enrolled at Berklee College of Music in Boston where he studied and received his bachelors in music with a focus in film scoring.  Post graduation, Royce continued his work at Scott Joplin’s former apartment turned museum in the inner city of St. Louis where he played for and lectured visitors on Joplin’s legacy. It was during this time that he recorded his debut album, Memories on Morgan Street: Scott Joplin Reimagined, inside of this historic residence. The same place where some of the featured pieces on the album were written by Joplin. The album was released in October 2023. In January of 2024, Royce recorded a Ragtime course for the world’s largest online Jazz community at Open Studio Jazz, joining the likes of Christian Mcbride and Peter Martin on the platform's roster. As a St. Louis native, it has been an ongoing mission of Royce’s to revive what he sees as a broken St. Louis by reminding it, and the world, about his hometowns contribution to American pop music. Not for purposes of reliving the past, but as a way for St. Louisans to derive hope from those who prevailed against relentless adversity in the same neighborhoods over a century ago. In 2023, Royce focused on joining the worlds of traditional Jazz music and modern Jazz music with a style that he called ‘rag-bop’. Combining the two musical styles Ragtime and Bebop. This year, Royce focuses on what he calls Swagtime: A modern pop fusion music infused with ragtime and a plethora of genres that it inspired. From rock and roll to hip hop. In his own words, Royce is fixated on “continuing the legacy of the dreamers”.


Royce’s music was first met with national attention when he was tapped to provide original scoring for HBO Max’s The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion Special. Since then, he has continued his work as a film score composer, scoring projects like Hulu’s 2022 mini-series Mormon No More, and HBO MAX’s acclaimed 2024 documentary They Called Him Mostly Harmless. Ever exploring and expanding his range in concept and intent, Royce is currently at work on a collection of music that might most aptly be compared to that of French impressionist composers like Debussy and Ravel. His work is and will continue to be conceptual and eclectic, founded in classics but deriving inspiration from the visual, the dream-like, and the just-around-the-bend possible. Royce continues on his path of musicianship — always in pursuit of the sonic sweet spot where his artistic skills meet the kaleidoscope of his vision.

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