Radio Interview Transcript


ANNOUNCER:  Welcome to the Wedding Details Radio brought to you by Now here’s your host, Damien Allen. 

DAMIEN: Good morning and welcome to Wedding Details Radio. My name is Damien Allen, and joining me today on the phone is Tim O’Neill of the O’Neill Brothers. 

TIM: Hey, how are you doing?
DAMIEN: How you doing, Tim?
TIM: Great.
DAMIEN: The O Neil Brothers have sold almost two million copies of their CD’s– all without being associated with a major record label. Along the way, they’ve written and performed music for HBO (including music for “Sex and the City”), NBC, PBS, ESPN, Shop NBC and CBS (including a recent episode of “Cold Case”).  That woman never brushes her hair in that program! Several of their CD collections have hit the Billboard charts, their wedding music collections are top sellers on Amazon and The Knot, and their PBS special featuring Deborah Gibson was nominated for an Emmy award. Wow! Lot’s of stuff. How did this all start, Tim? Di you and your brother always play together?
TIM: Well it probably goes back to when I was five with my feet dangling off the piano bench, well actually the day before that I’m the second youngest of 5 kids and my oldest three siblings all took piano lessons, and I said, “Mom, when do I get to start playing the piano?” So she signed me up knowing she wanted me to play, and Ryan, the other brother that plays, he’s the youngest of 5. So growing up we were in a musical house. Our parents weren’t professionals by any means, but mom knew the importance of music. She is a teacher, and we just started playing young, and that’s how we got started.
DAMIEN: What types of music do you play?
TIM: Whenever Ryan and I play, we actually got started at the University of Notre Dame. I was a senior when Ryan was a freshman so the music that we played there was concerts for the college students. We’d play Billy Joel, Elton John songs, you know the two piano arrangement of playing, singing, and making up some words and doing so parodies of songs or skits. That’s really where we coined the O’Neill Brothers, and after I graduated, I started doing some different opportunities with music and had recorded a Christmas CD. That was the first CD I recorded and then I always wanted to go and live in Ireland so I moved there for 3 months and recorded a CD of just kind of mellow, inspirational, emotional Irish music. And since then we’ve got over 35 CDs. It’s almost too many to count, but we just have so many inspirations and now my wife and I have little one year old twins. So now it’s all lullaby music going on in our house.
DAMIEN: I see your website has a wonderful selection of music. How did the e- commerce section of it get started?
TIM: Sure. Basically Piano Brothers got started because O’Neill Brothers was too difficult to spell. Whenever I’d check into a hotel, they never had the room, because they don’t put in the apostrophe or put one “L” or “eal” so is our website and actually it got to be where wedding music was such a big part of what we love to do and what we were successful at. I think you mentioned that our wedding CDs are the number 1 selling music, wedding CDs on Amazon and Number 1 on the Knot. So since Piano Brothers was all of our music, we branched off a new website called My Wedding Music and is anything music for weddings by parts of the day, by styles of song. So it got started just because we were in a small town in Minnesota and we found people across the country and now across the world enjoy our music, and our website is a great way people can listen and buy our songs online.
DAMIEN: Now we already mentioned some of the outstanding achievements of the Piano Brothers, could you kindly share with the audience some more highlights of your career?
TIM: From my wife and I having twins and we were on all the TV stations here in Minneapolis, because our twins were born 9 weeks early so as a thanks for them being in the children’s hospital for so long, we donated CDs to 1000 families at children’s hospital last December, and we had TV cameras in our house, because it was such a heart-warming and emotional story, and it was fun for us to not only share the music, but to show off our cute little twins, Owen and Gabrielle. So that was neat. It was the first time we were on all TV stations here in Minneapolis, but otherwise it was an honor to perform for the President. That was back in 2002, and we had our music on Sex in the City which was neat. We were asked to write a lullaby song for the closing piece where one of the ladies talked about her maybe being pregnant. So Sex in the City was cool and we had our music featured in a commercial with Regis Philbin, because he is a big Notre Dame grad and fan and being associated with Regis has been great. Every day is fun and enjoyable and there is always something to celebrate. We love what we do.
DAMIEN: Now we’ve talked about the wedding music, and you have also mentioned lullabies, what other types of music doo you offer?
TIM: Of the 35 CDs we have, it’s all by theme depending on what you’re interested in or what your mood is. We’ve got romantic songs. We did a Valentine tour with Deborah Gibson back in 2006. My wife and I were big fans back in high school so we just called her up out of the blue, and she did a 10 city tour with us. We’ve got romantic songs. We’ve got Irish songs, as I’ve mentioned. We both went to Notre Dame so we have some Notre Dame Irish. We’ve got 3 different lullaby CDs. And then the other CDs we have are relaxing Broadway songs, all piano music, a Broadway song from every decade, and we’ve got movie themes. We kind of have music for any occasion and we did a patriotic CD to celebrate the veterans for those service men and women who are serving our country, and we sold that on QVC. We were honored on the 4th of July to be their musical celebration. So we have music for just about whatever mood you’re in. We don’t have hard core rock and roll. We listen to other groups for that.
DAMIEN: You do a lot with charities, in particular hospitals, could you tell us how this got started, Tim?
TIM: Yeah. Well I mentioned briefly the children’s hospital that our twins were there for about 7 weeks, but we have also teamed up with Habitat for Humanity. I’m a big believer in giving back, because there are so many people that are less fortunate on many levels, and it just feels good for us to give back, and it’s easy for us to sit and play a concert and enjoyable for say 1,000 Habitat for Humanity volunteers that maybe don’t have the time or the money to spend $30 or $40 on a concert ticket. So it just feels good for us to share our music and share our talents, and we grew up in a Catholic family, and there was even deeper instilled in us at Notre Dame. It just feels good to give back and share with others.
DAMIEN: Your music is both inspiring and beautiful. What’s on the horizon for the O’ Neill Brothers in the coming years?
TIM: It’s exciting with digital music; with ITunes, as I mentioned not only number one on Amazon and number 1 on the Knot, but if you search for wedding music or lullaby or some different themes on ITunes, we come up near the top. So we’re selling music all over the world, but one thing that we are excited about is I just attended a conference in Gauge 10 in Grand Cayman and getting into celebrity weddings. How cool would it be for Ryan and I to be sitting at John Travolta’s married, but any other celebrity wedding that is happening or celebrity event. Two brothers on two pianos so we are just going through how to make that happen, and that’s something we are going to be focusing on again, because we would love to be part of events and do those kinds of things, but then share with others and find a mix of everything in between.
DAMIEN: Are the Piano Brothers going to be touring in 2010?
TIM: We are. We’re going to be doing our annual Christmas tour mostly through the Midwest. All of the information is on, our website, but this year we are excited. We are teaming up for our Christmas tour with Katie McMahon. She is the original voice of River Dance. She is from Dublin, Ireland, and now lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, and her voice. If you have a River Dance DVD or CD, she is the one that sings the female solo, and her voice is just angelic. So we’re touring with her and a couple of her Irish dancers and some Irish musicians. Ryan and I playing and singing on two pianos. It’s a fun concert tour. We do it once a year, and we are looking forward to it this December.
DAMIEN: Would kindly share the website and contact information with the listening audience one more time, Tim?
TIM: Sure. You can get information about our concert tour, our music, listen to free songs. We also have sheet music. is our website, or if you’re looking for wedding music or don’t know what to have for a first dance or to walk down the isle, is the website where you can find hundreds and hundreds of different wedding songs. is where you can get free wedding ideas and has all the information about Ryan and I and where and when we will be performing.
DAMIEN: Well thank you very much for joining us today, Tim.
TIM: It’s been my pleasure. It’s been fun.
DAMIEN: We have been speaking with Tim O’Neill of the O’Neill Brothers the Piano Brothers of New Prague, Minnesota. You have been listening to Wedding Details Radio. My name is Damien Allen. Everybody have a great afternoon.
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