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Pianist Rob Kovacs Reflects on His Emotional Debut Solo Album 10 Years in the Making

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J. Bartholomew Photography
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Rob Kovacs of Cleveland released his debut solo album, 'Let Go,' earlier this year.

Cleveland pianist and composer Rob Kovacs was last on Shuffle back in 2018 to talk about his project, 88-bit. The name is a combination of the 88 keys on the piano and the simple 8-bit music of the early console games. Kovacs has been creating note-for-note piano arrangements from games like Marble Madness.

Since then, he's been focusing on collaborations, working on Final Fantasy VII music. He also created medleys for The Game Audio Network Guild awards.

But Kovacs has a background as a singer/songwriter, playing in a piano-rock band called Return of Simple. After graduating from Baldwin-Wallace University, he and the band left for New York City. He eventually moved back to Cleveland, started his 88-bit project, and focused on finishing his solo debut, 'Let Go.' It's a conceptual album that tells the story of a relationship Kovacs was in, from the bliss to the heartbreak, and the struggle of moving on.

Kovacs is currently working on scoring a virtual reality video game called Straylight. He says he's also planning to record other songs that have been in the works for a new album.

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Amanda Rabinowitz has been a reporter, host and producer at WKSU since 2007. Her days begin before the sun comes up as the local anchor for NPR’s Morning Edition, which airs on WKSU each weekday from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. In addition to providing local news and weather, she interviews Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com for a weekly commentary about Northeast Ohio's sports scene called The View From Pluto. She also hosts and produces Shuffle, a podcast focusing on Northeast Ohio’s music scene.