If you watched the “Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” last night, you saw Kid Cudi perform a fantastic version of “Kitchen,” backed by a full string section.
If you watched really closely, you could see Danny Pravder on piano.
The 2012 Staples High School graduate earned a B.A. in math and computer science from Skidmore College. But music is his passion.
A few weeks after graduation, he drove cross country to try to make it in L.A.
Days later, Kid Cudi needed a pianist for “Does It,” a track on his new album “Passion, Pain and Demon Slayin’.” Music director Steve Velez — who Pravder had met 2 years earlier, on a classical music tour of Vienna, Salzburg and Prague — suggested the recent arrival.
Pravder nailed it — then improvised a coda for “Releaser,” another track. A few takes later, they had the version used on the album.
That January, Pravder joined a chamber collective called the Da Capo Players. Velez is the music director and cellist for that group too.
When Kid Cudi was booked for the Jimmy Fallon gig — with those strings — Pravder was invited too. He flew to New York on Tuesday. They rehearsed that night.
There is no piano on the original “Kitchen” track. Pravder improvised, on live TV.
Though the camera focuses almost entirely on Kid Cudi, there was a brief piano solo — with a spotlight.
Today’s snowstorm delayed Pravder’s return to California. But it won’t slow down his career.
Ahead are more studio projects. A future in dance accompaniment. World travels, performing piano.
And — no doubt — many more TV appearances, with the greatest performers in the land.
(Click here to see last night’s performance of “Kitchen” with Kid Cudi and Danny Pravder.)