Local Band in Focus

Rob Kovacs

Meet the Artist: Before going solo, the Brecksville native used to front the piano-based rock band Return of Simple.

Cleveland State of Mind: Kovacs moved his band to New York City after releasing a couple of albums, but he's since returned to Cleveland to reconnect with the music scene here.

Say It Best: Kovacs – who contributed a song to the indie film The Ballad of Captain Flavor Savor – is putting together material for his debut solo album. He also teaches piano lessons, plays gigs, and occasionally writes music for American Greetings' e-cards.

Play Us a Song, Piano Man: While attending Baldwin-Wallace, Kovacs once performed a piece normally played by two people on two pianos for minimal-music pioneer Steve Reich. "I figured out that I could play both parts on two pianos simultaneously," he recalls. "No one else in the world had yet to perform the piece this way. It was the most rewarding concert I've ever given. After that, I felt like there was nothing I couldn't do."

Why You Should Hear Him: Kovacs' work – as both a solo artist and with Return of Simple – showcases his proficiency as a pianist and as a singer. "Saffron" is all staccato keyboards mixed with Kovacs' world-wise falsetto. And "Can You Hear Me Say Goodbye?" exudes confidence while maintaining an air of vulnerability.

Where You Can Hear Him: returnofsimple.bandcamp.com. – Jeremy Willets