On our journey of discovery of real stories of musicians applying hard work and creative thinking in their adventure, we met Milan Petrovic from Belgrade, Serbia, leader of the Milan Petrovic Quartet (MPQ), a band that performs a blend of funk, blues and jazz. They mostly play original compositions by Milan, but they also express their creativity in fresh arrangements of songs by the likes of Metallica, Jimi Hendrix, Deep Purple and Depeche Mode.

The MPQ is one of the most active jazz bands in the whole Balkan region, with more than 200 concerts held from 2013. They play all over Serbia, and regularly visit Slovenia, Austria, Bosnia, Macedonia, Romania, as new territories are steadily added to their touring schedule. The band is also frequently featured on prominent Serbian TV and radio shows.

This is not an overnight success story. This is just the beginning of a story that can take Milan very far. But he started working on it more than 20 years ago, devoting all his energies to music and making smart choices along the way. He built skills and credibility within the Serbian music community, playing in prominent bands and with top solo artists of his country. Talent is needed, but hard (and smart) work are inevitable in any success story. This is the reason why Milan always works with the best producers, like Zeljko Veljkovic who regularly works with top Serbian artists like Vasil Hadzimanov and Bojan Zulfikarpasic.

While the band has a manager, Milan is also handling many of the business and organisational aspects of the activity. And when he is not busy with recording, composing or performing with the MPQ, he sits with a number of other bands, offering different musical experiences to their audiences.

One of his most interesting side-gigs is a blues jam session with another quartet, where fans are encouraged to bring their instruments and join the band onstage to share a repertoire of blues numbers. The energy in the room is palpable and the engagement of the fans in this act of co-creation is on the highest level.

Now Milan is actively working on new projects and on new strategies and approaches to take his music to a broader audience all over the world, and Life in Music will follow his quest in the coming months and years.

In a nutshell, these are the ingredients that stand behind Milan’s present (and future) success:

  • an absolute commitment to music;
  • an obsession with quality music;
  • a strong work ethic;
  • finding the right partners in the different phases of his journey;
  • pursuing a slow but steady expansion of his art;
  • embracing new approaches and new technologies when it comes to spread and promote the music;
  • absolute attention to create an emotional experience for his fans in different settings.

And this is how Milan describes a life in music:

“Music is my life, it is the most natural thing for me. I live every sound, I feel every vibration, it’s a conversation with my own feelings as well as with the audience. I drive my car and listen to music, I go for a walk and listen to nature. I often wake up thinking about arrangements, and I can’t sleep if I am looking for solutions. I have a sense of fulfilment when I share my life with instruments and I am doing my best to always get better, and to leave a legacy after me.”