TAKA HAIR SALON CUSTOMER OF THE MONTH – Bill Uglow
Guardian of Legacies
You may have seen Bill Uglow masterfully playing the grand piano at Taka Hair Salon, so we’ve decided to feature him as our Customer of the Month for March!
CMG Worldwide Executive Vice President / Chief Marketing Officer, Pianist
■ Born in Sacramento, California, Bill was the son of a soldier, and at the age of 5 resided in Tachikawa-shi, Tokyo. After this, he will gradually move to France and the UK. Holds a Bachelor of Business and an MBA from Florida Atlantic University. Worked at Disney World, Toy Companies, Gift Companies, MGM Grand Resort, and Mandalay Resort Group. He’s held his current position at CMG Worldwide since June 2013.
While Bill has always had a love for music, he actually works for CMG Worldwide in West Hollywood, with the estates of several celebrities you’ve probably heard of before. His client list includes such megastars as James Dean, Amelia Earhart, Bettie Page, and many, many more.
That’s right! Whenever a historical movie, some Hollywood merchandise, or a documentary is made about any of these legends, the licensee/manufacturer has to go through CMG Worldwide, representing their estates. Bill talked about a particularly moving advertisement for the University of Phoenix, utilizing their client, Maya Angelou’s, work to emphasize the growth and experience of the main character. It really is an inspiring ad, and this type of content is what Bill is looking for when a creator wants to use his client’s legacy.
Bill is a regular here at the salon, but he started out in Sacramento, California. He was born into a military family, which allowed him the unique opportunity to live on military bases around the world, including in Japan! He spent several years there, as well as in Pennsylvania, France, England, South Dakota, and graduated college in Florida. Along with traveling the world, Bill also studied classical piano.
Breaking the Metronome
At seven years old, he was encouraged to take lessons by his mother, and later found that playing the piano was a great creative outlet. Like most of us at such a young age, the pressures and discipline of constant practice can feel stifling, but his mother emphasized the need to continue. She was a firm believer of following through once you’ve made a commitment, and Bill talks fondly about how much of a gift that drive has been throughout his life.
Instead of quitting piano altogether, Bill compromised and learned how to improvise music that fit what he was feeling, instead of being completely constricted to the notes on the page. This concept came to be called “Breaking the Metronome”. For those of you who may not be familiar, a Metronome is a device used by musicians to keep a steady beat while they are practicing.
While breaking free of the metronome, Bill went on to win several contests and competitions in piano, but never made the decision to attend school for music. Looking at the situation practically, he figured that the odds of becoming successful solely as a musician were 1 in a million. Instead, Bill focused his scholarly energies on Business.
To this day, Bill is amazed at the unpredictable nature his career has experienced throughout the years. When he was located in Florida, he was able to work for the Walt Disney Company, which he idolized. Bill combined his love of the company with his business know-how, and worked in the Merchandising division. This initial spark set the tone to what he would eventually be doing for his career, as this required him to learn about licensing properties out to merchandising and other companies, with one of the most recognizable symbols in the world – Mickey Mouse!
From Disney, Bill took a step forward and eventually ended up working with MGM Grand as the VP of Retail, and relocated to work with Mandalay Resort Group in Las Vegas as the Vice President of Merchandising. Bill still travels regularly from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, but a chance encounter with his oldest and best friend, celebrity agent Mark Roesler, lead to him joining the company. He now is the Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for CMG Worldwide.
While the path was winding, there are hints as to what makes Bill so successful today. He combined his passion for the entertainment industry with the practicality of a business education, and followed jobs that allowed him to move forward and innovate.
Playing with Passion
Even though the business side of his life seemed to take over, Bill still found time to pursue his own hobbies in making music. Specifically, he wanted to have a recording of him playing piano with a live orchestra. After expressing this idea to a few different people, the Director of the Missouri Symphony decided to help his dream come true.
Bill chose a pretty difficult piece – the Warsaw Concerto by Richard Addinsell! A connection was made with Radio Slavic Orchestra, and they were able to compose the piece without the piano part, and sent over the recording in WAV format to Bill in the studio. Once there, Bill was able to record the piano part, with one problem – there was no conductor to guide him!
Playing the entire piece three times in a row, Bill was eventually able to feel the romance and beauty conveyed by the performers of the orchestra, and achieved his goal. The entire process required him to play the difficult piano part in 1 hour!
After this ambitious project, Bill finds time to play the piano for charity and fun. He has released the orchestral recording (along with a few other songs completed in the same fashion) on one of his CDs, which is available at www.billuglowlovesongs.com.
In Taka Hair Salon, Bill provides an amazing ambience, drawing inspiration from classic film love songs and scores, and adds a sense of romance and wonder to the salon experience. Bill is always looking for new and interesting ways to combine his music with things it “shouldn’t be paired with”, and we can’t wait to see what creative ways he innovates in the future!