American Idol is back for season 21 along with piano player Phredley Brown, but who is he, and where may music fans recognize the pianist from?

Phredley Brown is used to playing guitar and keyboard for Bruno Mars, and of course, many American Idol contestants take to the stage to sing Mars’ songs in front of Phredley including Fire Wilmore, who performed her rendition of Talking to the Moon.

We take a closer look at American Idol piano player Phredley Brown and his career outside of the show.

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Who is Phredley Brown?

Phredley Brown is an award-winning songwriter, producer, arranger, instrumentalist, and filmmaker. He’s part of Bruno’s band ‘The Hooligans’ who plays keyboard, lead guitar plus backing vocals.

As well as this, he’s also released his own music including released a three-track soundtrack mix tape, Run Free.

Bruno isn’t the only celeb Phredley has shared the stage with. He’s also performed alongside Rihanna, Pharell Williams, Wiz Khalifa, and Lenny Kravitz to name a few.

He has performed at Super Bowl, the MTV Video Music Awards, the Grammys, and stadiums around the globe.

Phredley Brown has ‘judged’ on American Idol

As well as being the pianist on the show, the star has also been asked to judge an audition.

In the 2020 season of American Idol, contestant Justin Oliver auditioned before the judges to sing Bruno Mars’ hit Treasure, co-written by the one and only Phredley Brown.

Contestant Justin called it a “dream come true” for Phredley to be accompanying him on the song.

As soon as Justin finished the song, Katy Perry went straight to the pianist to ask for his opinion. “I’m sorry, if you have someone who co-wrote the song, who worked for the artist, I want to know what Phred thinks.”

Phredley, who called himself “the toughest critic you could have” for that specific song, told Justin that is was technically great but said the energy could have been a bit higher.

Unfortunately, Justin did not progress to the next round.

Fans call Phredley ‘the unsung hero’ of American Idol

The pianist has been getting a lot of love on this season of American Idol.

Contestant Ophrah Kablan blew judges including Lionel Ritchie away with her rendition of Baby, I Love You which got the whole room in party mode. Fans were also blown away by Phredley’s piano skills during the audition.

One commented: “You know for a fact that pianist was raised in the church. You can’t teach improv like that, and he read the situation perfectly.”

Another wrote: “The pianist killed it!!!”

Fans also loved the American Idol judges giving the pianist the chance to judge a few years ago, with one commenting: “Thank you for showing Phredley Brown some love. He’s the unsung hero of this show along with Ryan Seacrest.”


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