Brian "Snowman" Powers may be the most in-demand saxophonist in the Twin Cities.

He plays with Chase & Ovation, the New Primitives, Frogleg and the Mae Simpson Band, to name a few. He's on call for Robert Robinson, Sam Reeves and Mick Sterling & the Stud Brothers, among others.

The classically trained Powers, a Louisiana native who earned a music degree at the New School in New York City, came to Minnesota after meeting a woman at the University of Minnesota Duluth. The marriage didn't last but Powers stayed in the Land of 10,000 Bands. He studied music engineering here and opened a recording studio despite being legally blind. Plus, he has been a teacher, at since-closed McNally Smith College of Music and now at North Central University.

Powers' résumé includes work with Juanes, Debbie Gibson and the Wooten Brothers. He released his own EP as the Snowman Band in 2022, "Joyful Strut," featuring Victor Wooten, Charlie Hunter, Cory Wong and Ricky and Paul Peterson.

In a recent interview, Powers explained his albinism and plugged his upcoming gigs Saturday with Frogleg and June 7 with Chase & Ovation. Here are excerpts.

Q: You're in several bands. How do you prioritize things if there's a scheduling conflict?

A: Whenever I say yes, that's the gig I do. If something else comes up, I've got a stockpile of subs that know the material. There are some shows that are more important like with Mae [Simpson], the CD release at the Dakota. If you communicate well and you communicate often and just be truthful, most people are cool with whatever flexibility has to happen. I love diversity in my musical appetite.

Q: You can be quite the showman at some gigs but not at others. Does it depend on the size of the stage or the band itself?

A: I've always been an entertainer. I love getting the crowd riled up. The music in general moves me so much it's hard to sit still. Usually with the Primitives at Shaw's, there's just no room. With Chase & Ovation, it depends on the stage layout. I'm legally blind so it depends on the cords. I try not to trip and fall. Normally, I'm all over the stage. It's too much fun to stand still.

Q: How do you decide what outfit goes with which band?

A: With Chase, it's a Prince tribute so it's gotta be glam, right. Mae [Simpson], they don't quite have a look yet. Sometimes she'll ask me to wear something sparkly, sometimes she'll ask me to wear something that's more rock 'n' roll. With Frogleg, something kind of colorful. My No. 1 goal onstage is to try to wear something that distinguishes you from the crowd. People should know I'm not just a guy at the bar. Though sometimes with the Primitives at Shaw's, it's just more relaxed. But that's not my favorite way to dress onstage but it's more comfortable.

Q: How did you get the nickname Snowman?

A: I have albinism, which means I'm legally blind and I don't have any pigment so the sunlight is my mortal enemy. When I was a kid, I was skinny, kind of tall and I was visually impaired and I wore thick glasses. I'm kinda clumsy and awkward because of my lack of depth perception. I was bullied a lot from third grade to high school. At recess, kids used to surround me a lot and take turns hitting me. But my home life was amazing and my parents were supportive. But I had lots of anger problems.

I picked up saxophone in fourth grade when I was 8; my sister used to play and she was my inspiration. It was therapeutic. I get to junior high and I was in all these bands. We had a wonderful band director named Cottrell Wrenn, amazing jazz trumpet player. He started this performance community band and I actually got paid. He said, "Everyone has to pick a nickname except Brian. I'm going to pick yours." He said, "I don't want you to fight me on this. I'm going to put a pair of sunglasses on you and call you the Snowman." I started bawling. They call me Frosty the Snowman, Snow White, all kinds of other things.

So I brought my parents to the school. They talked to him. He said, "Do you want your son to get over this? Then let me grow him up. Give me one year." Well, a year later, I was voted the king of the royal court. It was a popularity contest. It wasn't about how other people looked at me, it was about how I looked at it. You put me onstage with the thing I'm best at doing and you put the nickname associated it, I don't see the nickname as something bad. I like it. It's an image. It used to be something that caused extreme emotional scarring and he turned it into my identity. Now it's just a part of me.

Q: Please explain your albinism and how it affects your life and work.

A: It's a recessive gene. So you can only get it if both your parents have the gene and then you have a one in four chance. Obviously my parents aren't albinos. I have a lack of pigments in my skin and my hair. Even in my eyes. So too much light can be blinding.

To be onstage, it affects visual communication depending on how bright the lights are. Everyone I play with has been gracious and they'll give me cues or just call my name. Distances are a thing. Not so blurry that I can't see, though. Like I can't read a road sign from real far away. Obviously, I can't drive. I ride with friends and car services.

In the studio, I just move close to everything. I can memorize where everything is on the console.

Q: When did you start your own recording studio?

A: In 2006, when I moved to New Hope, I built a commercial studio in my basement. Then it moved to Uptown in the building where the Soho Café is. And now I rent a mixing space at Creation Audio.

Q: Given your vision issues, do you have a special setup in the studio?

A: I have several eye problems. Glasses don't help. So I have to look close because of focusing issues. I don't have a special setup except I have to be close to the computer screen. But there's no enlargements. It's a normal console.

Q: How do you fare with sight reading music for gigs or sessions?

A: People think I can't sight read because I never do it. I can. My ear is very strong. I'm an arranger and songwriter. Onstage, I have to be close to the music stand, and it doesn't look great. I have a really good memory so I just memorize everything. That way it looks better onstage plus I like making eye contact with the audience.