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- 1You Say05:09
- 2Someone To You03:26
- 3Für Elise Jam02:06
- 4More Than a Feeling / Long Time05:06
- 5Thinking Out Loud03:52
- 6Lose You To Love Me04:57
- 7Someone You Loved03:23
- 10Avatar (The Theme)03:03
- 11Bless the Broken Road03:55
- 12Better Days03:01
- 13A Sky Full of Stars04:10
- 14Beethoven's 5 Secrets05:09
- 15Titanium / Pavane04:49
- 16Let It Go04:05
- 17The Cello Song03:15
- 18Kung Fu Piano: Cello Ascends04:06
- 19Begin Again04:09
- 20A Million Dreams04:44
- 21Rewrite the Stars03:32
- 23A Thousand Years04:36
- 24Over the Rainbow / Simple Gifts03:43
- 25What Makes You Beautiful02:53
- 26Story of My Life04:35
- 27Fight Song / Amazing Grace04:05
Info for 10
Having spent the last decade together releasing chart-topping music, debuting stunningly original music videos and touring in sold-out venues across the globe, THE PIANO GUYS will celebrate their tenth anniversary as a group with the release of their tenth new album 10, out November 20 from Sony Music Masterworks. Making its debut today alongside album preorder is the first of these new tracks, a newly-recorded rendition of Lauren Daigle's chart-topping hit "You Say" that combines the uplifting ballad with Beethoven's "Sonata Pathétique" to create a rich mosaic of strings and piano – listen here. As visually creative as they are sonically,
Over the course of the past decade, The Piano Guys have reached a series of unprecedented milestones on an unbelievable journey around the globe. Among countless memories, the gold-selling Utah quartet—Jon Schmidt [pianist, songwriter], Steven Sharp Nelson [cellist, songwriter], Paul Anderson [producer, videographer], and Al van der Beek [music producer, songwriter]—could cite gravity-defying performances on a speeding train, playing under the shadows of international wonders a la The Great Wall of China, or gracing world-famous stages such as Carnegie Hall, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Sydney Opera House, and beyond. Now, the group's new full-length album, 10 [Sony Music Masterworks], reflects on these moments with a collection of 15 fan favorites as it also looks ahead with 7 brand new songs and 6 tracks never-before-released.
"I remember playing cello on the edge of a rocky oceanside cliff with the waves splashing up, and all I could think was, 'Man, am I glad my dad made me practice'," Steven laughs. "When you hit double digits on anything, it makes you do a double take and causes introspection. We're in a mood of real gratitude. There have been highs, lows, and extreme times. If you take the running average, it's been quite a ride. We've been rolling down the hill, bumping into things, and rubbing off our edges. Today, we're more invested emotionally and spiritually in what we're trying to accomplish. That's why this album is so important to us. There were extraordinary moments, but there have also been moments alone in a practice room where I just thought, 'Wow, I can't believe music has made me into who I'm trying to be'. If you work hard enough at an instrument, you'll inevitably be able to close your eyes, start playing, and feel like you're flying. In essence, that really is the story of The Piano Guys."
The collective of friends and collaborators turned the first page of the story in 2011. The musicians initially captivated listeners everywhere on YouTube before visiting dozens of countries on tour. They built a catalog comprised of seven studio offerings, two Christmas albums, and a live record. Along the way, they gathered nearly 4 billion global audio streams, accumulated 2 billion-plus YouTube views, and achieved six #1 debuts on the Billboard Top Classical Albums Chart. In between sold out shows on five continents, the boys earned gold certifications for their self-titled album The Piano Guys and single "A Thousand Years." Additionally, they would be featured in The New York Times, Fast Company, BuzzFeed, Mashable, People and on CBS Sunday Morning in addition to performing on The TODAY Show, Good Morning America, and The Tonight Show.
"This is not a 'Greatest Hits' or 'Goodbye, Cruel World' album," assures Steven. "On the contrary, we joke that this was a 'Midlife Crescendo'. It's very much about moving forward to the next level. We're just able to look down the mountain and say, 'Wow, this has been an amazing journey'. There's still a long way to go, but we're able to recognize we've come a long way. We feel like music is our life's calling. Thematically and transparently, we are getting back to the joy and passion of music on 10. It's the theme of the album."
Providing an overview of the group's catalog thus far, the bonus disc on 10 includes "A Thousand Years," "Fight Song/Amazing Grace," "Sky Full of Stars," and other staples. Heralding the new material, The Piano Guys introduce the first disc of the album with the single "You Say." On this rich mosaic of strings and piano, they weave Lauren Daigle's uplifting "You Say" together with Beethoven's "Sonata Pathétique," upholding an important reminder in the process.
"We are all so entrenched in The Piano Guys' mantra, belief system, and purpose," he goes on. "We believe the worth of the soul is invaluable. 'You Say' proclaims, 'The world might say I'm dead, but you—as God—say I belong and I'm strong'. The message aligns perfectly with our core beliefs and values. It was fun to combine it with 'Sonata Pathétique,' which in my opinion, is one of the Top 10 classical pieces written. The message of 'You Say' and the new tunes represent us striving to return to our core purpose, why we do what we do, why we create what we create, why we write what we write, and why we play what we play. Our fundamental purpose is to spread hope and help people recognize the worth of their own souls."
They infuse a fresh fire into "Für Elise Jam." Steven goes on, "It was an improvisation Jon and I would do back in the day. We'd play around with 'Für Elise.' At his concerts, he often started with a classical entrance. All of a sudden, he'd throw some rock and jazz onto it, turning the piece on its head. It's moments like this that really gave birth to The Piano Guys."
In keeping with another tradition of The Piano Guys, they once again reimagine, re-envision, and reinvigorate the landscape of popular culture by translating pop gems such as Lewis Capaldi's "Someone You Loved," Rascal Flatts' "Bless The Broken Road," and Ed Sheeran's "Thinking Out Loud" into warm classically spun instrumental tapestries. Meanwhile, they entwine Selena Gomez's "Lose You To Love Me" with Frédéric Chopin's "Raindrop Prelude."
"There's a catharsis to this one," observes Steven. "We slowed it down and made it meditative. There's a necessary darkness to contrast with the light as it shines through in measured moments. I also don't think anybody has ever tried to juxtapose Chopin with Selena Gomez before," he smiles.
Another original, "Better Days" amplifies a personal story with equally powerful vocal delivery by Al.
"It's a vocal tune Al primarily wrote," says Steven. "It's basically his struggle over the past six months through COVID-19 and everything. He just put his feelings on paper and sang his heart out."
In the end, The Piano Guys may be ten years older and wiser, but they cling to the same values and mission that brought them here ten years ago.
"We hope 10 brings the spirit of joy and hope into the hearts of those who listen to it," Steven leaves off. "We hope there is ten years' worth of effort on our part injected to the point where it comes across authentically, and we hope, maybe, it does some good."
The Piano Guys
The Piano Guys
It all started in a piano store in a little Southern Utah town called Saint George. Paul Anderson, the store’s owner, was looking for a new, unconventional way to market pianos. The name of the piano store? The Piano Guys.
Paul embarked upon a self-guided study of social marketing and started a YouTube channel and a Facebook page. He had seen videos “go viral” and was fascinated by this exponential phenomenon. He set out to engage potential customers with music videos that were entertaining and that showcased the pianos he had in his store – envisioning “viral videos” doing his marketing for him. Paul was an ambitious, talented risk taker and felt inspired that if he could find the right people to work with he could create the number one music video channel in the world.
In walked Jon Schmidt. Literally. Jon had built a career in solo piano performance and had a concert in the St. George area. He asked Paul if he could practice on one of the store’s pianos in preparation for his gig that night. Paul explained his idea to Jon and asked if he would be willing to be in a video promoting both the store and Jon’s music. It was a win-win. Jon brought so much to the table. He had experienced the “music business” first hand. He had a gift for combining multiple genres of music in such an entertaining way that he had captivated and captured a broad, substantial fan base.
Enter Steven Sharp Nelson. When Steve was 15 years old he met Jon when they had shared the stage at a concert in which they were both performing. Steve started joining Jon at more and more of his concerts. This rapidly grew into a great friendship and a complementary stage chemistry that had audiences in stiches and in tears in two songs or less. Steve was a multi-instrumentalist that had pioneered a new approach to the cello and to song writing. And his ADHD-fueled creative mind contained a queue of song and video ideas waiting to be produced. Then came Al van der Beek. Al showed up on Steve’s doorstep to help when Steve was moving in just down the street. Al had heard Steve was a musician and he invited his new neighbor to his home where he housed a decked-out studio. Steve and Al began writing tunes together and discovered a supernatural songwriting partnership. Al’s studio and his engineering skills were to become the most important music-writing tool for The Piano Guys, except of course for Al himself, whose innate ability for songwriting had an essential sleek edge to it.
Meanwhile, back at the piano store, employee Tel Stewart, who started as a piano mover, was just completing a degree in videography. His videography and editing skills rounded out TPG’s beginnings and made it possible to include special effects like the “Steve clones” and lightsaber cello bows! Jeremy Crawford, who also worked at the store, was arguably the best and most fearless piano mover in the world (at least as far as we know!) Without Jeremy, our Piano Stunt Coordinator, no one would have ever asked the question that we get so often, “How the heck did they get the piano up there?” Jeremy also stepped up to fill an important operations role as TPG grew so fast we couldn’t keep up. Shaye Scott, a friend of Paul’s, jumped onboard during the genesis of TPG and lent tremendous videography talent – a natural ability to capture the grandeur of nature, where most of TPG videos are filmed. Shaye’s entrepreneurial talent also ably aided the business side of TPG behind the scenes.
Our story is a miracle. We’re just a bunch of ordinary “guys” playing classically influenced instrumental music in videos that showcase incredible locations. And we’re doing well on YouTube?? There are so many coincidences that the summation of each circumstance transcends “happenstance.” We do not take credit for our successes. We cannot. To do so would defy reason. We thank God, our families, and the people who have supported us by sharing our videos, purchasing our music, and encouraging us through comments and messages. Our mission will always be to produce music videos that inspire, uplift, and make the world a better place. If we can make a positive impact in even one person’s life it has all been worth it to us.