Classical Crossover; Amazing Music
By: Carlos Glick
What do you get when you mix the song “Secrets” with the classical works of Beethoven or perhaps “Let it Go” from the Disney hit “Frozen” with the classical works of Vivaldi? This is exactly what The Piano Guys do for a living.
They would take a classical song like “Swan Lake” by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and mix it with a song from today, such as “In My Blood” by Shawn Mendez. The Piano Guys even do covers of original songs such as “Someone You Loved” by Lewis Capaldi
The Piano Guys consist of four members which include pianist Jon Schmidt, cellist Steven Sharp Nelson, music producer/songwriter Al Van Der Beek, and videographer Paul Anderson. All four members reside in the state of Utah and their studio is located in the small town of St. George, Utah.
Knowing that the band is from Utah, you may automatically think of the term “Mormon.” All four members of The Piano Guys are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and have thus served missions for the church; Anderson, in Washington State, Schmidt, in Norway, and Van Der Beek and Nelson both served in separate missions in Korea.
Back in February 2017, The Piano Guys were invited and performed at Donald Trump’s Inauguration. When introduced, the announcer said that “they became a world-wide internet sensation with one of the most viewed YouTube channels on the planet.”
That is true. Since 2008, The Piano Guys have over 6 million subscribers and 1.4 billion views on YouTube.
The Piano Guys have released over 100 songs and thus far have seven main albums, two of those seven are Christmas albums. These albums include “The Piano Guys,” “The Piano Guys 2,” “The Piano Guys: A Family Christmas,” “The Piano Guys: Wonders,” “The Piano Guys: Uncharted,” “The Piano Guys: Christmas Together” and their latest “The Piano Guys: Limitless.”
According to blog.musictaste.com, their most viewed video is Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years.” Just that one video alone has 121 million views on YouTube. That’s huge!
The story of how The Piano Guys came to be is quite remarkable. It all started in a piano store, coincidentally named “The Piano Guys” in St. George.
Anderson, the store’s owner was looking for a new unconventional way to market pianos. He embarked on a self-guided study of social marketing and started a YouTube Channel along with a Facebook page. When he saw his videos go viral, that was when he stepped up his game.
In walks Schmidt, who had built a career in solo piano performances and had a concert in the St. George area. He asked Anderson if he could practice on one of the store’s pianos in preparation for his gig that night.
Anderson explained his idea to Schmidt and then asked if he would be in a video, not only promoting the store, but also promoting Schmidt’s music. Schmidt accepted the invitation and things were starting to roll into business.
When Nelson was 15 years old, he met Schmidt and the two of them instantly had this amazing connection with each other. Nelson started joining Schmidt at more and more of his concerts.
Not only did they eventually have a great friendship, but they also developed a strong a stage chemistry that made audiences in tears.
The Piano Guys do covers of songs that are very inspirational. From artists like Adele to One Direction and even movies like “Star Wars” or “Indiana Jones,” they do it all.
The Piano Guys keep on making hits that make you have an upbeat and warm feeling, make you want to cry or even just ponder.