Sometimes we get stuck seeing things our way. Would you like to see some things through another set of eyes? Maybe it will make you think and stretch or maybe just chuckle or shed a tear. Here is my world through my eyes...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday Music #21: William Joseph

William Joseph is a piano prodigy.  He started playing the piano at age 4.  He tells the story that he was watching Fraggle Rock on T.V. and brought out his plastic piano to play along with the music from the show.  His parents observed that and thought they better get him some piano lessons.  He started composing songs at age 5. 
Maybe we have Fraggle Rock to thank for the great pianist.
At age 8 William won a full ride scholarship to study with Russian teacher Stella Saperstein.  He was trained classically but he says that he couldn't stay withing the boundaries of that type of music and enjoys making music that tells a story and is dramatic and cinematic. 
He taught music lessons for a company in Phoenix Arizona and continues to do occasional short lesson stints for them.  That job is what led to his playing at a charity event  and a friend that introduced him to David Foster while Mr. Foster and his orchestra were doing sound checks several hours before the concert was to start.  William had been married for one week.  His hope was to shake Mr. Foster's hand.  His friend ask Mr. Foster if William could play on the piano and Mr. Foster agreed.  During the song Mr. Foster led his orchestra in accompaniment of the song.  Mr. Foster asked William if he would open the concert for them that night.  William was so excited, he called his wife to ask “Honey, do you have a nice dress?”  From there he has become a well known and respected musician playing to large crowds.
William Joseph is LDS and works to live righteously.  He has had to make some choices between fame and money and doing what is right.  A nice article was written about him in the New Era magazine.  He tells that he was not feeling particularly spiritual around age 18 and when he was asked to play in Sacrament meeting in a cousin's ward he went.  There he saw a young couple that had just been sealed in the temple and he was struck by how they seemed to glow.  He decided he wanted that for himself.  In his own words: "I thought, ‘How will I ever do that? Someone like that would only want a returned missionary.’ And right when I thought that, it hit me. It was overwhelming. All of a sudden, music didn’t matter; my career didn’t matter; nothing mattered. And I knew for sure that’s what I had to do. I needed to go on a mission, and I’d be blessed if I did.  After that meeting, after that incredible, spiritual experience, I got in my car, and I had this rock music blasting. That music felt so disruptive, so loud and just ugly and wrong. That was the experience that changed my life.”
He was called to serve a mission in Australia.  He feared being away from music for two years as he hadn't been a day without music in his last 15 years.  Fortunately his mission president recognized his talent and gave him opportunities to write and perform in addition to his regular missionary work. 
William Joseph notices how his music and his example in life can have a positive impact on others.  He sees people of all sorts from the refined to the rough person who hears him playing in a mall and is touched by his music.  William feels like that is the Spirit that makes that connection.  “Music breaks down barriers; it softens people. I’m not a man of many words; I’m not an elaborate speaker. But I absolutely have a testimony. I love the gospel.”
William likes to meet some of the people who come to his concerts because he likes to hear what they think.  He not only likes to play for them but bring them on this enjoyable ride of being a well known musician as well. 
I guess I still have hurricanes on the mind as I chose this song to put on my blog.  It is from the album Within. 

William Joseph: Butterflies and Hurricanes

Here he is interviewed on a British morning show called This Morning.  He mentions some fun things about his music teacher, his big break into the music business with David Foster, and he creates a new song from four notes chosen by the hosts of the show as well as plays Asturias from his other album Beyond.  This is an enjoyable interview of about ten minutes, so if you have any interest at all it is well worth the viewing. 

I am a lover of Christmas music and was pleased to see that his next album will be a holiday album coming out this year which I will likely be a purchaser

1 comment:

  1. Hi :-)
    I came upon this page while searching for articles and photos of William Joseph. I posted a link to this page on the forum section of his web site I hope you don't mind :-)

    Thank you,


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