Instrumental music can hit a place where few other genres cannot. When I started college I learned early on that I studied better with classical music or soundtracks playing in the background. It was also at this time when my best friend introduced me to Pandora. Yes, I caught on late, please don’t judge. Anyway, I created a Howard Shore station and was introduced to a whole new world of fantastic music that would help me through college and life. One of the fist musicians to pop up on that station was Paul Cardall. To give more breadth to my summer series, I reached out to Paul and had a lovely Skype conversation about music and the special world of which he is a part.
Calling from his homebase in Utah, which needs snow, we got right into our conversation. Paul shared with me his beginnings in music. “I fell in love with new age music in high school. I loved British music and it was a time when keyboards became popular. I have always been a fan of independent film scores and the sounds that are melancholy yet thoughtful. From there, I took piano lessons when I was eight. As I grew up, depending on whether I had money, I would buy cassette tapes and play with my parent’s piano to tinker with melodies. Music creation wasn’t a strong thing for me until a friend of mine in high school passed away. I went into my living room and sat at the piano. Eventually, I compiled and composed sheet music around my friend’s death and was confident it was ready to share. I shared with my friend’s parents and they lost it and I knew I was given a gift. Every since then, it has been my job to perfect that gift. Even now, I am working to make it better and better. I want to help them get through it all and for anyone who needs to use it in their own way. Although it was overwhelming, in a way that music brought out the feeling that everything is ok. It was a defining moment and there are so many moments where there have been circumstances to communicate what I am feeling.”
After talking with Paul about my connection to his music, he elaborated more on his experience with it. “[It is just a] thrill to share a station with those composers. Its interesting that my music has brought a ton of excitement to people’s lives. My music has feeling without being holistic or supernatural and has helped people through life-changing moments. I don’t know if I should be feel thrilled when I get e-mails and people tell me their stories about how the music [has] helped them. [I have heard stories ranging] from dealing with grief of cancer to a family’s battle with suicide with a soldier who got back from Iraq. It is bittersweet. It is my responsibility to create this soundtrack for life, for the highs and lows. Performing all over a world had been a huge gift and I never thought this would happen overseas to perform and to speak about life and its challenges.” Since Paul’s music has been a huge benefit to many, he understands music’s lasting impression on the world. “Music has the power to access the spiritual feeling no matter what you believe in. It captures people’s ambition to move forward on this journey of life. My music is a ministry for that.”
Mr. Cardall covers an interesting niche that has a huge following, but maybe not too much popular media focus. However, he has enjoyed the growth music has been going through. “Pandora and media forms like that allow ties financially for the instrumental artists. Most publications ignore our genre but people want new age music in their lives. The problem is that they do not know how to categorize it. When they debut on the charts they are usually new age or Christian. Its interesting when Billboard contacts me and they always come back to say, ‘should we label your album as new age or classical?’ They leave it up to me. Ultimately, I just want people to feel good. People are going to listen to the music despite what they named it. They just want to listen to good music. I listen to everything from hip-hop to Mozart from country to jazz. If you are putting yourself in one brand you are missing out on what is out there to be seen and heard.”
Much of Paul’s success has also been his own drive towards his fueling his creativity. “For independent record companies, like mine, it gives me the option of making my own stuff. It leaves that freedom of speech available and it is thriving! I have been with Virgin Records and they wanted me to do smooth jazz. I felt that style was going to die off on the radio and wanted to stay true myself. I left the label and started my own. It was the best thing I ever did. I love to do my own songs, write and do my own artwork. I am the guy doing all the business.”
Mr. Cardall is a busy man and will be making the music magic happen for many. “I have a European tour coming up in late August to September. I will be traveling Europe doing some concerts at churches both catholic and Mormon. I love all of the beautiful places open to the public. My new album, ’40 Hymns for Forty Days’ is still on the top in the charts.” It is a great album and is perfect for taking a break and relaxing to some soothing tunes. If you need to calm down and collect your thoughts, Paul Cardall’s art will help you through it all. Listen to his amazing stuff and be enlightened.