Matthew Mayer is an exceptional pianist, but that’s not his only gift.
As a child, Matthew discovered that he picked up on the feelings of those around him with ease. His intuition found an outlet when Matthew started playing the piano at age 12. From high school onward, Matthew‘s been performing and sharing his music around the globe.
Dream-like, powerful and deeply moving, Matthew’s music conveys the full spectrum of human emotion. Learn about the moment Matthew fell in love with music, how he balances a separate 9-5 job and why his sixth sense helps him compose music that people love.
Tell us about yourself.
I graduated 3rd out of 13 in my high school class (so unfortunately… not in the top 10%). Have jogged across the Golden Gate Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge. I have a life goal of visiting all four of Leonardo Divinci’s original woman portraits. Two down… The Mona Lisa and Lady with an Ermine… Two to go! Most importantly, I have 3 beautiful children ages 6, 4, and 6 months, that remind me I have no control of anything, what so ever.
When did you first fall in love with music? How did that evolve into a career?
12 years old. My other buddies were quitting piano lessons at that time and I wanted to start. So my parents bought an old upright player piano and I fingered out my first song ‘The Entertainer.’ After having a hunch I’d stay with the piano lessons, they rolled in a nicer piano (the other one ended up in the Franklin Hotel in Deadwood, SD).
My “performing career” really started in high school. Our town had a chiropractic clinic, and every Wednesday night during the summer, I did a one man show on an upright for the patients. There I learned how to interact with a crowd, tell stories, and think “off the cuff” with odd ball piano requests that I had no clue how to play.
In 1999 while at the University of South Dakota, I released my first album ‘Crossing the Bridge’ and started performing more in the South Dakota area. I was also enrolled in an entrepreneurship class, and one of our assignments was to purchase a domain name and build a website. I purchased www.solopiano.com in Feb 2000, with the hopes of sharing my own music. 15 years later, we host over 300 solo piano artists, and our Radio Station just hit the #16 ranking on Live365.com (out of 5000+ stations).
How do you stay motivated?
My motivation comes from the desire to connect with others through the piano. I’ve always felt this ‘6th sense’ – noticing and receptive to both my own feelings and those of others. I try to combine this intuition with experiences of every day life. For example, the Beyond Album was written while living in California and going through that entire spectrum of emotions. Excitement, Loneliness, Fear, Thrill, Doubts… what we all go through. The beauty of solo piano music is that it is a universal language, and everyone can connect an emotion to it in someway.
Tell us about an experience that challenged you and how you grew from it.
One major challenge for me was my internship at NBC Studios in Burbank, California. Driving my old Grand Prix from Canistota to California had me full of excitement… and fear. Starting out in LA, you can feel like a number. Meeting other interns from major universities around the US was at first a bit intimidating – I knew I wasn’t smarter than any of them, but I wanted a job at NBC and knew the opportunity came only once.
One early summer morning – one of the Access Hollywood Hosts came to my tiny work area and said “Matt, I’m interviewing Barry Manilow this afternoon. I think there’s a Chicago Tribune newspaper clip of him from 1972 or 73… can you get me a copy of that? I’d like to show him.”
I was on the phone all morning with research firms (no Google back then), The Chicago Tribune and any contacts our research staff had at the time to hunt down a 30 year old newspaper clip. Around 2pm or so, a lady I was working with found the clip. She faxed me a copy right away… I ran to the fax machine… tore off the copy, and ran to our host’s office and said “Here you go!” He looked at me, smiled, and took a copy to the interview with Manilow.
The next morning he said to me “Good job, Matt! But that was yesterday, let’s get on with today.”
That experience taught me to work really hard and always say yes, even when you don’t know how to do something… do your best to find a way to get it done. Also, what you did yesterday is important, but don’t let that lose your focus of today.
What are your hobbies outside of music?
I enjoy giving talks and facilitating creative workshops. I like working out/running mid-day to clear the mind. I enjoy traveling, journal frequently, and hope to someday write a book about combining music/creative pursuits with ‘everyday’ life. (Any published authors on about.me, I’d love your help. :))
What do you like most about about.me?
Since using about.me, I have connected with some amazing people. People with similar interests for collaboration opportunities, and those in other industries to share ideas/ or ways to come together. One of my favorite features of about.me is the opportunity to post a video, or spotlight your art for creatives. about.me understands that as humans we are “whole” and complex species. 🙂 This allows people to share their whole story. Thank you for the opportunity to share and be a part of the community.
Anna Lizaur is a Marketing Manager with about.me. She graduated from the University of Virginia. Anna is fluent in Spanish and can count to 100 in Chinese.