When the idea of a cover song comes to mind, most people expect to hear a new version of an older, well-known tune with perhaps a new singer or new soloist. Very seldom though, would anyone expect to hear a piano and a cello doing covers of artists like Coldplay, John Williams, and even David Guetta.
This is exactly what The Piano Guys do. Together, concert pianist Jon Schmidt and cellist Steven Sharp Nelson arrange numerous popular tunes ranging from chart-toppers, movie soundtracks and even revamped versions of classical works. They’ve recorded their own tracks, and even shot their own music videos to accompany them. The duo began playing together when they were only 15 years old, and have been performing with one another ever since.
Their first claim to fame arrived in the unlikely form of a home-recorded video, of a tune known as “Love Story Meets Viva La Vida.” It’s exactly as it sounds—a mesh between Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” and Coldplay’s Viva La Vida. The video was first distributed on YouTube three years ago, and has since had over 3 million hits. What makes the piece truly phenomenal is its clever, almost seamless bridging of the two songs, which in it of themselves are of polar opposite genres.
Since then, Schmidt and Nelson have added three new names to their — Anderson, Tel Stewart and Al van der Beek. Collectively, these three help manage performances, arrange new tunes, and produce and edit the videos. To date, the Piano Guys have shot over 35 music videos to accompany their arrangements.
In a few short years, the group has garnered a great deal of publicity. In addition to the extreme popularity of their music videos on YouTube, The Piano Guys have been featured on MSNBC, Fox News, and even the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. They released their first album in October 2012, one which was simply and appropriately named, The Piano Guys.
The Piano Guys release a new music video approximately once a month, which can be found on their website or YouTube Channel. In Nelson’s own words, he sees each of their new works as “a great way to introduce ourselves and make an instant connection with our audience as a classic spin on new stuff and a new spin on classic stuff.” The Piano Guys are definitely a rising group for which to keep an eye out.
Contact Nick at [email protected].