A true new age piano Renaissance Man, Matthew Mayer has enjoyed a diverse career as a music teacher, TV composer and artist with 10 solo piano CDs dating back to 1999, when he was just 20 years old. Merging his passion for the ivories with his talent for encouragement, he is also the creator of the globally popular website www.solopiano.com where both well-known artists and up and coming indie solo piano artists build their own pages and stream over a 24/7 radio station. One of the great seminal stories of Mayer’s musical life finds him skipping across the street from his house in Canistosa, South Dakota to knock on the door of Art Cooper, who became his first piano teacher – changing his life and thus thousands of others who have been impacted by Mayer’s sensitive and graceful musical mastery.
Art taught him to play not just the notes on the page, but the notes on his soul – something Mayer does magnificently on his transcendent new concept album Beautiful You. Normally, new age piano collections seem geared only towards adults seeking uplift, soul transport and healing. Yet the beautiful artwork by Lisa Falzon of Berlin, Germany – of child angel offering a white rose to a woman with the wind in her hair – has a childlike purity and innocence that is perfectly reflected in the music of these 12 gentle but emotion-filled tracks. Mayer’s simple overall message – to adults and kids – is a direct affirmation that “You are enough.”
Each song, from the tenderly impressionistic opener “Raindrops of Amor” through the stark, lovely reflection “In Spirit” (which closes the set), eases through us like a subtle voice telling us that we all possess inner beauty that make us unique and worthy- and never to doubt it, no matter our tendency to compare ourselves to others and feel like we fall short. “Fly Little Bird” is like a gentle awakening to slowly find our wings and begin a cheerful dance before we attempt to soar above the crowd. Once we’re in flight, we get to the core of Beautiful You, which has Mayer’s thoughtful soul reminder that yes, “You Are Enough”; the piece’s contrast of darkness and light reminds us that this is a process of self-illumination. That process can take “A Modern Introspection” before we ease gently into the sweetness of understanding ourselves as the “Beautiful You.”
The next two tracks, which speak of the bleakness “Of Haunt and Hope” and cautious movement before a “Broken Mirror,” are further reminders that there is an old self to slip out of before we fully embrace our true beautiful nature. The mood swings of “Bill Next Door” ease from soft spoken and tentative to a fast flurry of notes before reverting back to quiet again – reflecting the hesitation that comes before we fully take the plunge and are free from the shackles of lack of confidence and low self-esteem that’s held us back till now. Many new age projects are simple gatherings of easy to listen to pieces that barely touch the soul. By letting us know his inspiration, and executing his vision so perfectly, Mayer’s gems penetrate deep and allow us to initiate our own personal spiritual makeovers as we listen.