As someone who writes artist bios as part of my living, I am privy to the general intent of the endeavor. It’s supposed to entice press folks to listen and in turn, help excite potential listeners to check out the music. There’s an unspoken credo to accentuate the positive, no matter how difficult that artist’s journey may be.
If we were to use this approach to chart the path of the brilliant Barcelona based pianist, composer and producer Juan Sanchez, we would only see the success and blue skies between work for hire and solo artistry. Everything would seem like a natural progression from his career as a composer of instrumental electronic music for multi-media and sound libraries and his emergence as a premiere new age pianist of our time with a flurry of gorgeous, emotionally impactful singles which culminate in his soul stirring full- length debut Rebirth, a collection of all of those tracks.
Listeners don’t have to know Juan’s deeper story to appreciate hypnotic, quietly eloquent, string enhanced masterpieces like the lilting, classically tinged “Beto” (inspired by an Argentine man, Roberto Bubas, who is famous for his hands-on encounters with killer whales) or the dreamlike, cinematic “Heading to Dreamland.” Yet there’s something refreshing about a creative soul so willing to share his initial doubts and insecurities about taking the risk to put his own material out in the universe.
In the bio section of his website (https://juansanchezmusic.info/), the pianist shares, “I had always dreamed about becoming a professional pianist and composer, but I didn’t have the confidence to pursue this dream, as I felt that this was only for very talented musicians and I did not see myself in that way. I thought that, if I were to create music, nobody would want to listen to it – or worse, that they would listen to it and wonder why I had bothered to create music in the first place.”
This is not only a real-deal confession from a sensitive artistic soul, but part of the inspiration behind the concept of “Rebirth,” the reflective single that started the flurry of single song releases last February which was an obvious choice for the name for the full album. It starts out dark and methodical, almost tentative, as if reflecting his initial trepidation, and then picks up the pace with notes on the higher register, as if shifting to an optimistic light. The playing becomes more emphatic and impassioned throughout, as if he has experienced an infusion of confidence.
“Rebirth” is the musical expression of his own self-discovery. Over the past few years, he has started to learn how to reprogram his brain by taking personal development courses – with the goal of overcoming his self-limiting beliefs that have hindered his growth and personal development. “Now that I am starting to see the fruits of my success and change the way I think,” he says, “I feel that, in some way, I am becoming a new person – I have been reborn.”
Not every song on Rebirth was inspired by or designed to take us into Sanchez’s psyche. Sometimes, his imagination and nimble fingers take us to ambient “Peaceful Places,” where we can contemplate our own lives and dream of greater personal vistas. At other junctures, as with the bright, sweeping and slightly whimsical “Arctic Solitude,” he is clear about the locale he’s depicting. Other times, he’s not in any specific geographic spot at all but in more of a meditative realm, sharing loving reflections on his wife (“Beautiful Rose,” presented as both a spirited solo piano piece and with piano and strings), his late mother (the moody, elegiac “Silent Tears”) and his childhood (via the seductive improvisation “All of Us”).
Listening to Sanchez’s own Rebirth may help you to feel a purposeful new outlook of your own.
The current way artists distribute and listeners consume music has made it easier for a prolific composer like Sanchez to quickly follow his first full length masterpiece with several new tracks that are no doubt down payments on a future collection. The titles of both tell us everything we need to know about where he’s at emotionally and spiritually: “Very Young Old Man” and “Alma,” which means “soul.”
To listen to Rebirth: https://open.spotify.com/album/30yb5UJBjPLd4y3VQpmTp4