The backstory to this is several years ago I connected with Jon when he was still a solo pianist. I had invited him to come to Seattle and perform in a summer outdoor concert that I was trying to put together with several other artists. However, I ended up getting pregnant and decided to not pursue doing the concert due to, well, loads of reasons. So it never happened.
To back up EVEN further, Will and I had attended one of Jon's concerts in Portland many years ago. This was right around the time when I had just started composing music of my own. At the time, I didn't get a chance to meet him due to all of the fans lined up to talk to him after his concert. And I was much too shy to introduce myself.
So that would be twice that I did not get to meet Jon.
A few months ago, however, I connected with him again via email. I told him that I knew he was coming to Seattle in May and really wanted to finally meet him in person but the show was sold out, but nevertheless, I at least wanted to touch base over email.
He wrote back and said he had actually gone and watched my album trailer, listened to my music and more and was completely blown away. He complimented my classical technique and to quote, said I was a "legit artist". That of course made me feel very good and I smiled really big. He said he would actually check to see if he could get me tickets to one of their sold out shows.
A few weeks went by, and I released my "Requiem For a Tower" video. Being that The Piano Guys are all about their music videos, I sent the link to my video to Jon so that he could watch it. Again, he said he was amazed and blown away and just loved it, especially the music. And then he also said he was able to get 2 tickets to his Thurs Seattle show, and to please also come backstage afterwards to meet him and the guys. He said if there was a lot of people to flag him down and he would let us cut to the front because we were his "special guests".
The concert was absolutely amazing. Those guys are not only extremely talented with their musical gifts, but they are very entertaining and funny. My cheeks hurt so bad from laughing and smiling so much, I had to grab them and pull them down to get me to stop smiling to relax my face muscles. I'm not kidding.
After the concert was over, they invited the entire audience to meet them up on the mezzanine and they would sign cds up there. If you can imagine hundreds of people rushing to head upstairs and a line that was several hundreds of people long. Will told me to grab one of the security guards to go backstage, since I was invited. I'm not a very forward person and so I was like "Are we even allowed to??". But we went ahead and asked permission to go backstage because we were "special guests", and we were allowed back there.
Jon saw us come back and instantly came over and said "Jennifer!" and gave me a huge hug and also shook Will's hand. The rest of The Piano Guys were back there as well and he said "Everyone, THIS is Jennifer Thomas and she is an AMAZING pianist and she even beat us on the UK charts." Of course I was totally embarrassed because that was entirely NOT true. I have not beaten them on the UK charts, but I think what he meant was that I was the Female Artist of the Year on Classical Crossover UK for 2012. Either way, he kept going on and ON and ON about me and my music, even saying that he was completely starstruck by me.
You can imagine, that during the entire concert I was sitting there trying to think of what I would say to these guys in the very small amount of time I knew I would have. But once I got backstage and Jon was complimenting me and bragging about me, I completely forgot what I wanted to say and felt really dumb and fumbled over my words. It didn't matter though because they were all so incredibly gracious and nice and so friendly.
I gave them a gift of NW smoked salmon, a symphony chocolate bar, a card (with a piano on it of course), and then 2 copies of my cd "Illumination". I did not want to come off as seeming self-promoting or anything and so I admit I felt very awkward giving them my CD. But later on I heard that the guys were fighting over the chocolate bar and totally just loved the gift.
A few days later, I was lucky enough to attend a fireside where Jon was the main speaker/performer. His son happens to be serving a full time mission in my dad's mission area (where he is the stake president), and the fireside was being held at his particular church building....and so I got front row reserved seats. :)
Jon was up towards the front of the chapel before the fireside, chatting with various people and when he saw me, he smiled and immediately came over to talk to me and meet my parents. Again, SO incredibly gracious, friendly, kind. He took my hand and told me how much the gift and the card and what I had said meant to him and how much he appreciated it. I wanted to say so much more to him, but again found myself feeling rather dumb and just saying "Thank you" and other lame things.
The crazy thing, was during his talk (in which there were about 800 people in attendance), he TWICE mentioned me. The first time he was talking about how each of us can have a relationship with God and he compared it to having friends with similar interests. He looked right over at me and told everyone how he knew he could "talk with Jennifer about music, because she is in the music business and we just GET each other and can talk about it" and he went on about that for a while. A bit later, after he performed "All of Me", a song in which he uses his forearms to slam the black keys and really makes the audience laugh, I had a huge smile on my face because I was just loving his performance. After the song, he looked at me and saw me laughing and smiling and he stopped before continuing with the rest of his talk, and said "I just have to stop and say, if you all have not heard Jennifer's music, you really need to. Jennifer Thomas, an incredibly pianist and composer, you need to look her up." And he went ON longer than that, but I was totally sitting there turning COMPLETELY red as the entire audience turned their heads to look at me. I had to take my hand and cover my face because I was dying LOL. Don't get me wrong, I was incredibly flattered and completely humbled that he did that, it made me feel SO beyond honored to know he loves my music.....but I was just so embarrassed hahaha.
So there you have it. My story about meeting The Piano Guys, and Jon Schmidt. It would be amazing to someday do some music with them, but if anything I am just truly grateful for the experience and meeting them, and to feel the positive vibes and inspiration through their own music. :) I have so many people who email me and tell me that my music inspires them, or makes them want to practice more, etc.....It is the nicest thing to hear, but I don't really KNOW how they feel. I don't experience that with my own music, but I DID experience that very much so with Jon's music this past week, and so I now have a sense of what it feels like to be completely uplifted and inspired by someone else's music. I definitely feel a much higher calling and duty to those who say this to me now, to be sure I always try to create music that uplifts.