As a high school senior, I needed one more class to fill my schedule, and I picked piano. As I started working on a song I was given to practice, I realized the first two notes sounded like something I’d heard on the radio. I was intrigued, so I continued to feel around on the keys until I heard the sound I recognized … it was the beginning of “Open Arms” by Journey. My passion was instantly ignited by this moment, and I began learning as many popular songs as possible.
The substitute teacher who’d taken over the class told me that not only could I read music, but that I could also play by ear. She knew because she shared the same gift. I didn’t know it at the time, but the ability to play by ear allows me to anticipate song melodies and learn pieces faster, and it also created a more intimate relationship between me and my piano.
As I began to improve, I started looking for places to play out. My first gig was at Bull on the Market in downtown Frederick. My #1 fan at the time, my mother, helped me secure this gig. From there, I started getting calls to play brunch at a local hotel, weddings, holiday parties, benefits events, political events, and more.
Over the years, I continued to play out on occasion. But my real estate business took up a lot of my time, and I wasn’t sure gigging was what I really wanted, so the piano stayed a beloved hobby. Music pulled back to the forefront for me when my mom passed away and I played “Memories” from Cats at her memorial. I began to transform, my passion reignited, and I felt like something awakened in my soul and I could hear the music better.
Today, I’m devoted to deepening my relationship with music and my audiences. I love to add passion, romance, and drama to popular music. On any given night, you might hear me play “Cherish” by Kool & The Gang, “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston, “Moon River” by Henry Mancini, “Benny & the Jets” by Elton John, “Phantom of the Opera” … and the list goes on. I play to the mood. I love reading the room, getting a feel of the audience, taking a few requests, and from there, the magic happens.
BEHIND THE MUSIC
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH PAUL WARTHEN
In this candid interview, I sit down and talk about my journey as a pianist, my career and skills, my approach to playing, and more. You'll also get to hear some of my best performances. If you're a fan of piano music, then you'll definitely want to check out this video.
Elegant, professional, and elevated. Passionate, sophisticated, and relatable. An expert at reading the mood of the room, pianist Paul Warthen will captivate your audience with songs they know and love, presented with a modern, jazzy twist. Paul is available for premium settings including restaurants, lounges, and bars plus corporate and private events.