was born in Blythe, California, and moved with his family to St. George, UT when he was around 12. Paul had traditional piano lessons as a child, but quit as a teenager (at the time thought it wasn’t “cool”). After being voted Most Shy at his high school he traveled to Seattle, Washington to serve a proselyting mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for two years. While serving, Paul had his first experience with a digital piano and all the different sounds it could create. This opened up a new world for him and he found a new love for the keyboard.
After his spiritual journey, Paul worked for Crystal Springs Water delivering product. His route included a Yamaha Piano Dealership in St. George. One day after delivering water there, Paul started playing around on the Yamaha Clavinova Digital Piano. A customer walked in and asked what he was playing. Paul proceeded to show the customer all the cool stuff the Clavinova could do and ended up selling him on it. The manager was so impressed by Paul’s enthusiasm for the product that he offered him a sales job at the store. Coincidentally, a secret crush of Paul’s worked at a store in the same mall. He readily accepted the proffered position. Tracy (his crush) and Paul dated for three months when he asked her to marry him. She suggested that they try holding hands first before jumping into that sort of commitment. They married over a year later, in 1995. Thanks to Tracy, they now have four attractive intelligent, talented children.
Paul took the “non-traditional” route to getting an education – what he calls “the school of Hard Knocks” – experience and experiment. He worked in sales at the piano store and after 6 years bought out the owner in 2001. He took on the franchise name Piano Gallery of Southern Utah and set out to find the best way to market and advertise Pianos, going on intuition and doing things that weren’t “normal” or conventional in the Piano industry – sometimes taking risks to the brink of losing everything. In 2004 Paul started a website, ThePianoGuys.com, to drive customers to his store instead of using the franchise’s website. He loved showing pianos and favored the Yamaha Disklavier and Clavinova. He felt that everyone needed to know about these fine instruments. Every person that walked in the store got educated on what he believed to be the best of the best.
In 2007, Paul severely injured his back. This forced him to slow down and recover for six months – spending most of his time consigned to his bed. Paul spent this time earning what he calls an “unofficial PhD” in Social Networking and YouTube. He began an experiment – using a Facebook page and a YouTube channel to promote the store instead of conventional advertising. During this time he ran across a video Jon Schmidt and Steven Sharp Nelson put up that went “viral”– Love Story Meets Viva La Vida. This inspired him and he imagined that if they could just create more covers like that they could be one of the biggest YouTube channels in the world!
So the next time Jon came into the store to practice Paul approached him and said he would create the videos if Jon created the music. Jon was hesitant at first, especially since Love Story Meets Viva La Vida had ran into some copyright issues. Paul eventually convinced Jon to give it a try and he personally funded the initial videos, risking a great deal with the belief it would take off. And it did. “During my first conversation with Paul he told me that ThePianoGuys’ YouTube channel of 10,000 subscribers (at the time) would one day be the largest in the world, I thought he was crazy,” laughs Steven Sharp Nelson. “Since then I’ve eaten my hat.”
Paul believes his non-traditional education helped him succeed because he had no preconceived notions or expectations about business. He loves his work and is a consummate “dreamer”. Producer, videographer, and self-proclaimed piano “geek”, Paul says that if he can keep doing this forever he would be a happy guy.