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Utah musician Paul Cardall celebrates five years of new life

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BY DAVID BURGER
SPECIAL TO THE TRIBUNE
PUBLISHED: NOVEMBER 17, 2014 09:30AM
UPDATED: NOVEMBER 15, 2014 01:05AM

Best-selling Utah pianist and composer Paul Cardall is celebrating five years since his life-changing heart transplant with a new album called ìSaving Tiny Hearts.î One dollar from every album sold goes directly to the Saving Tiny Hearts Society, seeding grant funding for medical research of congenital heart disease.

This year, best-selling Utah pianist and composer Paul Cardall is celebrating five years since his life-changing heart transplant.

As part of this, the 41-year-old independently released an album on Tuesday called “Saving Tiny Hearts.” It’s sort of a “greatest hits” collection, along with new versions of some of Cardall’s most beloved tunes.

One dollar from every album sold goes directly to the Saving Tiny Hearts Society, seeding grant funding for medical research of congenital heart disease.

Cardall spoke to The Tribune about the new album, congenital heart disease and his hopes for the future.

For those who don’t know about your story, can you briefly describe how you discovered you had heart disease?

As a child, I discovered a long scar under my right arm where my parents told me I had heart surgery the day I was born. They said I only had half a heart, which is why every six months to a year they took me to the children’s hospital so medical personnel could take my blood, run a variety of tests and sit for a long time in a waiting room until finally we got to see my cardiologist. … Afterward, my mom always took me to the Hostess store to pick any sugar-filled item on the discounted shelf. … Since that time, I have had numerous open-heart surgeries to correct what is called a congenital heart defect. At age 14, a pacemaker was implanted to solve a minor problem, and I continued to take a lot of medicine to maintain good health. I received more pacemakers as their battery life ran out as well as several other minor heart surgeries to correct other issues.

How prevalent is congenital heart disease?

Millions of children are born every year with some form of a defective heart that requires lifelong medical care and surgery. It’s no wonder, congenital heart disease is the No. 1 birth defect and leading cause of infant-related deaths. Fortunately, I was one of the lucky ones who survived during a time when most infants never went home.

Why did you need a transplant?

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Saving Tiny Hearts: Musician Paul Cardall Raises Awareness for CHD

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Posted by: Quinn Vincent Hough in Billboard, Feature, Music, Stars
9/19/2014

EXCLUSIVE | One day before I spoke with American pianist Paul Cardall, the 41-year-old was celebrating the five year anniversary of a new heart and an optimistic vision for the future.  At age 34, during the peak of his musical career, Cardall suffered from heart failure and was given one year to live, however, on September 9, 2009, the end of one life allowed another to continue on.

Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) affects approximately one million children worldwide each year, but poor funding means that 100,000 children won’t live beyond the age of one. Cardall’s new album, Saving Tiny Hearts, will be released on November 11 and for each album sold, one dollar will be donated to the Saving Tiny Hearts Society.

When I spoke with Paul, the Utah-based artist had just released a music video on both Facebook and Twitter for “Gracie’s Theme,” which was filmed in his native state near the Uinta Mountains and features children who represent survivors of Congenital Heart Disease.

“I wanted an anthem; a call to action for people to recognize that congenital heart disease, even though it’s the #1 birth defect, is the least funded.”

Paul Cardall grew up in Salt Lake City and lived a normal childhood, despite being born with half a heart, thanks to the support of his parents. He played baseball, listened to Rush and used money from his paper route to buy cassette tapes at the local music store.

“I come from a large family and my parents never treated me like I was a boy in a bubble, because there was no Google. They could not find symptoms and be afraid of every little thing. They didn’t know about germs, diseases and all that stuff, so it was to my benefit. I could play all day without washing my hands and then have dinner. It was no big deal.”

The music of Yanni and David Lanz caught the attention of young Cardall, along with the 1984 Miloš Forman film, Amadeus, about the famed pianist, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. As a piano player myself, and film fanatic, I spoke with Cardall about the powerful influence that musicians like Mozart and Ludwig van Beethovencan have on a child already interested in music.

“You start to learn about these guys and it’s amazing. Beethoven was tormented his whole life because he couldn’t get to a hotel to meet the woman he loved. There was that little moment where he was not able to connect with the woman, who loved him, but assumed he wasn’t interested. You learn about these guys and you hear the pain, the joy and everything associated with it — and for me I really connected with that.”

Cardall stepped away from the piano for several years during high school, but returned after the death of a friend and composed a piece titled, “Dave’s Farewell.” While playing at a local Nordstrom’s, a woman approached the young pianist about his music, as she had lost her husband (also named Dave) two years prior, and ultimately purchased 200 CDs. One of the lucky locals to receive Cardall’s music was the woman’s neighbor, Richard Paul Evans, who had written The Christmas Box and asked Cardall to collaborate on an album.

“People were asking what the music sounds like, and so he kept saying, ‘it sounds like Paul Cardall.”

By 1999, Cardall signed a two-album record deal with one of the premiere New Age record labels, Narada (owned by Virgin Records), and established Stone Angel Music while “smooth jazz” appeared to be taking over. Cardall was poised to stay loyal to his own sound.

“Everybody started doing smooth jazz. I had no interest in that stuff — and the distribution channels had already opened up — so I established Stone Angel Music, added a couple employees and started putting out my records. We put out an artist named Steven Sharp Nelson, who released “Sacred Cello,” and he’s now a member of The Piano Guys. I took a lot of joy and pleasure in building Stone Angel Music from not just my albums, but some of the artists that I performed with and having them do albums that you wouldn’t normally expect – like a cello record.”

When Cardall signed his first deal fifteen years ago, the Internet was already exploding worldwide, although musicians didn’t have the ability to use Facebook and Twitter to instantly connect with fans. As Cardall’s heart problems intensified during the late 2000s, fans began to worry and reached out to the musician via social media. As a result, Paul opened up the communication and noted his daily thoughts on a blog.

“I was very honest and very open. Mostly I was writing because I had a little girl, my daughter, and if I wasn’t going to be around, I wanted her to have this legacy of my thoughts that she could read. That became the purpose of the blog, so we called it “Living For Eden.” Eden is my daughter. Fortunately, they tell you that when you’re going through something crazy like that, the best form of therapy is to journal, because it allows you to process your feelings and get it down on paper. It was really healing for me to just write.”

Shortly after his successful heart transplant, Cardall released an album titled “New Life,” which embodies the inner peace and joy of a new perspective. Over the years, Cardall has received numerous messages of gratitude from local followers in Utah all the way to U.S. soldiers based in Afghanistan. Cardall’s musical ability also caught the attention of the world-renowned Steinway & Sons, who invited the artist to join their roster of the world’s best musicians alongside greats such Irving BerlinDuke EllingtonFranz LisztGeorge GershwinIgor Stravinsky and many more.

“It’s a huge honor and I think for the first time in my career I felt vindicated for all my hard work, because I’ve been independent and I’ve been able to manage my label and my career on a very personal level with my audience. I know my audience – my audience knows me – and we have a good relationship.”

Paul Cardall will perform in Paris on September 26, and London on October 2, before returning home for the release of Saving Tiny Hearts on November 11. The biggest battle of his life may be over, but Cardall continues to spread his message of hope for young children living with CHD across the globe.

“What I’m trying to do is show people that we have come a long way. We are making progress. I survived. I’ve beaten the odds and I want other kids, and the medical field, to recognize that we are achieving a lot of good. We just need to keep going.”

Visit PaulCardall.com for videos, music and information on the release of Saving Tiny Hearts.

What’s new: Cardall’s ’40 Hymns for Forty Days’ lends to prayer, meditation

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By Wendy Jessen For the Deseret News
Published: Thursday, April 16 2015 5:00 a.m. MDT

40 HYMNS FOR FORTY DAYS by Paul Cardall, Stone Angel Music, $17.98

2015 40 Hymns for Forty DaysPianist, Paul Cardall, has released his latest album, “40 Hymns for Forty Days.” This two-disc set contains 40 songs, each freshly arranged and performed by Cardall. This marks his 15th studio album.

Some of the well-known hymns and songs on the album include “Israel, Israel God Is Calling,” “Come, Follow Me,” “Jesus Wants Me for A Sunbeam,” “Lead, Kindly Light” and “God Be With You ‘Til We Meet Again.” Each arrangement is reverent and worshipful, which can bring a spiritual focus to the hearts and minds of listeners.

With more than 100 minutes of instrumental music, Cardall’s soothing music allows listeners to meditate, pray, relax, study and feel peace.

Besides Cardall’s musical expertise, the album also includes various musicians on violins, violas, cellos and a bass. The string arrangements, created by Marshall McDonald, add to the beauty of the inspirational melodies.

Cardall, a Utahn who is celebrating 20 years in the music industry, has fans in more than 100 nations and listeners transcending culture, race and religions, according to press materials.

One of his previous albums, “New Life,” reached the top of the Billboard New Age Albums chart after its release in 2011.

Musician With Heart Transplant Creates Music That Heals Hearts

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Author and Blogger at SethAdamSmith.com
Posted: 05/28/2015 9:08 am EDT | Updated: 05/28/2015 10:59 am EDT

Paul Cardall is an internationally acclaimed pianist whose bestselling music is making huge–yet peaceful–waves. His fifteenth album, 40 Hymns for Forty Days recently debuted as the #1 Billboard New Age Album. This is his seventh album to make the lists on Billboard and his second to top the charts.

But during a phone interview, Paul told me that his primary objective isn’t to make bestselling selling music. “My goal is to create music that helps soften and heal the heart,” said Paul.

That simple statement is both powerful and ironic–considering the fact that Paul was the recipient of a heart transplant in 2009.

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