Pianist Chad Lawson seeks to heal in new album : NPR


Pianist and composer Chad Lawson hopes his music can heal individuals scuffling with psychological well being challenges.

Michael Zamora/NPR

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Michael Zamora/NPR

Pianist and composer Chad Lawson hopes his music can heal individuals scuffling with psychological well being challenges.

Michael Zamora/NPR

Can music enhance psychological well being? Pianist and composer Chad Lawson thinks so.

His new double album, breathe, launched Friday to coincide with Nationwide Suicide Prevention and Consciousness Month. Recorded on the legendary Beatles studio Abbey Highway, it options members of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, violinist Esther Yoo and cellist-composer Peter Gregson. These collaborative items type the primary a part of the album, with the remainder comprised of solo piano variations of the identical works, in addition to extra ones.

“Irreplaceable,” which got here out as an EP earlier this yr, opens the Decca Information U.S. launch. “It isn’t a void that you simply’re making an attempt to fill. It is one thing that you simply’re making an attempt to cherish,” Lawson informed Morning Version host Rachel Martin after taking part in the piece in NPR’s efficiency studio. “The thought of remembering what’s irreplaceable in your life to get us by these laborious seasons.”

It is an invite to hit pause on the hustle and bustle of life, to replicate. “It is superb that it took a pandemic for us to really cease and understand what life am I residing proper now,” Lawson mentioned. “It is all about having the ability to be current in that second.”

Chad Lawson premieres the one “with you” from his new album, breathe.

Chad Lawson

Lawson, who goals to make his music accessible, mentioned his largest viewers sits within the 18 to twenty-eight age group, and his work has already been streamed some 500 million occasions worldwide. Novice pianists may even obtain the sheet music for a few of his items to attempt to give it a go at their keyboard or piano at house.

Lawson described his composition course of as centered round a given melody per piece, stepping away for a few month, then listening to the music once more whereas studying, which supplies him contemporary inspiration. “So normally the track will inform me what the story is afterwards,” he mentioned.

Within the case of “fields of ceaselessly,” the throughline got here to him through the recording session with Gregson and Yoo. Lawson recalled: “The pink mild is on. We’re recording this track. After which swiftly, I began getting reminiscences, these photographs of my mother and pop… simply on a regular basis moments, be it a picnic or possibly simply driving on the parkway.”

When Lawson’s performances acquired cancelled through the pandemic, he turned to his work as a yoga teacher and respiratory coach, launching the meditation podcast Calm It Down after followers mentioned his music helped them deal with their nervousness and struggles. “Music is supposed to heal,” he defined. “The music that I do is one thing that is going to have the ability to calm somebody with no matter they are going by.”

Lawson has no coaching as a therapist, however his listeners attain out with tales of main psychological well being struggles, from sexual abuse to suicide.

“Though I am not licensed, I am not a physician by any stretch, I’m conversational,” Lawson mentioned. “And I believe that is what individuals are searching for proper now. I believe they’re searching for one thing that is not too too heavy, that is not a burden to hearken to, that provides slightly little bit of hope.”


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