Joseph new ‘piano man’

Caitlin-Marie Ward

On the evening of Jan. 28 at the World Café Live, a swanky bar/restaurant that is a quick walk from 30th Street Station, pianist, composer and performer William Joseph dazzled the crowd with a show-stopping performance of his second album, “Beyond.”

Philadelphia was one of many stops on Joseph’s first-ever U.S. tour which promises to be something special.

Joseph’s style is unique as it takes classical themes and infuses them with rock and pop elements, a style now known as “classical-pop.”

One of the tracks on his debut album is an adaptation of Led Zeppelin’s classic song “Kashmir,” which demonstrates the influence rock music has had on Joseph’s career.

Accompanying Joseph on the piano were a drummer, violist and a cellist who helped add to the intensity and emotion behind the songs. Many of the songs are reminiscent of movie soundtracks in the way they often start out slowly, methodically, reeling listeners into complacency before suddenly picking up speed and taking off and running wild full of excitement, power and passion before slowly bringing the audience back down to earth and finishing off with a sweet melody.

Joseph himself described many of his songs as “cinematic-like the soundtrack to an epic film that has yet to be made.”

Joseph does not just play the piano with his fingers; he plays with his entire body. One foot pushes down on the pedal, while the other keeps time with the music; his head nods along with the beat of the drums, and his entire body rocks back and forth, feeling the music down to the core of his soul.

He is a true performer. He once even turned the piano bench sideways, laid across it and continued playing the song from under the piano.

“I absolutely love playing in front of an audience,” Joseph says.

Every song was impressively and flawlessly played from memory. His passion for his music and appreciation for the fans is apparent from the moment he walks on stage until the last person departs after the meet-and-greet session at the end of the performance.

“Beyond” is Joseph’s second album. His debut album, titled “Within,” was released in 2004. Since then his popularity has steadily grown with the help of his producer, David Foster.

Foster, a 14-time Grammy Award winner, has produced some of the most successful artists of our time, including Andrea Bocelli, Michael Bublé, Celine Dion and Josh Groban. In the hands of Foster, William Joseph’s career will surely go far.

Several artists and other celebrities have already recognized Joseph’s immense talent.

Joseph appeared at tennis champion Andre Agassi’s Grand Slam for Children, a charity event for Carousel of Hope, with Beyoncé and was invited by Arnold Schwarzenegger to play at his wife, Maria Shriver’s, birthday party.

His most recent accomplishment was composing a new song for Dion’s next Christmas album.

Next stop on the tour is New York City, where he will attempt to impress the toughest of critics and audiences.

Some recommended songs to download include “Beyond,” “Sweet Remembrance of You” and “Kashmir.”