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Up Close: Utah Artist Finds Healing, Comfort Through Music

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Paul Cardall’s amazing career started with three simple notes that came to mind as a 14-year-old boy, who was grieving over the tragic and sudden death of his best friend that died in a car crash.

He had no formal training on the piano, just six months of lessons when he was eight years old. 

Now, after 21 top ten billboard albums and two billion streams, he’s the first Utahn to be nominated for a Dove award from the Gospel Music Association.

“I’m overwhelmed and grateful,” Cardall said. “It’s the equivalent to the Grammy’s for the Christian Community.”

Cardall said he sat down at a piano and the notes came to his mind. His friend was a piano player.

“It’s almost like a question,” Cardall said after playing those three notes. From those notes, Cardall said he started composing songs and would practice three hours a day.

However, this incredibly talented worldwide music composer isn’t about flash and flare, but inner feelings and emotion.

“I want to get out of the way and let the music do what it does for you,” he said. “I want to enrich a life rather than entertain a life. I don’t want any attention on me I want it on the music.”

Paul’s more than 30-year music history has hit a milestone. This is also his 10-year anniversary since getting a new heart.

“I go from driving this beat-up truck that I love that I think is perfect, that everybody thinks is a disaster, and I turn it in and they give me the keys to a Porsche,” he said.

10 years ago, Cardall received a new heart.

But it didn’t come without a price. A life for a life, as the giver was a 19-year-old man who took his own life.

“It’s tough, it’s tough because somebody died and I’m alive,” said Cardall who has tried to reach out to the family. “I don’t know if I would say much. I would let them feel, just let them feel the beating heart of their son, and probably just embrace them and say thank you”

Cardall’s journey, from being born with a half a heart, to now living with a new one is the inspiration behind his newly released album – Peaceful Piano.

“My heart has been healed time and time again and music was the vehicle that allowed me to find comfort,” Cardall said.

Comfort that has now put him in the running for a Dove award from the Gospel Music Association in the Instrumental Album of the Year category. The nomination is for his Christmas album.

“I think where I’ve been successful is I’ve never treated my albums like it’s just for people inside the temple walls. My music is for all children of God,” he said.

The Gospel Music Association’s annual Dove Awards show will be held next Tuesday, Oct. 15, in Nashville.

For more on his music, you can visit his website.

Cardall, who has been nominated for a Dove award, at the piano.

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