We’ve seen this story more than once. A homeless piano player, singer, or other types of street performers “shocking” passersby with their talent. The fact is, human beings are talented, and talented people experience homelessness along with people who aren’t necessarily virtuosos.
However, there’s something special about Melbourne, Australia’s Natalie Trayling. I’m a trained pianist (a very much out-of-practice one), so I’m not stunned by every piano player I encounter, whether online or in person. So when I clicked on this video, I wasn’t expecting to be as moved as I was. I can’t stop listening to it. Over and over.
And it’s not just because Natalie is playing an original unnamed composition, which is impressive enough in itself. And it’s not because she’s a homeless piano player. If you’ve never touched a piano, you can’t know just how much is involved in playing music, much less composing it.
What struck me about this piece is that it’s just so….haunting. So uniquely beautiful. One of the most unforgettable pieces of music I’ve ever heard.
When a Homeless Piano Player Gets Noticed by the World
Matthew Trayling, Natalie’s son, uploaded this video. As of January 2020, the video has had nearly 10 million views. Matthew’s original goal, when he said that the video had been viewed 70,000 times, was that it would be a great gift for his mom if it got 100,000 views. When that goal was easily met, he upped his expectations to one million views. Check.
Matthew calls his mother “arguably the best unknown composer in the world today, and says that “a gift to the world is now being realized.”
When we see old people playing the piano, especially an older person who is a homeless piano player performing on the street, it’s easy to forget that they were once vibrant young people. Here is a photo of Natalie in her 30s.
And every beautiful young woman was once a beautiful young girl. Here is Natalie as a teenager, about the age she was when she first began composing the piece she’s playing in the video. She finished the composition years later.
Recently, Natalie received a nomination by the newspaper The Australian for the Victorian Homelessness Media Awards. The Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation—an organization that recognizes the positive portrayal of homelessness, specifically in media and reporting—sponsors the awards. The Tasmanian Mercury also did a lovely write-up about Natalie’s video and its success.
If you want to know more about Natalie’s work, visit her Facebook page, where you’ll find beautiful photos and more videos of music.
Want to know even more about this beautiful homeless piano player (thankfully, she’s not homeless anymore)? Her son put her life story up on YouTube in a 10-minute video. Here’s the video that went viral.
All images via Facebook