What a difference one year can make, especially in the career of an aspiring musician who is brave enough to put their talent out there on the frontline to be heard. This coveted, ultra-awesome, warp-speed leap from obscurity to grade-A exposure is not just a cool cliché to inspire hope—it is real life for Tony Ann. Last year this Canadian pianist and composer, who was studying at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, suddenly found himself out of the classroom and on the big stage with the pop-music duo The Chainsmokers. It was obviously not that simple. Nothing worth having ever is.
The story of young Tony Ann doesn’t start off with nostalgic memories of high school garage band sessions with Alex Pall and Andrew Taggart of the EDM-pop-rock-indie-hit music duo The Chainsmokers. Tony’s hands hovered and landed on the ebony and ivory keys of his piano in Toronto, Canada. At the transformative pre-teen age of 12 years old, Tony Ann first gave it a go on the piano after finding inspiration in the movie Beethoven Lives Upstairs. This music-centric 51-minute Canadian film was based on a children’s audio recording written and directed by Barbara Nichol. It tells the story of a little boy who creates a captivating friendship with the legendary composer Ludwig van Beethoven who is temporarily living in this boy’s family home.
Since then, Tony Ann has gone beyond just being a casual fan of music; he has started to create it as well. This is no lucky random internet musician we are talking about here. Tony showed and proved that his skills deserved attention back in 2011, as the winner of the grand prize at the 2011 Canadian National Music Competition. He rose above his competitors in this 53rd edition of the CMC National competition for the field of piano. He rocked the first and second rounds in his hometown of Toronto, Ontario—and held it down strong to win the finals that occurred in Montreal, Quebec.
The next step in life for our keyboard hero Tony Ann, and his yellow brick golden road to The Chainsmokers, gets up and running during his higher education efforts. First, he garnered technical training at the Cleveland Institute of Music and then advanced like a true winner to the well-respected Berklee College of Music. During his bachelor’s degree program, Tony focused on music theory and composition and musical production. He learned the necessary nuances of crafting lyrics and songwriting, as well as producing tunes on industry-level digital audio workstations such as Pro Tools, Reason, and Logic. That is all very scholarly and essential to the cultivation of a committed music artist. But what about the excitement and forward thrust that comes from meeting the right people at the right time?
Tony Ann’s life changed when he made the decision to record and upload his own piano cover of The Chainsmoker’s burning hot hit record “Paris” to YouTube. How huge of a song did Tony pick to play? The song’s music video alone has over 307 million YouTube spins. Alex Pall and Andrew Taggart’s “Paris” song cracked over 45 global music charts and made The Chainsmokers’ record label Disruptor Records quite happy. “Paris” has achieved 3x Platinum status in Australia, Canada, and Italy, 2x Platinum in Norway, and Platinum in the United States, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Spain, and Sweden.
This piano cover that Tony Ann pushed out into the eardrums of other fans of The Chainsmokers made its epic connection on February 6th, 2017, when The Chainsmokers themselves made it known via their Instagram account that they totally enjoyed Ann’s cover. That’s not all… they reposted Tony Ann’s piano cover of “Paris” on the official The Chainsmokers Instagram page with the caption:
“Yo how talented is this guy @tonyann_ What an amazing cover of Paris! We found Tony online from an older cover he did of our music! It was so good we decided to bring him on our #MDNOTour this spring! Just shows you never know what’s gonna happen! Make sure you check this out and get a ticket for our upcoming tour which is gonna be so incredible! (Ticket link in bio).”
Yes… The Chainsmokers publically announced to the world that Tony Ann was going to be hitting the road with them in real life to play the keys during their Memories: Do Not Open Tour, in support of the Memories: Do Not Open album that the covered track “Paris” came from.
The great adventure of Tony Ann and The Chainsmokers leads towards its current status with Tony Ann jumping up from his interpretive video of The Chainsmoker’s “Paris” to playing it live in front of fans and followers. Tony Ann’s crucial duties on the keys were shared in 32 North American cities, for a total of 35 shows. The music bro-mance began on April 13, 2017, in the city of Miami at the American Airlines Arena, and continued its United States and Canada run with a final stop in New York City in June at the Forest Hills Stadium. To make it all more of a happy ending of amazing proportions, Tony Ann got to feel the magnitude of his journey when he played in both of his college cities: Cleveland at the Wolstein Center, and in Boston at the TD Garden.
But Tony Ann must have really felt the most supreme love, joy, and fulfillment when he returned to his home city of Toronto on May 30th, 2017, and raged the stage with The Chainsmokers at the same Air Canada Centre that houses the NBA Toronto Raptors’ and the NHL Toronto Maple Leaf’s home games. Imagine all the memories that Tony Ann will want to open after having such a successful solid tour from a wildly popular album from The Chainsmokers tucked away on his growing resume.