This is Natalie Trayling, Melbourne’s answer to Geoffrey Rush of Shine fame. But don’t let he disheveled appearance fool you. She’s played the piano around the streets of the city for the past couple of decades and even spent time tinkling the ivories at David Jones, but refused a contract to make it a paid job when DJs offered it. She also played the piano at the Victoria Hotel when she lived there and has experienced bouts of homelessness.
Her son, Matthew Trayling, posted this clip of “arguably the best ‘unknown’ composer in the world today” on YouTube back in January. According to Trayling, she composed the piece between the ages of 13 and 14 and finished some years later.
He wanted people to hear it, saying:
When I filmed this some time back, I felt, well was hoping that maybe the world would sit back and listen to one of, if not the best ‘unknown composer’ in the world today (my mum ‘Natalie’) Well it seems the world ‘is’ listening and rightly so. This is just ‘one’ of her compositions.And it appears to be going ‘viral’ on YouTube. There are many more that I would call absolute master pieces. Pending the right time, you will be introduced to those, but in the meantime…enjoy the ‘now’.
About two weeks back, realising people were noticing, he set a goal of 100,000 views for his mum’s beautiful playing.
And that’s when the internet took over.
On Monday, he was blown away by the reaction, commenting:
I made a comment about 10 days ago, hoping for 100,000 views for her 80th Birthday being 23/10/14. 3 days after that it seemed it ‘might exceed 300,000. Now it seems quite possible (with 2 days to go) it might even make 500,000 (half a million) thanks to all you wonderful people viewing, sharing and being so appreciative of her unique talent. All you people ‘are’ the world, and the world is listening. Natalie and myself thank you all.
By yesterday, more than one million people had watched it, giving the octogenarian a small gift of fame for her birthday.
There’s not much known about Natalie Trayling, although she grew up in Perth, was taught to play the piano by nuns, married and had four children, including two daughters whom she has outlived.
And her music has been a gift to many over the years, with the ABC TV’s telling her story when she began playing the piano in the Royal Melbourne Hospital’s accident and emergency department last year when she was in hospital following a bout of illness.
As Natalie told the ABC: “the whole world is music”.
Happy 80th Natalie Trayling. Long may you play on.