EAU CLAIRE (WQOW) -- Being an iron worker, former youth pastor and a self-taught flute player are just a few of the things that have gotten thousands to subscribe to the YouTube Channel of one Eau Claire man.
"I've never had any music lessons but I can play almost any woodman instrument, clarinet, saxophone, bagpipes," Paul Smoczyk explained. "Native American style flute, Irish flute. I've pretty much been able to pick it up and play."
This passion came later in life after the dad of two randomly picked up a flute in a music store in South Dakota.
"[I] started to play [the flute] and the [the store employee] was like, 'Hey if you keep playing and somebody buys one I'll give you $100 off.' I kept playing and he said, 'well nobody is buying but I'll give you 60% off.' That's how I picked it up," he explained.
Every song Smoczyk is able to play, he learned by ear.
"I cannot read a lick of music. I can follow along, kind of sort of," he said through a laugh.
One day, he decided he wanted to share the calming music with others, so he made a YouTube Channel, "Paul Harvey Flute guy."
"I had uploaded a couple videos and I was like you know whatever, but then I recorded at that 40 story tower that I was working on, I uploaded it to Reddit and it just blew up," he said. "My niche is finding unique places to play. Abandoned buildings, underneath bridges, construction sites. Wherever I can find that natural acoustic."
He said he was surprised by the amount of people who found interest in his videos and it brings him joy to know others enjoy the music as much as he loves playing it.
"People have been messaging me saying, 'hey this totally calmed me down, lifted me out of depression.' Those are the things that make you really excited to do this stuff," he said.
"I think the combination is this sort of big, burly iron worker playing a flute. I get a lot of ribbing from the guys at work but it's worth it because being able to bring peace to people, and getting those messages, that's where it's at. Being able to help, even in a small way is awesome."