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I'm Rio.



Musician. Pianist. Digital Creator.

My mission is to empower Creatives to come fully ALIVE in their authentic expression, and to flourish in their true God-given radiance. I am the founder of  Worship Keys Academy, with 2,000+ world-wide student community.

professional bio.

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Rio Watanabe is a pianist, passionate worship musician and digital creator with a mission to empower creatives to come ALIVE in their true God-given radiance.

As a pianist, she has been featured on TBS Japanese National Television, and has been a guest soloist at the Langham Place, London, as well as the Vredenburg Concert Hall in Utrecht, the Netherlands. She is the first prize winner at the Dobrich-Albena Piano Competition in Bulgaria, and was selected as the finalist at the Crescendo Summer Festival gala concert competition in Hungary. She is also the first prize winner of the Klaas Dijkstra Foundation Entrepreneurship Award in music education. She has performed at festivals such as the Portland International Piano Festival in the USA, the "Muziek aan de Waal" Festival, and "Peter de Groot" Festival in the Netherlands. She has also performed in master classes for renowned pianists including Vladimir Tropp, Igor Roma, Endre Hegedus, Martin Helmchen, Illona Timchenko.
Rio holds a Master's degree in piano performance from Utrecht Conservatory (Netherlands) where she studied under the renowned Dutch pianist, Martyn van den Hoek. She holds her Bachelor's degree in piano performance from Prince Claus Conservatory (NL), where she studied with Tamara Poddubnaya and Paul Komen. She is a Sara James Scholar graduate from Bowdoin College (USA), and holds a Bachelor's degree in the biological sciences (Pre-Med) with a focus on neuroscience and psychology. She also holds a Dutch certification in Music Education, and has been teaching piano privately for 10 years. 


She is a graduate of the Beautiful You Coaching Academy, and is honored to be part of the inspiring collective of international coaches. The Academy is ICF (International Coaching Federation) accredited, and is led by Julie Parker, Australia’s leading women’s life coach & speaker.
Rio is Japanese by origin, and immigrated to the USA at a young age. She is married to a wonderful Dutchman and currently resides in the beautiful city of Utrecht, the Netherlands.

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AUTHENTIC PODCASTRio Watanabe & Tendayi Mahiyachi
00:00 / 21:52

As a Japanese-American with a strict background as a classical pianist, I used to struggle with extreme perfectionism. I believed that unless I am "perfect" in every aspect of my life —from how I look, how much I achieve in life, to how perfectly I perform on stage— I am not worthy of receiving love.


On the outside, my life looked "perfect" —best grades in school, graduating from a top university (Bowdoin College) as a pre-medical neuroscience student, surrounded by great friends, traveling around the world performing on exciting stages. However, on the inside, I felt deeply insecure, afraid, and unworthy. I tried to calculate and plan every aspect of my life— Which in the end, only deepened the negative cycle of control and self-restriction.

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I developed an eating disorder, which I desperately tried to hide under my "cheery smiles" in my "perfect life". My overworked mind and body eventually led to my health breaking down, and having to stop working professionally as a pianist for a many years.

my life story.

Over the course of 4 years, I suffered from routine fever and fatigue, partial paralysis in my right hand, and a partial deafness in my left ear. It was one of the deepest points of my life, covered with profound sadness.

It was time. I had to face the pain within, and to accept love into my heart.

Fast forward many years, after countless hours invested in therapy, coaching, personal development, and spiritual growth, I've discovered a peace, hope and joy within that is rooted in the grace of God. That was when I found healing from the inside and out.

My journey fuels my passion to share the love of God through creative expression and education. My heart is that my work will reflect the deep love and grace of God in all that I do!

​I'm so happy that we've been able to connect in this way! I look forward to sharing our journeys together!


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