A teen piano prodigy has taken the world by storm, and as he says he “just happens to be blind.”
We caught up with Matthew Whitaker as he was rehearsing for his show at the Birldland Jazz Club in midtown Manhattan.
Now at 17 years old, Matthew began playing the piano when he was just 3. He taught himself nursery rhymes.
Moses Whitaker, Matthew’s father, knew his son was special. “I recognized that fact that he had a gift because at 3 years old he was playing melody and chords with left and right hand at the same time.”
By the time he was 5 years old, he moved on to classical music and was the youngest student accepted to the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
At age 13, he became the youngest person to be endorsed by Hammond organs, by 15, the youngest to be endorsed by Yamaha.
His favorite type of music? Jazz. “Jazz allows you to be yourself. Other styles you have to play what’s written on the paper, with jazz you do your own thing.”
Matthew is a senior at Emerson Junior-Senior High School in New Jersey. He will be finishing up school this year, finalizing his college decision and planning his next world tour.