According to Sara Moore, the first time she heard her son play the piano, he was 11-months-old. She says she was relaxing on the sofa with a book when she heard music coming from across the room. When she looked up, she was in disbelief. Her young son Avett Ray Maness had managed to pull himself up to the piano and was playing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” from memory.
Moore’s incredulity was only heightened by the fact that her son is blind in one eye and visually impaired in another. The boy was born with optic nerve fibroplasia and uses a cane to walk and braille to read. Avett, now seven, has gone on to become a musical prodigy, teaching himself to play by ear. “Music is in his body. He’s really practicing on performing now. Since his talent is so amazing, people are asking him to perform.”
The Dayton, Ohio boy is now an internet sensation, having graduated from children’s songs to classics by The Beatles, Queen, and even Adele, whom he refers to as his idol. A video of Avett playing one of the British singer’s hits in 2017 has gone viral and has been viewed more than five million times.
The young boy, who has his own YouTube page, has already developed his own fan base, recently playing for a crowd of 900, including faculty and staff of Centerville, Ohio, schools, CBS reported. His next gig will be a Ronald McDonald House fundraiser. “There’s really nothing he can’t play,” Moore told Good Morning America. “He has touched so many people’s lives.”
In honor of her son and his immense talent, Moore has written a children’s book, Cotton Candy Clouds, which encourages people to engage with those who are blind and visually impaired. She also visits her son's school to teach students about his condition and raise awareness of the needs of those with disabilities.
Moore says the blind still only have a limited number of resources available to them. In part, she says not enough companies focus on inclusion and making a difference in the lives of millions affected by visual impairment.
Avett’s most piano renditions include Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass,” “Happy Together” by The Turtles, Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” among others. “When I see Avett singing and playing the piano and performing in front of these large crowds, I really forget that I’m his mom,” Moore told Inside Edition. “I turn into a total fan girl. And I kind of have to pinch myself and remind myself like, ‘Yeah, that’s mine.’“
The young prodigy also plays the ukulele, guitar and drums. “I like to sing and play the piano because it makes everybody happy,” Maness told Inside Edition. He recently saw the Oscar-nominated film Bohemian Rhapsody, which inspired Avett to cover of the title song on his YouTube page. Needless to say, the amazing performance has also gone viral