5 fast facts on Joey Alexander, the child piano prodigy from tonight’s Grammys

02.15.16 1 year ago

WireImage/Alberto E. Rodriguez

12-year-old Grammy nominee Joey Alexander stole hearts and won a standing ovation at tonight's ceremony with his precocious piano skills and bashful demeanor. So who is he? Here are five quick facts about the child prodigy.

1. He taught himself to play piano at the age of six after his father bought him a keyboard.

“When I got back from work, I saw him playing a very complex melody,” Joey's father Denny Sila told CBS New York in 2014. 

2. He's originally from Indonesia. 

Alexander was born in Bali and later moved to Jakarta with his parents. They moved to New York City after he was granted an O-1B Visa, awarded to “individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry.”

3. He released his debut album, My Favorite Things, last May.

The album entered the Billboard 200 at number 174, making him the first Indonesian act to crack the U.S. album chart. It later peaked at number 59.

4. He was discovered by legendary jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis after the elder musician watched one of his videos on YouTube.

Marsalis subsequently invited Alexander to play Jazz at Lincoln Center's 2014 gala, where he became, in the words of the New York Times, an “overnight sensation.”

5. He's the youngest Grammy nominee in history, with nominations for in two categories: Best Improvised Jazz Solo and Best Jazz Instrumental Album.

Here's his performance from tonight's show:

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