A BLIND boy, seven, is melting hearts around the world playing a stunning rendition of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody on the piano.
Avett Ray Maness has been labelled a “viral sensation”, a child prodigy – and even Debra Messing reckons the lad’s “just magical”.
In fact, Avett – who was born blind in one eye and vision impaired in the other – is such an internet sensation that the Ohio boy has more than 62,000 subscribers on YouTube.
And his version of the Queen hit has notched up nearly four million views since it was published in early January.
The video starts with him saying: “I’m gonna be playing you Bohemian Rhapsody and it goes like this, ready?”
Sitting on a stool, with his head just above the keys, he then proceeds to sing and play the famous tune, prompting one impressed person to comment on YouTube: “Freddie Mercury is smiling down at this prodigy”.
Another noted: “The best part is while is he playing and singing, he is aware [of whether his] voice or notes are off, and he corrects both as he moves along. Amazing.”
Also in awe of Avett is American actress Debra Messing, who posted: “Stop everything you’re doing and watch this blind boy playing Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody on the piano. He’s just magical.”
His mum, Sara Moore, said that Avett has Optic Nerve Hypoplasia (ONH), a congenital disorder where the optic nerves are under-developed – these nerves carry messages from the eye to the brain.
She recalled visiting an eye doctor with “no bedside manner whatsoever” telling her bluntly, when Avett was two months old, “Yup, he’s blind.”
Sara, 31, also told the Washington Post that she first had an inkling of her son’s talent when he was 11 months old, and he played “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” – on tiptoes – from memory.
The mum added: “He had a toy with that tune on it, so I knew that’s where he learned the melody.”
He’s come a long way since then, performing Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and Bach’s Minuet in G in front of hundreds of fans.
The boy’s piano teacher, Rebecca James, told the Washington Post that he plays with feeling.
She explained: “He likes a good challenge and loves playing music with a more complex structure.”
Avett has got such a great ear for music that once he’s heard a song, he can play it.
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Two years ago he sang Adele’s “Hello” – which was also widely shared online – followed by the Beatles’ “Let It Be” and Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass”.
The first-grader is learning to read Braille, and to walk with a cane.
And when he’s not playing the piano, he “likes to rap with my brother Emery”.
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