If you haven’t heard of Jacob Velazquez, you will after this week’s America’s Got Talent. The 12-year-old pianist impressed the judges in his audition by playing an original composition.
Read on to learn more about the piano prodigy, including how long he’s been playing, and get a sneak peek at his musical skills before he takes AGT Season 15 by storm.
5 Facts About ‘AGT’ Star Jacob Velazquez
1. Jacob was inspired to play piano by his dad.
Jacob started playing piano at age four after watching his dad Willie play. He picked it up quickly, learning by simply watching his father play. When he started taking piano lessons, he would learn a song in one lesson.
“One morning my husband was at work and I heard the songs that my husband was playing the night before and I went in and it was Jacob,” his mom Tina told ABC News. “I said, ‘How did you do that?’, and he said, ‘I watched daddy.’”
2. He has a form of autism.
When he was four years old, Jacob Velazquez was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. According to his website, this disorder is “similar to Asperger Syndrome but with a speech delay.”
“We really wondered what his future was,” his dad told ABC. “We finally decided to change our mindset and think of his many capabilities instead of his disability and we just feel so blessed to be where we are right now.”
3. Jacob has released an album of music.
When he was just seven years old, Jacob released his first album. He worked with producer Hal Batt, who has worked with Shakira and Julio Iglesias. He’s also performed with several orchestras, including the Space Coast Symphony Orchestra and the Sugar Pops Orchestra. “As long as Jacob continues to have fun, we’ll do whatever we can to support him,” his dad said.
4. He caught Taylor Swift’s attention on Twitter.
In 2015, Jacob Velazquez went viral for his piano medley of Taylor Swift songs like “Blank Space” and “Bad Blood.” He called himself Taylor’s “biggest fan.” The pop star ended up seeing the video and retweeted it. She even invited him to one of her shows so they could meet in person.
5. Jacob also plays the drums.
Piano isn’t the only instrument Jacob can play. He also taught himself drums by watching YouTube videos. He’s posted a few drum performances on his YouTube account, including a cover of the Foo Fighters’ “My Hero.”
We wonder if Jacob will incorporate drumming into his AGT performances. We’ll just have to wait and see.