Melkbosstrand’s Andrew Willicott started playing the keyboard at the age of 5, after being introduced to the instrument by his dad.
Now, at just 9 years old, he has earned the nickname “Minor Mozart”.
His father Gary says they have been overwhelmed by Andrew’s new-found fame in the last couple of weeks.
They have been inundated with requests for newspaper and radio interviews for the talented young man.
“It’s been quite surreal but this is a very proud parent moment for my wife and I. Since he was five, we saw his talents. We have a keyboard and he would see me play. So one day I played a few lines from Oh When The Saints Go Marching In for him. He watched me and had a couple of attempts at it. Within 24 hours, he walked up to the keyboard and started playing the song perfectly from memory.
“I played another song for him and he did the same thing again – playing that one from memory as well. I realised that he had a unique gift at such a young age,” said Mr Willicott.
Andrew drew attention when he started playing the white piano at Table Bay Mall about 18 months ago. Mr Willicott said that he started seeing shoppers taking a lot of interest in his son’s skills with people asking to take pictures and videos of the young musician. Six months later, Andrew’s parents started Instagram and Facebook pages for him so people could see all the videos they make of their son, which his how his popularity grew.
Andrew has dyslexia, according to Mr Willicott, which makes it hard for him to read music, his son is a visual person and believes this is the reason for Andrew’s gift. Andrew is home schooled but does have a music teacher who he has lessons with three times a week.
Andrew told Tabletalk that he really enjoyed the attention he has been getting but also said that he doesn’t want to let it get to his head.
“I want to focus on what I’m doing and not get distracted by the attention and fame I’m getting.”
Andrew joked and said that he told one of his friends about this attention and his friend is a bit jealous. He often plays the piano at Table Bay Mall and shoppers stop and stare in amazement at this miniature version of Mozart.
“My friend gets jealous because sometimes people give me money when they see me playing at the mall. He’s also jealous that I have a Facebook and Instagram page,” he joked.
Andrew said that his musical influences are Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Johann Sebastian Bach and Richard Clayderman.
“I would also like to play other instruments like the drums and guitar. My music teacher suggested that and said that would help me be a better musician.”
Andrew said that he does see himself doing music in future but he also has a love for dogs. He said that he wants to have a dog petting zoo with his 12-year-old brother, Jonathan.
“As far as doing music for the rest of my life, I don’t want to think about that now. Right now I’m enjoying what I’m doing and I just want to focus on that right now,” he said.
Mr Willicott said that at age seven, Andrew said he wanted to go on a world tour with his music and still intends to fulfil that dream.
Andrew shared a dad joke to close things off: “Why did Mozart kill all his chickens? Because when he asked them who the best composer was, they’d all say: Bach! Bach! Bach!”
Find Andrew at MinorMozart on Facebook or @minormozart on Instagram.