James Matthews, a student at the University of Western Florida, has gone from homelessness to playing in the hallowed Carnegie Hall. “I always had my piano, and it’s always been my escape,” he told Pensacola News Journal.
“I decided if I never gave up it would get me through life, and it has. I don’t know where I’d be if it wasn’t for music.”
The now 24-year old pianist went to Florida Southern College after graduating high school, but fell on hard times and found himself homeless for almost a year and a half. He slept in his school’s 24-hour piano studio until his teacher found him.
“He found me sleeping in his studio and pretty much got me out of that situation, found me a different school to go to where I had a dorm and a roof over my head,” Matthews told NBC 5.
Thank to his teacher’s help, Matthews is now expected to graduate from UWF in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in music.