Forget sports trophies or honor roll certificates; Joey Alexander, a 12-year-old jazz pianist, is receiving Grammy nods. The pint-sized prodigy from Indonesia is in the running for two categories this year—making him one of the youngest musicians ever to earn a nomination.
According to CBS, Alexander received his first keyboard when he was 6 years old. Though he took a few piano lessons, he reportedly learned the instrument largely by listening to jazz records and YouTube videos. And it's paid off.
At age 9, he won the Master-Jam Fest in Ukraine. Wynton Marsalis, iconic jazz trumpeter and the artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, saw a video of Alexander performing, and invited him to make his New York debut at a gala held at the venue in 2014.
After wowing crowds and critics during that performance, Alexander and his family moved to New York City to further his career. Last spring, he released his first album, My Favorite Things (Motéma), which in December was nominated for Best Jazz Instrumental Album and includes a track nominated for Best Improvised Jazz Solo.
Want to watch Alexander play the piano before the awards on February 15? Check out the above video, or watch CBS News’ recent interview with the rising star.
All images courtesy of YouTube.