Donald Gould The Musical Story Of A Homeless Man

What comes to mind when you hear the words ‘Piano Man’? Billy Joel, you say. Well, get ready to have your mind changed. That’s right, it’s time to hang it up, Billy. Move along Stevie. Hit the road, Elton, because there is a new ivory tickler in town and his name is Donald Gould.

In a clip posted by Mashable from 2015, a long-haired man sits at a piano in the streets of Florida. He tears through an electrifying cover of the prog-rock power ballad ‘Come Sail Away’ – much to the amazement of passers-by. One spectator in particular exclaims, “Do you know how hard that is to play?!” – captivated by the skill on display.

So, who is this mysterious key thumper?

His name is Donald Gould, also known as ‘The Homeless Piano Man’. Originally from Michigan and already an accomplished musician, Gould studied music theory at Spring Arbor University. However, tragedy struck in 1998 when he lost his wife and subsequently, custody of his son. This led him down a dark path of drug addiction and eventually, life on the streets.

It was the above-mentioned clip – now with a staggering 45 million views – that turned out to be a turning point, going viral shortly after it was uploaded and opening up a world of opportunity for the former Marine Corps musician.

A Second Chance

Thanks to the attention he received, a GoFundMe campaign was set up in his name, raising $400,000. This gave Gould the opportunity to attend rehabilitation and get the second chance he needed. Witness his inspiring transformation in the video below.

Since this life-altering chain of events, Gould has achieved remarkable milestones. One such highlight includes performing the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ at the season-opening game for the San Francisco 49ers in front of a packed stadium. Reflecting on this accomplishment, he told ABC 7, “I couldn’t look, I had to focus. I got 80,000 people. I got a performance all of a sudden.”

Although he still faces challenges related to his time on the streets, Donald’s life is now filled with positivity. In 2017, he released the album ‘Walk on Water’, showcasing his unique talents to audiences around the world. ‘Walk on Water’ is available now through Triple Pop Records.

Witness the incredible musical journey of Donald Gould in the video below: