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Mika praises ‘jaw-dropping’ blind finalist of The Piano


ika has praised “jaw-dropping” 13-year-old blind musician Lucy, who is one of four pianists to make it to the final of The Piano.

The singer-songwriter, 39, has been on the hunt for Great Britain’s most talented undiscovered pianists along with Chinese pianist Lang Lang and presenter Claudia Winkleman, for the Channel 4 programme.

Lucy, from West Yorkshire, has made it to the final along with 25-year-old Jay from the Isle of Wight, 27-year-old Sean from Edinburgh and Danny from Manchester, 26.

Speaking about discovering Lucy, who left Lang Lang speechless with her rendition of Chopin’s Nocturne in B-flat minor, Mika said: “Magical things happen with music that are against all odds and all limitations.

“It’s astonishing when it happens. When it happened in Leeds, when Lucy performed, it was jaw-dropping.

“It was the most humbling thing you could possibly see. We didn’t expect any of this.

“She’s not playing to be a superstar. She’s not playing to sell millions of records or get millions of streams.”

He added: “For a lot of people, the piano is their voice.

“It comes back to this really important thing. We make music to express what we cannot express with words.

“Whether we don’t have the words or we don’t know how to use them, it doesn’t matter.”

Each of the finalists, who performed during a final concert at London’s Royal Festival Hall – which will air on Wednesday evening, were discovered after playing on public pianos in some of Britain’s busiest train stations.

Lucy’s mother Candice reflected on the experience of Lucy, who developed her skills through musical charity The Amber Trust, taking part in the show, saying: “It’s a once in a lifetime experience that neither of us will ever forget.

“It was literally life changing, these kind of events don’t usually happen in our lives.

“I was so impressed how Lang Lang and Mika were so good with Lucy, they were totally respectful of her needs.

“And to see that these two maestros were in awe of her made my heart burst with emotion.”

Fellow finalist Jay, who was discovered at Kings Cross St Pancras Station in London and described by Mika as a “really good piano player, a really good storyteller”, explained how playing the piano “has taken me out of a lot of negative situations” and said making it to the final of the show “really did feel like one of those life changing moments, and something I have never experienced before”.

While Sean, whose style Mika described as “virtuosic”, “complex” and “extremely nuanced” after he was discovered at Glasgow Central Station, admitted: “Now I have a taste for venues like the Royal Festival Hall, so I am working hard to make sure it’s not a one off.”

Danny, who was discovered at Birmingham New Street Station and described by Mika as “remarkably talented and very nuanced”, admitted he is no stranger to performing for commuters, saying: “I have played at every train station where there is a piano, it’s my favourite place to play, and I add on extra hours to my journey just to play.”

The Piano: The Final will air on Channel 4 on March 15 at 9pm.

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