Will Foulstone tries on the hoody sent to him in a parcel of merchandise from Irish alternative rock band The Script, he’s had a busy start to the year.
Unless you’ve been living on Mars, you’ll have heard the story of the Devizes eleven year-old music prodigy playing piano at the O2 with Danny O’Donoghue, frontman and pianist of The Script and coach on the Voice UK. It was January when Mum Sandra filmed him playing on the street pianos at St Pancras Station in London, and tagged Danny, who replied in a direct message how much he liked it.
The following month the family heard from The Script’s PR and together they plotted a plan. Will was to return to London and play a street piano at Canary Wharf, whereupon Danny would surprise him with an invitation to join him at the O2 where, during the soundcheck, Will got the chance to play in the arena with Danny singing. This went one beyond Sandra’s expectations, who assumed Danny would just surprise him on the street, but before they knew what was what, they were chauffeured the O2.
After what must have been an excruciating wait, holding the secret from her son, it happened, but was only followed by another secret delay. Sandra explained, “The band took a while to release their video and asked us to keep the story fairly quiet until they did. They timed the release with the start of the Asian leg of their world tour.”
Some great publicity for the band, but more so, an awesome opportunity for Will. The video viral on YouTube begun a fortnight in the spotlight for Will, who was interviewed by Ben Prater on BBC Wiltshire and appeared on Points West last week.
So after a couple of weeks as the focus of attention, it was time for the Foulstones to reflect on the marvellous experience for Will, expect to say, one thing which struck me was his confidence; he seemed so comfortable in the spotlight. “He doesn’t suffer from nerves when playing piano,” Sandra told me, “he also plays cornet but gets nervous playing that to an audience. So he just loves performing on piano.”
“What about you,” I felt impelled to ask, “was you more nervous than him?!”
“Yes,” she understandably confessed, “I was more nervous than him; he’s very chilled!”
Will comes across focussed and dedicated, he plays piano every day, learning since the age of seven, earning him a music scholarship at Warminster School. His first performance was the Devizes Eisteddfod in November 2014, where he gained runner-up in the piano beginners class. The following year he won (grade 1,) and again in 2017 (grade 3.)
Will though, would rather focus on rock and pop piano, rather than the classical grades, of which I cannot argue with! He even started a band in primary school’s year five, but it fizzled out, “they never performed,” Sandra said, “he was keen, but the others lost interest. Now he’s year seven, so at a different school.” That’s the plight of a rock band on the road, even at ten!
“He’s enjoying his little bit of fame,” she continued.
“I’ll bet,” I replied, it sure is an awesome feel-good story, but I pondered of his classmates, “do they stick by him, without jealously?!”
“Some of the boys at school didn’t fully believe the story,” Sandra laughed, “…. and then they saw the video! He says he doesn’t think they’re jealous. Most of his school friends have loved the story.”
So, after this crazy week, what would Will like to do in the future, has this happening firmly stamped a desire to work in pop music, rather than perhaps elsewhere; classical or theatre?
“The O2 experience has made him much more interested in being in a band,” his mum enthusiastically said, “he felt very at home on that big stage!”
How would he feel about writing his own music, or does he do this, and singing too?
“He’s tried composing, he thinks he’s a bit young for lyrics, but he sings too,” was the reply. A sensible young guy to know his limits, but to watch his dedication to his music, and with such experiences under his belt, its surely foreseeable.
I wish Will all the best for the future, as I’m sure the town is both in awe of his talents and wishing him well too. Can we hear him play? “The next performance won’t be until July in the Wootton Bassett Music Festival,” Sandra explained, “Apart from playing the piano in the Black Swan, entertaining the punters;” C’est la vie!
Check out the video!