Meet the little country music genius who is confounding expectations KARE 11
KARE 11 video screenshot

Riley Spindler may be country music’s biggest fan … and the genre’s next big superstar. The 8-year-old from Albany, Minnesota, begins every morning by listening to his local country station. He calls it his “morning motivation.” Blind since birth, Riley studies each note to his favorite songs in his head before heading to the family piano and hammering them out in perfect pitch.

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The third grader plays popular hits from superstars and newcomers alike, learning melodies to current singles from Sam Hunt, Brothers Osborne, Dustin Lynch and Florida Georgia Line, among others. When his fingers meet the piano keys, his joy is contagious.

Everyone from his parents to his piano teacher continue to be amazed at Riley’s uncanny ability to hear, remember and mimic melodies nearly instantaneously, as Minnesota’s KARE 11 reports. Though he reads Braille, he doesn’t read music. Everything he plays is entirely from memory. And he’s better than most sight-readers.

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Riley has also started composing his own original songs. But those who hear his incredible story shouldn’t be fooled into thinking he has stars in his eyes. While he already possesses a rare talent most accomplished musicians would envy, Riley’s aspirations for his future don’t involve stages, lights, smoke or adoring fans. He simply wants to be a gym teacher.

Learn more about Riley’s story and watch him play his favorite country tunes in the video above.

Lindsay Williams is a freelance writer based in Nashville, where she’s spent more than a decade writing about music. A graduate of Samford University, her work has been published in a variety of regional and national media outlets.
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