Shane Thomas is now 18, but his extraordinary story started when he was 3.
He insisted he could play the piano – he had never touched one in his short life, apart from a tendency to play an imaginary one on the carpet.
Shane finally got his hands on a piano aged 7, sat down at the keys and immediately starting playing all sorts of recognisable tunes with both hands. Within weeks he was composing his own pieces. A month later he made his first public performance and was nominated for the national Talented Youngster of The Year Award. The top prize in the Music for Youth Awards then followed.
By the time he was 9, despite not having had a piano lesson, he achieved Grade 8, having skipped Grades 1 to 7. He was playing all the classics, just about any contemporary pop song and was even arranging them in a classical style. Shane was asked to appear on The One Show where Jamie Cullum exclaimed ‘he’s amazing!’. The Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph both hailed Shane as a ‘mini Mozart’.
At 11 Shane became the youngest composer to be given his own publishing deal with a major publisher – EMI Music. This led to invitations for Shane to play in front of 10,000 people at Castle Howard, at a private dinner for the then Prime Minister’s wife Cherie Blair and even being endorsed by royalty.
His handsome looks then led to him modelling for the online children’s clothes boutique ‘AlexandAlexa.com’.
And then everything stopped. Shane’s mother had walked out of the family home never to be seen again (she is now in prison). This left Shane, his father Clayton and two little siblings to fend for themselves. Clayton, himself a former pro musician and teacher had to singlehandedly look after the family unit. Priority was given to Shane’s education, leaving any potential musical career behind. Money was not just short, it was non-existent at times. Sometimes they were sat in the dark, without electricity.
Suddenly with Shane now well into his teens, the media remembered him. Children’s BBC set him the challenge of composing and performing a symphony for the BBC Northern Orchestra within 8 weeks. Shane completed it in half the time! He performed it in front of a disbelieving audience of several hundred and the BBC cameras.
Shortly after this Channel 4 picked up on Shane’s extraordinary story; this deeply emotive documentary will be broadcast on Dec 19th. This is called ‘Extraordinary Teens – Young Gifted and Broke’.
A major record company, the iconic Decca Records, has now heard Shane’s latest compositions and seen him perform them. Channel 4’s TV programme documents how Shane’s musical genius may now get the big break that once looked so promising but was then snatched away.
Decca Records will release two tracks from the TV documentary – ‘The Ruins’ & ‘Chasing Pawprints’, to coincide with the broadcast on Dec 19th.