Lansing teen pianist goes viral

Posted: 10:24 AM, Jan 28, 2016
Updated: 2016-01-28 19:31:08-05

Whether it's at the mall or in studio, it's great music that got people buzzing about high school senior Monntel West.

"My phone is just ringing," says West, "ringing, ringing, ringing."

The 18-year-old Lansing Everett student was meeting up with friends at the Lansing Mall on an average Friday, when he decided to sit down at a piano in the middle of the mall.

That choice has changed his life.

"Sara she came up to me and approached me," says West, "and she told me 'you don't mind if I record you do you?' and I was like 'no that's fine.'"

The video went viral, shared on Facebook pages across the country and the world. Today, it has over 550,000 views.

"It makes me feel really good about myself to hear that other people like the way I play," says West.

A life long music lover, amazingly, Monntel has never had formal piano training, and practices at home on an keyboard bought for $8.

For his family, proud doesn't even cover it.

"I'm happy," says dad Reginald Sheffey, "I might not have a smile but I'm very proud."

His aunt and number one cheerleader says the spotlight couldn't be on a better, more deserving young man.

"He gets good grades," says aunt Michelle Sheffey, "he's very respectful, he works."

Monntel has big plans. He wants to attend Lansing Community College and study music management, but viral stardom has a funny way of changing things.

This homegrown Lansing star will keep on playing.

Monntel has been offered free pianos and lessons. He tells me he would like to donate some of that goodwill to local churches and his high school Everett.

He was even contacted by producers in Los Angeles, and they plan to get back to him soon with more information.