There are child music prodigies who go on to achieve great things as adults, although there aren’t many. One of the best-known child prodigy par excellence was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He played songs on the harpsichord at four years old and composed simple music at five. When Mozart was seven years old, his family brought him on numerous tours to demonstrate his prodigious musical ability, as well as that of his sister, Maria Anna, who was also gifted. If you are wondering, where are the musical prodigies today? There are modern music prodigies in our time as well. In fact, we will share 9 modern music prodigies in our post.
1. Luis Miguel
He was known to the world as “El Sol de Mexico”, which translates to “The Sun of Mexico”. Luis Miguel has won over 45 music awards and was also ranked second in Billboard’s ‘Greatest of All-Time Latin Artists’ chart. Miguel debuted at the age of ten on stage and was hired to sing at the wedding of Paulina Lopez Portillo – the daughter of the Mexican president at the time. That performance inked him a deal with EMI and he released his first album a year later.
When Miguel was 15 years old, he won his first Grammy Award for Best Mexican American performance with his single “Me gustas tal como eres”, becoming the youngest Mexican to win a Grammy award. He took second place at the Italian song festival of San Remo with his song, “Noi ragazzi di oggi” and secured two Silver Torches at the Vina del Mar International Song Festival.
Bjork is the biggest international star from Iceland. Her creativity extends beyond music, but it is her music that the world knows her for. Bjork has more than 130 awards to her name including an Academy Awards nomination for Best Original Song in a Motion Picture for “Dancer in the Dark”. What most do not know is Bjork’s early start in her music career.
The Icelander began singing at the age of three and was playing classical piano and flute by the time she was six. After singing at a school recital when she was 11 years old, her teacher sent a recording to Iceland’s top radio station, which was broadcasted across the nation. That same year, she signed a deal with the Icelandic record label Falkinn, with whom she recorded and released her debut album, “Bjork”. She became a solo artist in 1993 after joining different music groups.
3. Gladys Knight
She has one of the most memorable powerful voices in soul music. Gladys Knight began singing in church choirs at the tender age of four. When she was eight, she won Ted Mack’s “The Original Amateur Hour”, a famous national TV talent show. Along with her siblings and cousins, Knight formed a group “The Pips” where they performed together. It wasn’t until 1966 that the group signed with Motown Records, catapulting Knight and her family into the limelight. She went solo in 1985 and her undeniable vocals and talent secured her the status, ‘Empress of Soul’.
4. Yo-Yo Ma
He is considered the world’s best cellist. Yo-Yo Ma was born into a musical family. His mother was a singer, while his father was a composer and a music teacher. Ma displayed an enormous talent in his early years. He played the violin when he was just three years old, and then the cello a year later. By the time he was five, he had memorized three of Bach’s cello suites. In 1962, the seven-year-old Yo-Yo Ma performed a cello-piano duet with his sister in a nationally televised fundraiser for the National Cultural Center attended by US president John F. Kennedy and former president Dwight Eisenhower. That was the start of an illustrious career that saw him nab 18 Grammy Awards through the years.
5. Stevie Wonder
One of the most recognisable and famous artists in soul and R&B, Stevie Wonder won three Grammy awards before he was 25 years old. He began singing and playing the harmonica, piano, and drums at his local church at ten years old. By the time he was eleven, he was discovered by a member of “The Miracles” and signed to the iconic record label Motown in Detroit. When Stevie was 12, he had already released two albums. His third album, “Recorded Live: The 12-Year-Old Genius”, topped the Billboard 200, making him the youngest artist to ever appear on the list. He writes his own songs and has always been experimental with new sounds and genres, making him stand apart from scores of other talented kids of his time.
6. Victor Wooten
Victor Wooten was nicknamed the “Eight-year-old Bass Ace” for a good reason. He began playing music at only two years. He was raised (the youngest of five children) in a big family of musical talents and became the designated bassist of his family’s group. At only six, he was already going on tour, opening shows for soul singer Curtis Mayfield. Wooten has since won five Grammy awards, produced six solo albums, and is considered one of the best bassists of the 1990s.
7. Beyonce Knowles
Beyonce Knowles began taking singing and dancing lessons in school and won her first talent show when she was seven. She sang John Lennon’s “Imagine”, competing against girls twice her age. In the same year, she joined Kelly Rowland and LaTavia Roberson to form their music group, “Girl’s Tyme”, before changing it to “Destiny’s Child”. They signed a deal with Columbia Records and started recording their debut album when she was only 15 years old. By the time she turned 20, with and without her group, Beyonce had already won two Grammy awards, as well as 38 other awards.
8. Celine Dion
Named the “Queen of Adult Contemporary” by Billboard for being the female artist with the most number-one songs on the radio, Celine Dion is Canada’s best-selling artist of all time. However, her immense talent did not materialize overnight. As a kid and a teenager, she was already showing signs of great promise. Dion wrote and recorded her first song at the age of 12. When her future husband, Rene Angelil and music producer heard the song, he was so touched by Dion’s voice that he decided to mortgage his home to fund her first album “La voix du bon Dieu”. The album went on to become Quebec’s number one hit. In that same year, she won Japan’s 1982 Yamaha World Popular Song Festival, and in 1983, 13-year-old Celine Dion became the first Canadian artist to receive a gold record in France for “D’amour ou d’amitie”.
9. Britney Spears
She’s known to all as the “Princess of Pop” and one of the rare cases of a child star who made it really big. Britney Spears received singing and dancing lessons when she was just three, and was performing in recitals and talent shows two years later. When she was six, Spears and her family moved to New York where she studied at the Professional Performing Arts School. She then landed her first job as the lead role’s understudy in the off-Broadway production “Ruthless!”, as well as roles in TV commercials. At 11 years old, she won Star Search and starred in “The Mickey Mouse Club” with future celebrities like Justin Timberlake and Ryan Gosling. After the show ended in 1996, she recorded her first album “Baby, One More Time”, becoming one of the few, and youngest artists, to sell over 10 million copies during the first year.