A 22-year-old musician, who a couple years ago received a load of viral attention for a performance posted to YouTube, is now reportedly the youngest senior fellow to be accepted to the popular TED conferences.
Riaz, according to school officials, will begin presenting at TED talks in 2014, the Globe reported.
The college freshman saw internet fame in 2011 when his video “Fire Fly” went viral:
What’s so special about Riaz? Aside from his talent, it could be the fact that he learned classical piano at 6 years old and started to teach himself how to play other instruments with only the internet as his guide.
Watch this video for more of a backstory on Riaz’s musical genius:
“Watching hundreds of videos online, he taught himself percussive guitar—a style that relies on a sharp striking of both the strings and guitar’s body—as well as harmonica, mandolin, harmonium, and percussion,” Berklee stated in a news release.
Among the many who saw “Fire Fly” a couple years ago was TED curator Chris Anderson, who set Riaz up with a 2012 TEDGlobal performance, leading to fellow status last year and to the senior fellow status he now has today.
On Facebook, Riaz wrote that he’s “very grateful for everything.”