LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Ian Macklin-Sims has been described as a genius and a child prodigy.
The piano-playing phenom from South Los Angeles has performed across the country — even once opening for soul funk band Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly — without a single lesson.
The 16-year-old high school junior started playing the piano at the age of 5. However, Macklin-Sims told CBS2’s DeMarco Morgan that he just now has started to learn to read music.
“It started out with just catching the rhythm, I would take it and figure it out and go practice all the time, and eventually I’d get it down,” Macklin-Sims said.
“Eventually, I learned how to play chords, and then I learned how to play melodies. I started out with three notes, five, seven, nine and it just and grew,” he added.
Morgan put the humble genius to the test at the Fernando Pullum Community Art Center in Leimert Park, throwing out names of artists such as John Legend, Alicia Keys and Stevie Wonder. Macklin-Sims could immediately play their songs by ear.
However, even though his musical talent is unmatched by his peers, with his infectious smile and bigger than life personality, he swears he’s just like any other teenager.
“Trust me, I am, I promise you I go through the same thing that my peers go through,” Macklin-Sims said.
The humble teen is starting to recognize that there is something special about his innate abilities, but gives all the credit to his faith.
“Honestly, just part of me believes I didn’t even do it, something was like, just in me I guess.”
He says he got all his support from his parents, his community and his mentor, Fernando Pullum, a music legend in his own right.