HE has been hailed as Britain’s Mozart, has played private shows for celebrities, and releases his first album, Note My Dream, this month.
And now Woking’s teenage piano genius, Shane Thomas, will be playing a special hometown show at the New Victoria Theatre on Saturday, June 27.
“I’ll be playing mostly my own music but there will be a couple of classical pieces as well,” says the 15-year-old. “I’ll also have a cellist – Catarina – some dancers and a string quintet on stage as well.”
Shane started to show amazing musical talent when he was as young as three, but things really took off when he got his first piano at the age of seven.
“I can remember it,” he says. “I think the first thing I said was: ‘Why did you make me wait so long?’ I then spent quite a lot of time playing it.”
In fact, he began composing his own classical pieces, skipping grades one-to-seven on the piano, and sitting grade eight piano when he was 10.
“It all seemed quite natural to me, so I thought it was a bit weird that people made such a fuss about my playing,” he says.
He’s equally unfazed by playing for celebrity audiences and says of playing for Cherie Blair, the wife of former PM Tony: “She just invited me, I think. It wasn’t at number 10, it was somewhere in Bayswater.
“I had a little chat afterwards and she was very nice. Tony wasn’t there because he had to go away.”
And the Duchess of Kent was so impressed by Shane that she sponsored him to attend the Royal Academy. Shane was the youngest person to be signed to a music publisher (aged 10); he won the young composers award at the age of 11; and he has constantly been compared to child prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
That’s one thing the teenager is not so pleased about.
“It’s a bit weird because I’m being compared with someone I’m not,” he says. “Although he’s a very high-up figure, it’s a bit weird to be compared with someone like that.
“Actually, I don’t like the majority of his work. I like more expressive music – my favourite composers are Debussy and Chopin.”
Shane sees his own future in composing. He says: “Maybe I could work on film music. That’s where I think my music would work well, although I don’t watch that many films.”