Also Known As: Boogie Woogie Kid
Born in: United States
Famous as: YouTuber
siblings: Joshua Ball
education: Oakland University
Matthew Ball, also known as the ‘Boogie Woogie Kid’ is a famous YouTuber whose piano-playing videos went viral. He initially pursued the piano only as a hobby but was mentored by the classical pianist Flavio Varani during his days at Oakland University. Matthew Ball ended up graduating in both law and music and initially decided to pursue law. After struggling for many years, he decided to give up law and pursue his passion by playing music professionally. He began by uploading his recordings on YouTube; these videos became popular and Ball started performing in public. He switched from classical music to ragtime, boogie-woogie music as it appealed to a wider audience. This switch only increased his fame, and he began performing at reputed venues. His view count on YouTube also soared high, and currently stands at over 4 million views. Many media outlets recognized his genius and named him the ‘Boogie Woogie Kid’. He continues to perform at various events across the country and teaches his students through the Internet.
Rise to Fame
Matthew Ball began learning the piano at a young age. His mother recognized his interest and enrolled him in professional lessons and he continued practicing every day. He played the piano only as a hobby until college. However, during his time at Oakland University, he met the classical pianist Flavio Varani, who encouraged him to pursue the piano. Varani himself traced his tutelage to the Polish composer and pianist, Frédéric Chopin. He learnt foundational classical music along with Varani. At the same time, he was studying for his law degree because he wanted to pursue something vocational. After graduating with a degree in Law, Music and History, Ball mostly worked as an attorney and was stuck in a rut. Five years of bureaucratic struggle took a toll on him, and he did not want to spend his life working as a lawyer. He decided to make the best of his life and turned to his first love, the piano, professionally. In particular, he started performing jazz piano recitals and poured his heart and soul into it. He has never had to look back since and confessed that he was happy following his passion instead of pursuing something lucrative.
Ball decided that playing just classical music wouldn’t earn him enough to sustain his lifestyle and decided to branch into swing piano, ragtime, and barrelhouse blues. These were more contemporary and appealed to a wider demographic audience, while retaining its rhythmic essence. Most of style dated back to the American swing era. He started using YouTube to upload his recordings and skills in 2006. His fan base slowly grew, and his videos started attracting more views. In no time, his videos had touched the 1-million-view mark and he was inundated with several music requests. At the same time, Ball started performing live and went on tours. His breakthrough occurred in 2005 when he performed at Arches Piano Stage, Cincinnati with other established musicians. After this, he earned many more YouTube subscribers and has extensively performed in many schools, events, and concerts.
His most popular videos on YouTube are ‘Hot Boogie Woogie’ and ‘Boogie Woogie Piano’. So far, he has released three CDs: ‘Classic Boogie Woogie’ in 2005; ‘Boogie Woogie Kid’ in 2008; and ‘Rainmaker’ in 2011. He has also co-written two books on music: ‘The Art of Boogie-Woogie’ in 2007 and ‘Blues Preludes’ in 2008. Apart from musical books, he writes children’s books as well. The first book ‘The Worm and the Caterpillar’ was written along with his brother; the second book ‘Minnie and Melvira’ was written along with his father.
More recently, Matthew Ball has transitioned into an international piano teacher and often conducts his classes through Skype to reach a wider audience. He remains an active performer as he loves performing swing music because it appeals to both the young and the old. He was recently featured on NPR’s show ‘All Things Considered and Morning’. Other radio and TV appearances include Michigan Public Radio, The Craig Fahle Show, The Art & More Show, and Ann Delisi’s Essential Music.
In September 2018, he performed a children’s charity program with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Ball’s affable personality and cheerful demeanor makes him very popular among young kid who are keen to learn the instrument, and they often enroll in his classes. In the future, he wants to pursue the tradition of ‘Boogie Woogie’ music as it is not as prominent as other genres. He also expressed his regret about not learning Boogie Woogie through formal education.
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Family & Personal Life
Matthew Ball is based around Oakland, USA. He has a brother, Joshua Ball, who is also a musician and author. He is currently married to Lisa, with whom he often writes books and other educational materials. His wife is an editor and illustrator.