Scouser on Channel 4's The Piano hit 'rock bottom' before life changing moment

Brad Kella appeared on Channel 4's The Piano
-Credit: (Image: Channel 4)

A Scouser went from having "absolutely nothing" to becoming a TV sensation.

Brad Kella, 22, from Fazakerley, appeared on The Piano last month. The Channel 4 show sees Claudia Winkleman, pop superstar Mika and pianist Lang Lang tour train stations around the country to hear from the UK’s best amateur pianists.

The team were spotted filming in Lime Street station earlier this year. These scenes were broadcast on May 26, and one performer who stood out was Brad Kella, performing his original piece New Beginning.

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In the show, Brad spoke about his difficult upbringing. He said: “When I was growing up, we had no routine. Never went to school. I used to just roam around the streets all day until about 10.30/11pm at night, causing mayhem.

“I got put in foster care when I was seven years old with my twin brother. I was so confused. I remember hanging onto the railings outside my foster parents’ [house] and I didn’t want to go in.”

However, Brad now credits his foster parents Ev and Frank for turning his life around. He said: “What they did for me and my brother was absolutely everything. They’d make sure we were up to start in school, routine, getting up early, going to bed early. They gave me absolutely everything and more.”

Ev and Franks were pivotal in the start of an unlikely musical career, with Ev making up the difference with his care budget to buy a piano. He said: “I never started playing piano until I was 14.

"I can't read music, I’ve never had a lesson in my life. But when I hear music, it's something about it. I feel it differently than normal people.

“Ev put some money in to get a piano. From that moment, my life changed.”

Brad said he used to sit for hours practising the piano and teaching himself. He said: “Once I started playing piano, I stared feeling this unique feeling about myself, that I was my own person.

“I owe it all to my foster parents, because prior to them I had no one there to believe that I would be capable of doing such a thing as playing the piano. They’re the best people in the world.”

In 2020, Brad and his girlfriend Abby became parents themselves with their daughter Phoebe. He explained on the show he was entering the competition for his daughter, as well as to prove encouragement for other children in care.

He said: “I want to show people anything is possible if you believe because I’ve had everything against me. Some people think my story is a sad one. The best thing about my story - it's not finished yet. I don't think its going to end in a sad story.

“Kids in care are just treated as a number. I feel like I could be a voice for kids like that.

“There’s a new beginning for everyone. You just need to search for it.”

His performance was praised, with Mika saying it was “brilliant”. When Brad was told he'd made it through to the final, he said: "It's been absolutely mad being here. Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity, I won't let you down."

Brad has since taken to social media to say he has overcome difficult periods in his life and thanked viewers for their support. On one Instagram post, he said: “There was a point in my life where I had absolutely nothing and was completely at rock bottom struggling to get by on a day to day basis…. But now I’m looking at life in a way I never thought would be possible.

“The last few months have been life changing and with so many more opportunities on the way I know it’s going to get even better for me and my family. Thank you all for all of the constant support and love you show me, it doesn’t go unnoticed.”

Fans were quick to share their support for Brad. One said: “No words for the true immense talent you have, you should be so proud of yourself, cannot wait to watch the rest of your journey, outstanding.”

Another said: “Brad, you are extremely talented and very special, the world needs to hear all about you and the beautiful music that you have composed, your music speaks to the heart and soul. You have a very bright future ahead of you.”

A third person added: “So so amazing! Just watched The Piano. Your music is so moving and you are a real star. To show such courage and emotion is absolutely inspiring. Very best of luck to you and all your family.”

The final episode of this series of The Piano will be shown this Sunday, June 9, on Channel 4 at 9pm.

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