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Piano takes student from homelessness to Carnegie Hall

ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (CNN) – A talent can take you places you never thought you would go.

A musician in Florida is using his talent to go from homelessness to Carnegie Hall.

James Matthews spends up to 10 hours-a-day sitting before a grand piano, echoing the sounds of Beethoven.

Since he was 3-years-old, Matthews has kept a piano within arm’s reach.

His music has gotten him through the good times in life and the bad.

Matthews said, “I ended up sleeping wherever I could to sleep for a good part over a year and a half.”

After graduating high school, he was homeless and his parents were out of the picture.

Fortunately, the piano studio at Florida Southern College was open 24-hours-a-day.

That’s how his teacher learned of his predicament and stepped in to help.

He said, “He had found me sleeping in his studio and pretty much got me out of that situation. He found me a different school to go to where I had a dorm and a roof over my head.”

He continued to perfect his craft and decided to enter the American Protege International Piano and Strings Competition.

Matthews was an honorable mention winner.

He said, “It’s a dream come true. I, in a million years, thought I would never see myself going on that stage and it just means the world to me.”

A solid performance could springboard his music career to the next level.

He said, “I really don’t know what’s going to happen with it or anything, but I’m just going to go and show my best and stay focused.”