#WeSeeYou: Here’s Why This 18-Year-Old Self-Taught Pianist Went Viral

Like most viral sensations, this video of an 18-year-old pianist was unplanned. But, after Sara Hadley, a Lansing resident, posted her iPhone video of Monntel West playing his own rendition of “River Flows In You,” West became an overnight sensation and heavily sought after guest for media outlets.


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Monntel West, a senior at Everette High School, is a self-taught pianist who doesn’t own a piano. So, when he saw an upright piano sitting in the east end of Lansing Mall, he took the opportunity to play a cover of “River Flows In You,” a classical tune originally performed by Korean artist Yurima. At the time, West was waiting for a friend and had no intention of giving a performance. He simply wanted to kill time. But, he quickly drew a crowd.