"I looked forward to each day. I was grateful for things like hot coffee and a roof over my head," Daniel Gloud told WFLA
A veteran in Sarasota, Florida, who also happens to be a piano prodigy, went from being homeless to landing a recording contract after a video of him playing gained more than 9 million views on YouTube.
In August 2015, Donald Gould sat down at a sidewalk piano and played Styx’s “Come Sail Away.” After a video of his talent made the rounds, it didn’t take long for people around the world to help him get back on his feet after witnessing his skills and hearing his story.
He was given temporary housing, awarded a full scholarship to finish his college degree and $40,000 was raised through a GoFundMe page.
Gould told WWSB that he ran out of money three semesters short of graduation, took a few jobs, started a family and soon after became addicted to drugs and alcohol.
After his wife suddenly committed suicide in 1998, he “just lost it,” which led to his 3-year-old son Donny being taken away from him by Social Services.
But since his video went viral, Gould’s life has changed for the better.
Jacqueline Bevan, a member of a Sarasota ministry group, reached out to Gould and helped him get treatment for substance abuse.
“We are so proud of him. This wasn t easy, but he has turned his life around, she told WFLA. “We just want to see a bright future for him.”
He has since moved into a halfway house and reconnected with Donny – who now calls him once a week.
“Most of the time you find success right when you’re at the point at, just about had enough. ‘I’m gonna give up that’s it,'” he told the news outlet. “You push yourself beyond that point and you’ll see the door to success open up.”
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Gould was invited to play the National Anthem at a San Francisco 49ers game last September and a record producer from Triple Pop Records in Austin recently offered him a recording contract.
“I never saw myself or anything like this ever happening,” he told WFLA.
His first single, which is now available for pre-sale on iTunes, with an official release on May 27, is the song that changed his life, “Come Sail Away.”
And Gould is just getting started.
While filming with WFLA, he made a special shout-out.
“Hey Jimmy Fallon, this is Donald Gould from Sarasota, Florida. I’d like to do a duet with you, I’m thinking, ‘Come Sail Away?’ That sounds good,” he said.