Homeless piano man gets recording contract, asks Jimmy Fallon for a duet

SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – In his wildest dreams, Donald Gould never thought something like this would happen to him. It just seemed impossible. But, for the man who has been given the ultimate second chance, dreams do come true.

“I tell people the odds of me winning $100 million playing the Lotto are better than something like happening,” he says smiling. “You should always dream big.”

And, he has, even when things seemed hopeless.

Donald knows better than anyone how precious life is. He came close to losing his while living on the streets of Sarasota. Amidst addiction and struggle, this now-famous musician battled a dark world for many years, losing touch with his family and friends.

Then, one day, his skills made him an internet sensation. A video of Donald playing the piano, as he often did on the streets of Sarasota, was discovered on the internet and watched by millions. That one moment, where fate took over, changed his entire life.

Donald’s story was picked up all over the globe. His story captivated people who heard it and inspired countless others. It was a whirlwind for the pianist originally from Michigan. Donald’s potential was seen by many, including a member of a Sarasota ministry group, Jacqueline Bevan, who would help lead him down the right path as he sought treatment for substance abuse.

“We are so proud of him. This wasn’t easy, but he has turned his life around,” she told News Channel 8. “We just want to see a bright future for him.”

As Donald worked on his sobriety, he moved into a halfway house and began giving back to the community where he fostered his love for playing the piano. Only this time, he was sober.

“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,’” Donald told us. “You push yourself beyond that point and you’ll see the door to success open up.”

The door didn’t just open up, it swung wide open and revealed unbelievable opportunities. Donald reconnected with his estranged son, who now calls him once a week. Donald was lauded with praise from the likes of Ashton Kutcher on Twitter. He was invited to play the National Anthem at a televised NFL game for the San Francisco 49ers, which also led to another first since he had never been on a plane before.

Donald appeared on a Japanese television show. He was interviewed by numerous news outlets all over the world. Life had never been sweeter, Donald says. Each moment was better than the next.

“I looked forward to each day. I was grateful for things like hot coffee and a roof over my head,” he told News Channel 8.

Then, it happened. The dream of all dreams. A record producer from Triple Pop Records in Austin tracked Donald down and offered the chance of a lifetime – a recording contract.  And, his first single would be the hit that made him famous, “Come Sail Away” by Styx.

Even Dennis DeYoung from the band offered a congratulations to Donald.

“I never saw myself or anything like this ever happening,” Donald said. The song is now available for pre-sale on iTunes, with an official release on May 27. Donald laughs in disbelief as he shares the moment that the producer contacted him.

“I’m like, ‘Wow!’ Most people go to Nashville or Austin to try and make it big and they’re coming to me here in Sarasota! How cool is that?” he asked. “I’m so grateful.”

There is one more thing that Donald is hoping for as his future progresses. It involves a request, an invitation. He’s had nearly all of his dreams come true. What else could there be?

Donald is hoping a certain NBC late-night talk show host can help. In an on-camera shout-out, Donald said, “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.” Talk about an epic performance.

Jimmy, if you’re listening, please help Donald’s dream come true!

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