Isaiah Kofie, 43, of Aurora, Colorado, was stunned when his autistic 11-year-old son played the keyboard for the first time with exceptional talent. Jude Nyame Yie Kofie’s music talent, described to be on par with Beethoven’s, never received piano lessons before unveiling his hidden gift.
“For some reason, God turned around and blessed him with this talent and now it’s everywhere,” Isaiah Kofie said.
Jude Kofie is one of four children to Isaiah Kofie and his wife. Jude’s talents are more remarkable given his start in life. Jude experienced several medical complications when he was younger. He was born premature with low oxygen levels, and he had a hole in his heart. He had to undergo heart surgery, and he was later diagnosed with autism.
“The heart normally seals by itself, but it wouldn’t for some time, it wasn’t sealing up,” Isaiah Kofie said of his son’s heart condition.
For years Jude was in and out of the hospital. He was hooked up to a gastrostomy tube until he was 8 years old. The G-tube is a medical device surgically placed into a child’s stomach for additional nutrition or medicine.
“He had a breathing tube and G-tube, a heart procedure, lots of stuff and we were all worried about him,” Isaiah Kofie said.
As Jude Kofie’s condition improved with age and his feeding tube was removed, his father asked him what he wanted to celebrate.
“He said he wanted drums, so I bought him drums,” Isaiah Kofie said.
Isaiah Kofie says he played the drums in Ghana before moving to Colorado. Following in his father’s footsteps, Jude’s drumming abilities have made his father proud. Jude’s musical talents took an unexpected leap last year when his father made an unexpected discovery.
“I knew he was a very good drummer, but no keyboard whatsoever,” Isaiah Kofie said.
One morning Isaiah Kofie was watching the news while Jude was in the family basement where all their instruments are stored. He then heard Jude’s keyboard producing beautiful music. He ventured to the basement and was in amazement.
“I heard him playing on it, so I grabbed my phone, and started recording him,” Isaiah Kofie said.
“I just started making music,” Jude Kofie said of his savant-like talent.
It was Jude Kofie’s first time actually playing his keyboard, which added to the shock. Isaiah Kofie questioned how and where his son learned to play the keyboard.
“He’s developmentally delayed,” Isaiah Kofie said.
Jude says he learned to play by watching YouTube videos and recreating the sound.
“It’s a matter of me hearing the song. Watching people’s skills,” Jude Kofie said.
Savant syndrome “is rare and occurs when someone with an intellectual impairment has one or more skills that exceed a population average. It can occur from birth or develop during early childhood,” Medical News Today reported.
One in 10 people with autistic disorder has some savant skills in areas of art, music, memory, and numerical calculating according to the NIH.
Jude Kofie went viral across social media after his father shared videos of his music online. Piano tuner Bill Magnusson discovered Jude’s abilities through local media reports and gifted the 11-year-old with a grand piano.
“My first reaction was, this kid is Mozart level,” Magnusson told KMGH.
Isaiah Kofie and his son were beyond grateful for Magnusson’s generosity.
“He needs a piano because I want him to play the real music,” Isaiah Kofie said recounting a conversation with Magnusson.
“That comes with a grand piano, and he bought it just like that. He hired a teacher for him to help him start reading music,” Isaiah Kofie added.
Award-winning music artist and television personality Kelly Clarkson also got wind of the piano prodigy and invited him on her show in early January.
Jude Kofie told Clarkson he loves playing music because he loves feeling joy.
Jude Kofie is the lead keyboardist at his church and plays at the children’s hospital where he spent many years as a baby. He says he enjoys playing alongside his father at their church. American gospel and African gospel are his favorite genres to play.
The 11-year-old now receives regular piano lessons to further enhance his skills. He says he wants to become a professional musician and write his own songs once he’s older.
Isaiah Kofie says his family is proud of Jude and the impact his positive spirit is having on others through music. The father of four gives credit to God for everything that has happened so far.
As adoration continue to pour in for Jude Kofie and his family, the 11-year-old is most excited to work with Kelly Clarkson’s music director on an upcoming performance in the spring.
“They’re going to be documenting all of his mentorship and hopefully he becomes a huge artist like herself, we pray,” Isaiah Kofie said.
“Then I’m going to play with her band again,” Jude Kofie quipped.
The Autism Society of America urges parents of children suspected to have autism get them screened by age 4 to improve their chances of managing school and life.