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13-Year-Old Jazz Pianist Joey Alexander Nominated for 2017 Grammy

Joey Alexander will be returning to the Grammy Awards for his third nomination, joining other nominees such as Anderson .Paak and Yo-Yo Ma.
Image: Joey Alexander
The Jakarta, Indonesia, native started playing Thelonious Monk at six years old and now plays to big crowds in New York City.

Last year, pianist Joey Alexander became the reportedly youngest-ever Grammy nominee in a jazz category with nominations for best improvised jazz solo and best jazz instrumental album. While he didn't take home a statue, Alexander, who is now 13, will be returning to the awards in February with a new nomination in the improvised jazz solo category.

Alexander, who is Indonesian, is virtually self-taught, he told NBC News in 2014. Acclaimed jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis invited Alexander to perform at the Jazz at Lincoln Center gala in 2014 after watching a video of him playing on YouTube. Alexander’s performance at the gala earned him a standing ovation and turned him into an “overnight sensation.”

Marsalis, with other members of the jazz community, also helped Alexander and his parents secure a visa and move to New York from Jakarta.

Alexander’s 2015 debut album, “My Favorite Things” entered the Billboard charts at 174, making him the first Indonesian performer to appear on the tracker, according to the BBC. “My Favorite Things” re-entered the charts in January 2016, peaking at 59, and Alexander received another standing ovation for his performance at the 2016 Grammys. His new album, "Countdown," was released in September of this year.

Other Asian Americans nominated at the Grammys include cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who has 16 Grammys and is nominated in two categories for his work with the Silk Road Ensemble, and rapper Brandon Paak Anderson — better known as Anderson .Paak — who is nominated for three awards including best new artist.

"I'll Sleep When I'm Dead," a documentary that follows musician Steve Aoki is also nominated for a Grammy in the best music film category.

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