Chord in the act: 9-year-old pianist signs collab deal after wowing shoppers in Cape Town mall

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  • Rebecca Seziba is a nine-year-old self-taught pianist.
  • A video of her playing a Celine Dion song in a shopping mall has gone viral, gaining over a million views. 
  • International pianist Rahul Suntah called her "brilliant" and has since signed a collaboration deal with her.

A video of a nine-year-old girl in Cape Town playing the piano in a shopping mall without sheet music has gone viral and has caught the attention of international pianist Rahul Suntah, with whom she has now signed a collaboration deal.

Rebecca Seziba is a classical music lover, much to her dad Emmanuel's delight. She is completely self-taught and has never set foot inside a music class.

"Most of her inspiration came from watching her brother Joshua play the piano fluently. He was also self-taught and all my kids have taught themselves to play musical instruments by watching YouTube videos," Emmanuel tells News24.

The family bought a piano last year for the kids to practise on every day, which, according to the proud dad, was a "very expensive but brilliant investment".

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"Rebecca has always had a keen interest in playing the piano - she would practise for one hour every day, playing whatever classical love song comes to her mind.

"She's really good at memorising music notes and most of the time plays the full duration of a song without even having notes in front of her," Emmanuel added.

On Christmas Eve last year, Emmanuel said he took his family grocery shopping at Table Bay Mall and found hundreds of people doing their last-minute Christmas shopping.

There was a huge white piano in the middle of the mall and he asked Rebecca if she wanted to play something for the shoppers, to which the bubbly youngster nodded eagerly.

She played the theme song of the motion picture Titanic, "My Heart Will Go On", which had shoppers whipping out their phones to snap pictures and take videos of the curly-haired prodigy.

The video has since been shared across social media and gained well over one million views. 

Emmanuel said it's not the first time that Rebecca played in the mall as he takes her once a month to local malls that have pianos for the public to use. 

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"Never in a million years did I think she'd be recognised like this. We as a family are just so proud of her and the achievements she's getting along the way. We knew she had something special in her when she started watching her brother play the piano and immediately could do what he does," Emmanuel said. 

Her talents have since gained the attention of international classical pianist and composer Rahul Suntah, who called her "brilliant".

He has since reached out to her and her family to sign a collaboration deal. The contract was officially signed last week. 

Suntah said:

Wow, Rebecca is amazing. I am excited to collaborate with her.

Suntah's manager David Gummers told News24 that the record company is sent thousands of musical pieces every day and that when they were sent Rebecca's video, they couldn't believe what she could do in a mall without any notes in front of her.

"Cape Town has always been the city with lots of talent and I know that Rahul and I are super excited to get this collaboration going soon," Gummers added. 

Emmanuel said his daughter is homeschooled and has a hectic schedule, but always unwinds for about an hour by playing anything she wants on the piano. 

"I love playing the piano because it relaxes me and helps my brain to focus. I really want to study music and become a professional pianist one day," said Rebecca.


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