Monday, April 23, 2018
News Roundup

Piano prodigy Elias Phoenix to make return visit to 'Ellen Show’

BRANDON — Elias Phoenix, the 7-year-old pianist who played at famed Carnegie Hall in November, then charmed Ellen DeGeneres on her show, is going to make a return appearance on TV.

A representative of the Ellen Show said Elias will return Wednesday for a show that will air Thursday.

During his first appearance on the show, which aired last month, Elias repeatedly hugged and complimented DeGeneres, before performing a flawless classical piece on the piano. Then, Elias and his twin, Zion, rapped Kanye West's Gold Digger.

DeGeneres tweeted that the Jan. 17 show was one of the "most memorable interviews" she had ever done. Others loved the clip too. Its posting on YouTube has been viewed more than 2.5 million times. DeGeneres' tweet also ended up in an article in People magazine.

• • •

Now, it seems, just about everyone wants to do something with the boys.

"We have been inundated with stuff from all over the world," said the twins' mom, Bree Phoenix, who declined to confirm the upcoming performance. "There has been a lot of interest in the boys since the (Ellen) show."

Bree Phoenix didn't want to go into detail about the offers, saying she is not sure what she will accept or reject.

"Some sound promising and it's flattering," she said. "But, a lot of it makes me nervous."

Phoenix, who homeschools the twins, taught the boys piano at age 3. Elias loves classical music while Zion enjoys jazz music and art. They both love to sing and dance.

The boys' look is as unique as their talents. They have waist-length golden hair and like to perform wearing hats and bow ties. Their long locks are rooted in the five weeks they spent in the hospital following their preterm birth. Phoenix said nurses poked and prodded the twins, often shaving their hair to insert IVs. She pledged she wouldn't cut their hair and she hasn't.

The Tampa Bay Times profiled the twins in November, as Elias prepared to play at Carnegie Hall. The boys talked about their love of music and shared their joy of performing at nursing homes.

So, of course, residents and staff at the local nursing homes where they have performed were glued to the TV when the twins chatted, sang and danced on DeGeneres' show.

Elaine DeVoe, activities director at Brandon's Alafia Village Assisted Living & Memory Care Community, said she melted seeing the boys on the TV.

"I was just so excited for them," she said. "I was wiping tears. They are very special to us. They are sort of like family."

Phoenix said the boys have enjoyed the celebrity ride so far. Elias won the trip to Carnegie Hall in New York City after submitting a video of his piano skills to American Protégé International Music Talent Competition. During the trip, the family got to see the Empire State Building, a Broadway musical and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

• • •

In Los Angeles for the Ellen show, they rolled around town in a fancy car driven by a chauffeur, stayed in a first-class hotel and visited Universal Studios.

Elias and Zion said the New York and Los Angeles visits have been the best trips of their lives.

"I love these experiences," Elias said. Added Zion: "It's all fun. Fun. Fun. Fun."

Elias said he had two dreams in life: to play at Carnegie Hall and to meet DeGeneres. He said he just couldn't stop hugging DeGeneres when he sat next to her on stage.

"Because I can't believe I met her," he said. "Because I love her. She is completely the best!"

Now, their mom said she must decide where to go from here. She will certainly seek the boys' input.

"It makes me nervous and excited," she said. "I've never navigated the waters like this at all. Fame at this age can be a two-edged sword."

DeVoe thinks the boys have enough talent to make it big. Also in their favor, she said, is that they are wonderful children.

"When you meet them you can't help but love them," she said.

 
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