Utah Man Hopes To Turn Uncommon Piano Talent Into Career

Apr 10, 2021, 8:50 PM

PRICE, Utah — After facing some incredible life struggles, one Huntington man is hoping for a brighter future by staying “in tune” with an uncommon piano talent he’s had since he was a child.

Tanner Hill has little classical training and struggles when he tries to play to sheet music, but if he listens to a song on the radio or online, he can play it on demand.

“Yeah, basically I just need to hear it,” Hill said.

During a recent session at Lee’s Music on 58 E. Main Street in Price, he demonstrated his prowess by playing classical and contemporary hits with ease, including a sonatina by Clementi, “House of the Rising Sun” by the Animals and “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey.

He wasn’t told ahead of time to prepare for any of them.

Store Manager Mark Dickey called out tunes, and Hill almost seamlessly transitioned into playing them.

When Hill couldn’t quite recall Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Great Balls of Fire,” Dickey played only a few seconds and Hill immediately translated it to the keys of a grand piano.

“Hearing two seconds of it and being able to play it is pretty awesome,” Dickey acknowledged. “Most of them play by reading sheet music and some can play by ear, but not quite on that level.”

Hill said he believes he can play as many as 200,000 songs.

Sheet music is a hindrance, he said.

“Like, I could pick apart at it, but it would be really difficult for my actual ability to play not to take over that,” Hill shrugged.

His talent came at an early age. Hill said he was 5-years-old when his parents heard somebody playing “Jingle Bells” on the piano and came to find him doing it.

“There I was, playing with both hands the same as on the radio, except they said my version was better than what was on the radio, so it kind of threw them off,” he said.

Hill said his parents went around the state, trying to find someone to teach him to learn how to play traditionally and with sheet music.

“I had a couple people just straight-up tell my parents I’m not capable of learning to read sheet music,” Hill said.

Hill performed locally numerous times over the years, with people telling him, “you’re awesome,” “you’re going to be famous someday,” and “you’re going to play at my wedding.”

His path into adulthood, however, was filled with obstacles.

He said he still struggles to hold down jobs to support his family, and he has been financially devastated through three different fires that displaced him.

He was living in a RV next to Utah Lake in Utah County in 2015 when it burned.

In 2018, Hill said he was living in a tent when a wildfire struck.

“We were in a really bad struggle for life,” he recalled. “Like once again, everything we’d saved up to try to get back on our feet…gone.”

His music helped carry him through those dark days.

“It’s a constant stress reliever,” Hill said. “It just kind of takes my worries, my stress and everything away.”

Today, Hill said he works odd landscaping jobs.

He has tried out multiple times previously for NBC’s America’s Got Talent and is hoping somehow to turn his musical gift into a living or career.

For now, Hill shares music on his YouTube channel while using his ability to connect with those around him who also may be facing challenges in life.

“It made me feel better inside that I knew that my music was helping someone else through a rough time,” Hill said.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

JR Johansen with his Uvalde portraits...
Dan Rascon

Utah artist delivers portraits to families of Uvalde shooting victims

A Utah artist recently took a life-changing trip to a small Texas town to make a special delivery for residents who are still recovering from a horrific mass shooting.
1 day ago
Handcuffs in a jail cell FILE PHOTO (Ravell Call/Deseret News)...
Pat Reavy

Four teens looking for rival gang members charged in connection with triple killing at party

Four teen boys have been charged in connection with a gang-related shooting at a house party in West Jordan last year that left three people dead.
1 day ago
A side by side of the two photos. (KSL-TV)...
Lauren Steinbrecher

Utah woman’s engagement photo pays tribute to grandmother’s love story at Bryce Canyon National Park

A Utah couple's engagement photo recreating the bride-to-be's grandparents at Bryce Canyon National Park 63 years later is going viral, with a beautiful love story behind it.
1 day ago
Railroad crossing safety...
Katija Stjepovic

Bill to make Utah railroad crossings safer advances in House

As the beehive state continues to grow, more people are commuting, whether by car, train, or foot, we have seen more collisions on Utah`s railroads.
1 day ago
The Provo Airport is beyond capacity, and plans are being made for increased service and more growt...
Alex Cabrero

New Provo Airport discussing expansion after year of rapid growth

A new airport in Provo is already at capacity and continually growing -- discussions of expanding and additional service are already underway.
1 day ago
Inversion over Salt Lake City...
Jed Boal

UTA free fare year proposed to improve Utah’s air quality

The bipartisan Utah Legislative Clean Air Caucus unveiled several bills and appropriations Tuesday aimed at improving air quality in Utah.  
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Utah Man Hopes To Turn Uncommon Piano Talent Into Career