James Matthews: University of West Florida musician goes from homeless to playing Carnegie Hall

PENSACOLA, Fla. - A University of West Florida music student, who was once homeless, has now been chosen to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

James Matthews, 24, is a music performance major and recipient of a music talent scholarship. He said he spends up to 10 hours a day sitting before a grand piano echoing the sounds of Beethoven.

Since he was 3-years-old, Matthews has kept a piano within arm's reach. His music has gotten him through the good times in life and the bad.

"I ended up sleeping wherever I could sleep for about a year and a half," said Matthews.

After graduating high school, he became homeless, and his parents were out of the picture.

Luckily the piano studio at Florida Southern College in Lakeland was open 24 hours. That's how his teacher learned of his situation and stepped in to help.

"He found me sleeping in his studio and pretty much got me out of that situation, found me a different school to go to where I had a dorm and a roof over my head," said Matthews.

James continued perfecting his craft at the University of West Florida.

Eventually he has been able to take his talents to the big stage, Carnegie Hall in New York City. He entered the American Protégé International piano & strings competition and was selected as an Honorable Mention winner.

"It's a dream come true. I never would have thought in a million years I see myself going on that stage, and it just means the world to me" said Matthews.

A solid performance could springboard his music career to the next level. Musicians from all over the world will study his every note, chord and key stroke.

But Matthews has overcome challenges before and Carnegie Hall will be no different.

"I really don't know what's going to happen with it or anything, but I'm just going to go and try my best and stay focused," said Matthews.

He will perform April 20, 2014 at 11:30 am in the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Courtesy: CNN Newsource