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Autistic Teen Takes YouTuber’s Invitation To Sing — And Sounds Like John Mayer!

Hearing 16-year-old singer Ryan Woodard perform with his band, you’d never guess that he was nonverbal throughout most of his childhood. Ryan shared his story with YouTuber Guitaro 5000 when the two met at the NAMM convention. During their conversation, Reginald Guillaume (Guitaro’s real name) was surprised to learn that the autistic musician had been unable to communicate through speech until the age of 10. He actually learned to speak by memorizing song lyrics.

“What changed my life is music,” Ryan said. “It made me feel more verbal, and it made me feel more confident.”

Teen singer Ryan Woodard performs with Guitaro 5000.
Screengrab from Guitaro 5000/YouTube

At the age of 11, Ryan made headlines when blues musician Buddy Guy invited him on stage during a show at the Luther Burbank Center in Santa Rosa, California. The audience was floored when the small boy delivered an incredible performance on the guitar. At the time, local news outlet The Press Democrat reported that Ryan’s guitar teacher believed him to be at the college level in music comprehension.

Outside at the NAMM convention, Ryan joined Guitaro 5000 in covering the song “Gravity” by the teen’s favorite artist, John Mayer. He did a spot-on impression of the singer-songwriter’s voice, wowing both his host and the passers-by. When asked what he wanted to do with his life, Ryan answered that he wanted to write and record his own music.

Now, Ryan is well on his way to achieving his dreams. According to his website, the guitarist not only studied with School of Rock, but was selected to be one of their Allstars. Ryan currently performs at concerts and events with his music group, the Ryan Woodard Band. He’s also available to book as a solo act. Besides his amazing voice and guitar skills, Ryan’s talents include playing the piano, drums, harmonica and mandolin.

Watch the video below to see Ryan Woodard sing with Guitaro 5000.

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here.

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