Mobile Piano Man plays his last note in Wichita Falls

Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 10:48 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - You may have seen or heard him play at a stop light, at the farmers market, or outside of downtown businesses the past few years, where he earned himself the nickname: “the sound of downtown.” Now, he’s moving on from the city to his next adventure.

“I got an idea, I got it.” Anthony Ailey said. “We need to put you in the back of a truck, I was like, huh? What?”

Ailey’s dream was to play the piano in front of people, but he never thought it would be in the back of a truck.

“It was a threshold of on the other side of this feeling is a life-changing moment,” Ailey said. “I felt really strong in 2018 and on the other side of that moment, cause it was like October, I felt that in. On the other side of that moment, was the very first piano truck. I’m finally getting recognition for what I love.”

Shortly after, Ailey started the piano truck, he went viral and said the key was hard work and keeping faith in himself.

“I always believed it was a God-given gift, you know, sometimes you need to be the only one that bets on yourself,” Ailey said.

Even after Ailey went viral, there were still obstacles he had to overcome.

“I’m a musician but you know what I don’t feel like I’m that good right now and I also just feel like I’m wasting my time and I would internalize that and keep working and shut those things down,” Ailey said. “I had to bet on myself. I had to stay passionate about it.”

Ailey’s bet on himself turned out to be a good one, as he began gaining recognition from his community.

“What I named him, I named him ‘the sound of downtown’ because he was the main music, like the soundtrack, for when people walk around and he’s good,” Marcus McGee, DJ and owner of Maniac’s Mansion, said. “He’s really really good!”

You may have seen Ailey playing in traffic or downtown, and business owners said they are going to miss hearing him play.

“It’s bittersweet, but it’s time for him to grow out of his shell, you know, it’s time for him to go and venture on, and I always tell anybody who leaves Wichita falls you can always come back, we ain’t going nowhere,” McGee said. “You know, it’s going to be here so go on and do what you need to do and then you never know, just come on back and that corner will be waiting for him.”

Ailey will be moving to South Korea with his new bride, who is being stationed there, but said you can always enjoy his music on Apple Music or Spotify.

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