OCEAN CITY, New Jersey (WPVI) — If you’ve spent any time on the Ocean City Boardwalk this summer you probably heard the inspirational rock and roll music of Bryan Woolbert on the keyboard.
The pianist, producer, songwriter and Rowan University grad is legally blind from birth. The 23-year-old was born without vision due to a rare genetic condition. He says he relies on pitch and chromesthesia — the ability to see color in music — to perfect his craft.
“Seeing colors in music. You’re not actually seeing the colors out in front of you, but you’re perceiving them in the back of your head,” explains Bryan.
“Whenever a frequency, a musical pitch sounds, there’s a corresponding color. There are twelve pitches in Western music, and in my mind, there’s a color associated with each of those twelve pitches,” he says. “And my mind sort of automatically developed them at a very young age, 6 or 7 years old. It was very natural and involuntary. It’s really cool.”
In addition to his outdoor performances on the Ocean City Boardwalk, he also performs all over the state –rocking out to his influences Billy Joel, Elton John, Ray Charles and more including jazz and country. He’s even composed around 50 original pieces.
“I learned by ear. I learned by memory. You look at Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles. It’s like patterns,” Wooldbert says. “Music is almost like a language. It is a language really. I memorize patterns for each song.”
His dream one day is to have his own concert at Ocean City’s renowned Music Pier.
“Years ago I attended a global leadership conference. Someone said, ‘If your dream doesn’t scare you, it’s not big enough.’ Dream big. Don’t be afraid. Use that passion inside of you.”
To learn more about Bryan’s music and to join his fan club you can visit: https://www.bryanwoolbertmusic.com
Copyright © 2022 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.