Against All Odds: William Joseph

Piano Prodigy

"I've always known that music was going to be a part of my career in some way," says William, who has become a successful pianist. "My parents appreciated music but were not musical in any way. They called this amazing teacher from Russia who had just moved to Phoenix, of all places."

"William Joseph came to me when he was 4 years old. He started composing at age 5," recalls Stella, William's teacher for 13 years. "His
performances were always memorable. Usually children like that don't come along quite often."

"As a child, I was always considered the bad kid. I remember my preschool teacher actually told my parents that I was going to end up in jail," William recalls. "I have very supportive parents. They just didn't have the means to provide what I needed. Stella was always actively looking for different ways that we could be OK financially for taking lessons."

 

"I sent him to the Boys & Girls Clubs to seek a scholarship," Stella says.

"I was 7 years old when I applied for the scholarship. They told me that I was too young. I had to be 8. So waited until I was 8, and I ended up receiving a scholarship, and it paid for all of my lessons, all of my music, everything. It helped me get on the path I needed to be on. It kept me out of trouble," William says. "I would say the scholarship from the Boys & Girls Clubs not only changed my life, but saved my life."
"My heart goes out to kids who are out there who don't have the means to be able to pursue their dreams," William says. "Being a recipient of this scholarship, I not only feel a desire to give back, but I feel a responsibility."

Jemeille worked with the Boys & Girls Clubs for 23 years, and she was William's mentor while he attended the program. A scholarship fund has been started in her honor, and
she and William select children to receive the award. "Currently, we have three finalists. We have Emily. She's a pianist. Then we have a young man named John, and then our third candidate, Brooke," Jemeille shares. "We're starting small and hoping to do the same thing that we were able to do with William."

"I am thrilled to see if there's any way that I can help them, and guide them and inspire them, anything I can do," William says.

Dr. Phil introduces Jemeille and asks, "What did you think of this kid when you first ran into him?"

"He's a little booger," she says with a laugh. "A very, very talented young man, fantastic family."



"What's it like to work with David Foster?" Dr. Phil asks William, who has been recording an album with the 14-time Grammy-winning producer.

"At first, it's extremely intimidating," William says, noting that he's a huge fan of David's. "When I actually got to meet him, that in and of itself was just thrilling. He's such a great producer. He's just so interactive."

 

William performs "Beyond"

and "Asturias" from his new CD, Beyond.