World Record-Breaking Teen Musician Neil Nayyar Featured on the Jennifer Hudson Show and Good Morning America
Neil Nayyar plays 117 instruments at the young age of 17. Due to his impressive musical talents, he has been invited on the Jennifer Hudson Show, Good Morning America, and to participate in the competitive GRAMMY Camp program for musically-gifted high school students. Today, he shares his story with us, his experiences on these shows, and how he markets himself.
About Neil Nayyar
Neil Nayyar is no stranger to breaking musical world records. At 12, he broke the world record by playing 44 instruments. Only a year later, he broke his own record by playing 107.
At 17, he can play 117 instruments from around the world. Many of his instruments are string instruments, such as the guzheng from China, the gadulka from Bulgaria, and the sitar from India. Neil can also sing in six different languages, including English, Spanish, Chinese, and Hindi.
His love of music started in the womb when his father began playing Mozart’s music for him. At two years old, his parents bought him a mini drum set, which he was initially reluctant to play. However, around six years old, he attended a drum class and wowed the instructor and his parents by playing the drums well after only one lesson.
Following that, his parents gave him another instrument, the guitar, which he quickly learned to play. These discoveries led him to continue learning more about the traditions and cultures of musical instruments, and he continued expanding what he could play.
Appearing on the Jennifer Hudson Show
Neil Nayyar began creating social media content about his instruments after he received a lot of interest in what he was playing at different festivals. He also published his book Passion to Exploration of 107 Sound Machines, an educational, illustrated book teaching others about different instruments around the world.
For his prolific musical expertise, Neil was invited onto the Jennifer Hudson Show to show off his skills and perform for a live audience with his many unique instruments. On the show, he was given a room to rest, and a producer came up to him and suggested letting Jennifer Hudson play some of Neil’s instruments.
Neil Nayyar shares, “She [Jennifer Hudson] knows how to sing but doesn’t know how to play those awkward instruments, so I had to explain to her how certain parts were going to work… She tried around eight instruments when I was performing. It was phenomenal.”
Afterward, Neil was given a tour of the stages and studio. He deeply enjoyed seeing the different stages, parking spots for the movie stars, the scoring stage where they record music, and more.
When asked how he got onto the Jennifer Hudson Show, Neil explains, “They contacted me from my website, which was interesting. They said, “Hey Neil, we like you and want to see some videos of yourself.” After that, they said they wanted me to do a Zoom meeting with them.”
After a Zoom audition, they reached out to him within a few hours, and he was asked to prepare a piece for the show, demonstrating his musical talent. The show’s team booked his hotel and arranged everything within a day, which he shared was mind-boggling.
Neil Nayyar shares that he recently updated his website, a primary part of his marketing that has led to several tremendous opportunities.
He was featured on Good Morning America in the Extraordinary Kids series, which was a fantastic opportunity. The Good Morning America team even traveled from New York to his house in Sacramento to film him.
His website also led him to be contacted and featured in a Honda commercial. After being approached for the commercial, he was told he was in the top 10 people being considered for the commercial.
A week later, he was contacted again. This opportunity led to the music in these commercials being composed and played by him. It was around 12 hours of shooting, and the commercial included over 25 of Neil’s instruments. His mom was also featured in the commercial introducing Neil and his accomplishments. Neil shares that he loved the experience of working with his mom, and his dad was even in the background of the commercial.
He shares, “When this commercial was released, it was currently streaming on Hulu and Pluto TV… Next year, I’ll be coming on an NBC reality TV show, but for now, I cannot mention the name.”
Due to his many accomplishments, Neil was also selected to participate in the 2022 GRAMMY Camp and participated in the Audio Engineering program. The GRAMMY Camp is a five-day non-residential music industry program for musically-gifted high school students. The competition for this program is steep, and Neil was thrilled to be chosen for the program.
He shares, “I got to learn how the industry works. At the GRAMMYs, they record everything, and for me since I was in audio engineering, I got the chance to see the studio. It was at UCLA actually and I got to see the studios record music… I learned a lot from these highly trained professionals.”
Neil shares, “I’m a senior in high school. I’m 17, so I’m looking forward to getting my music degree and composing music for films. Recently, I’ve been working on one project called Lottery, which is a full-feature film.”
Neil is the Music Director for the upcoming full feature film, Lottery, which will be a significant project for him in 2023. He previously worked on the short film “Lollipop” last year but is excited to take on a feature film.
Neil is also looking forward to releasing his new album.
He adds, “My upcoming album is coming out very soon, which is called Breaking Barrier, and in the album, there is one track and another thing I don’t think anyone has ever done it before, but for the track, I recorded all 107 musical instruments recorded acoustically in one track. It is a 10-minute piece, and in that piece, there are different genres that I added to the song.”