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Viral pianist performs for 13 News in Portsmouth, Ohio
Wednesday, August 20, 2014 10:54 PM EDT
Wednesday, September 3, 2014 11:02 PM EDT
Underneath the Ohio State ball cap, Tolliver sports long blonde hair for his part in The Million-Dollar Quarter at Harrah's Casino in Las Vegas
Jacob Tolliver's newfound internet fame came from playing a piano he had played hundreds of times before at Market Street Hardware in Portsmouth, Ohio.
Last Friday, the store owner called Tolliver and asked if he would like to play the century-old piano one last time before it was removed from the store, which is in the process of being sold.
That is when Tolliver played "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On," the hit from one of Tolliver's inspirations, Jerry Lee Lewis, aka "The Killer."
At the time this article was posted,
the video had been shared more than 311,000 times on Facebook."
Tolliver, 20, was offered a position as the understudy to the Jerry Lee Lewis character in the Million-Dollar Quarter Musical at Harrah's Casino in Las Vegas two years ago.
At the time, the recent high school graduate was about to start classes at Ohio State University.
"I was like, 'Do you go to college, or do you do a Broadway Musical in Las Vegas?' So I chose the musical in Las Vegas," says Tolliver.
So far, the decision has paid off, giving Tolliver invaluable experience in a competitive industry.
He is currently in town from Las Vegas, visiting family in West Portsmouth, where he went to high school.
Tolliver says his grandmother is largely responsible for his interest in The Killer.
"There was a record shop in town that started when I was in second grade," recalls Tolliver. "My grandmother and I would go there and buy records. My first one was Jerry Lee Lewis."
Family friend and local radio personality for WNXT 99.3, Steve Hayes, shot and shared the video of Jacob playing "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On."
"The hardware store, the sound of the piano which is incredible, and Jake just sitting there being as natural as possible," says Hayes. "There were a lot of elements that made this thing very unique."
We lucked out since the piano was still available for Tolliver to play before he leaves for Las Vegas this weekend.
Tolliver took some time to perform for our cameras, this time playing "Great Balls of Fire."
Afterward, he tells 13 News he has been contacted by network talent and talk shows in light of the original video, which is still earning him fans around the world.
"It totally comes naturally," says Tolliver, seemingly unaware of his accomplishment. "It doesn't even feel like I'm doing anything that great, but I think I'm faking it, really."
It appears no one is faking their fascination with the young man with the moves and the energy of "the killer."
While you did not see beneath his hat in either the original video or Ben Nandy's report, Tolliver has grown out his hair and dyed it blonde for his part of Jerry Lee Lewis (see photo).
It even bounces just like The Killer's did.
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