9-year-old piano player, singer, and painter. As seen busking on the streets of Toronto, Canada, performing local events and the first person in the past 38 years of Maple Leafs history to be permitted to play the arena's organ, live for 20,000 Leafs Fans.
In March 2019, Max and his Mom were sick at home. Having run out of activities to do, Max’s mom asked if he was interested in learning a song on the piano. She herself played a bit during her childhood years and knew a handful of songs by heart. The two of them sat side by side on the piano bench, and she began teaching him 'Fur Elise' - Beethoven. After two hours of practicing, Max learned the first part of the song and was excited to hear the song come together.
Tea, Max’s mom was impressed that he sat there the entire time until he got it right. “Incredible!” she said, “I learned this song at age 12, and here you have learned the entire first part at age 5! and in the first 2 hours of ever playing the piano!”. This was the beginning of Max’s love and passion for the piano.
From that point on Max wanted to hear more. He wanted to learn more songs, see others musicians play. His love for cartoons was quickly replaced with YouTube videos of people playing the piano. He would enjoy playing really difficult songs on YouTube and pretend that he was the pianist and copy their movements on his piano. He often picks songs that he likes from the radio and will sit down and figure them out. Max also composes his own songs on the piano and records them; coming up with all his own lyrics and melody. Currently, Max plays all of his songs by ear but is excited to begin learning how to read and write music and about theory and rhythm.
During a visit to the Distillery District (Toronto, Canada) in July 2019, there, in the middle of the square stood a yellow piano. Max immediately ran over to it and sat down. Right away, Max's parents both knew, that for at least the next hour that is where he would be. As he began playing his songs, a crowd formed around him to watch. The more people that came, the better he played.
This is where Max's love for playing for an audience began! He simply loves 'playing for the people!'.
The following trip to the Distillery District was slightly different as people started putting money on top of the piano for him! He was quite surprised and asked his parents, "Can I keep it?".
From then on Max was a 'regular' in the Distillery District, playing for the people! Max set a goal for himself to use the tips he received while busking to save up for a baby grand piano.
Max asked his parents to start taking him around the city with his keyboard. There were neighbourhoods that he liked and wanted to play in. He would pass by restaurants and ask the employees if they had a piano inside that he could play. Max attended birthday parties of friends, and if they had a piano in the house, he would sit and play. Max also would ask to go to the Indigo at Bay and Bloor because he knew that they had a piano inside.
Max's love for the piano quickly became his life.
His parents saw his passion and together they started busking the streets of Toronto. Max was insistent on getting a busking permit like all the other musicians, but he was only 6 years old at the time and the minimum age in Toronto to apply for a permit is 16. However, since Max became a regular in the Distillery District, he was given a special permit. Max also plays regularity in Kensington Market and Yorkville.
Max was part of the Roots Nice Together campaign in November 2019 where he played the piano for 200 guests including owner Michael Budman as well as Raymond Perkins, Andrew McCurbin, Liz Dogget, James Connell and Patrick Davis.
Max has played at events hosted by philanthropist, Peter Gilgan, and has played on his beautiful Fazioli piano.
During one of Max's afternoons busking in Toronto, a member of the team at MLSE heard Max's playing and invited Max to play a series of 4 Toronto Maple Leaf Games throughout the 2019/2020 season.
Max was part of the Next Generation Games presented by Scotiabank. Other than Jimmy Holmstrom, Max was the first person in the past 38 years of Maple Leafs history to be permitted to play the arena's organ live for 20,000 Leafs Fans.
In 2020, Max was featured in two Maple Leafs books titled "100 Things A Leaf Fan Should Know", written by Mike Leonetti and Paul Patskou as well as "Voices in Blue and White", written by Kevin Shea.
Max continues to pursue his passion for piano and has also began channeling his creatively through other instruments and artforms, including the drums, xylophone and acrylic, pastel and watercolour painting.
Max really enjoys being able to help other kids through his talent and passion for art and music. It’s what he loves to do!
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Max has continued playing music for audiences through Instagram Live Concerts. Through his Instagram concerts, Max has raised over $4,000 for Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada! Funds raised support kids involved with Canada’s child welfare system to have access to programs to help with school, playing sports or even music classes.
Max is excited to continue his fundraising efforts through his art and is hosting a series of Art Auctions.
On Thursday, February, 16th 2023 , Max Keys hosted a fundraiser for Save the Children to support children affected by the Türkiye and Syria earthquakes with a 30 minute Instagram LIVE concert.
With freezing temperatures, Save the Children is racing to reach tens of thousands of children with emergency kits, including blankets, sleeping bags and winter clothing, as well as food, water, heaters and baby supplies.
Max has set a goal to raise $10,000 with the help of all of you! Thank you to everyone who tuned in and donated. Donate today below!