Homeless Piano Man Goes Viral

Ryan Arcand has been homeless for 30 years. When Roslyn Polard of Edmonton, Canada came upon him playing an outdoor piano in town, she knew she was witnessing something special and pulled out her phone to record the moment. Polard told her that he’d written the piece and that nobody taught him to play music.

In the days since the video was posted last month, it’s attracted attention from millions of viewers. However, little was known about Arcand or his story until CBC and CNN tracked him down to do a story about him, his talents, & his life.  [CNN]

Arcand and his brother were taken from his parents by social workers when he was just a toddler, and he first sat down at a piano in a foster home at eight years old. 

He told the CBC, ”It was as though we were meant for each other. You’re looking at the piano and you’re falling in love with it … I was in tears with this piano.”

He’s no longer allowed to play at the piano where Polard recorded him because he was spotted with an open can of beer and has also been banned from several other public pianos, which leaves him with fewer options for the outlet he so loves. 

The tragic part of this story is that while internet fame is nice, it stands to do little to improve Arcand’s life. It’s also worth mentioning that thousands of other homeless people in Edmonton and all over the world suffer in silence with stories similar to his. Arcand’s fame may not solve his problems, but maybe it can spark a greater conversation to help others like him.


About justin

Justin grew up a country boy in a female-dominated family that smoothed him into the softie he is today. A Seattle radio personality since 2007, he's perfected the art of never taking himself seriously and isn't afraid to cry at movies. Find him riding a scooter (nicknamed "Ivy" after Blue Ivy Carter) through the mean streets of Queen Anne in Seattle or twitter-stalking the Seattle Mariners!