Listen to Article
They say that when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. That certainly seems to be the philosophy 19-year-old George Dennehy has adopted all his life. For how else can you explain that despite being armless, the musician plays not one, but multiple instruments, all with his feet.
The young boy's start to life was not very encouraging. Born without arms, he was labeled an outcast and relegated to a Romanian orphanage by his parents. However as luck would have it, Michael and Sharon Dennehy from Ashland, Virginia were looking for a child to adopt and immediately fell in love with George!
The best part was they never allowed him to use his disability as an excuse. So just as they had done for their other three kids, when George turned eight, he was signed up for cello lessons. The instrument, which is tough even for people that have the use of both their hands was even more challenging for George, who had to learn to play it with this feet.
But thanks to his tenacious music teacher that learned to play the instrument with her feet so that she could teach the young boy, George not only mastered the cello, but also realized that he had a passion and talent for music. During middle school years when playing the cello was not considered 'cool', he mastered the piano and guitar, which as it turns out, has become his favorite instrument.
As he grew older, Dennehy began uploading his 'performances' on YouTube. Though popular, it was not until last year when his rendition of 'Iris' by the Goo Goo Dolls caught the eye of viewers and surged in popularity. Within days, the video had garnered thousands of fans and was featured on multiple news sites, skyrocketing Dennehy to fame.
The internet sensation even caught the eye of the American rock band who invited him to perform alongside them at Pennsylvania's ten-day long Musikfest in August 2012. Dennehy not only got to perform 'Iris', the song that had brought him all this fame, but also covers of 'Perfect' by Pink and 'Broken Angel' by Boyce Avenue. He was so popular that Musikfest organizers invited him to the 2013 event, as a solo performer.
The success and positive response has inspired this once shy boy to pursue a career in music and also become a motivational speaker who encourages both able and disabled people to seek out their dreams, no matter how impossible they may sound. Dennehy who has even told his tale in his home country of Romania, hopes to change the way disabilities are viewed all over the world so that everyone can get the same opportunities.