The difference foster care can make to a child’s life has been highlighted in a hit TV show. Brad Kella spoke about how his foster parents changed his life during his appearance on Channel 4’s The Piano.

The show sees presenter Claudia Winkleman, pop superstar Mika and pianist Lang Lang tour railway stations around the country to hear from the UK’s best amateur pianists. Brad, aged 22, performed his original piece New Beginning at Liverpool’s Lime Street station during episode five.

In the show, Brad spoke about his difficult upbringing and the impact his foster carers had. He said: “When I was growing up, we had no routine. Never went to school. I used to just roam around the streets all day until about 10.30/11pm at night, causing mayhem on the estate.

“I got put in foster care when I was seven years old with my twin brother. I was so confused. I remember hanging onto the railings outside my foster parents’ [house] and I didn’t want to go in.”

Brad said his foster parents Evelyn and Frank turned his life around. He said: “What they did for me and my brother was absolutely everything. They’d make sure we were up to scratch in school, routine, getting up early, going to bed early. They gave me absolutely everything and more.”

His foster carers also encouraged Brad to develop his interest in music, contributing towards the cost of a piano. “I never started playing piano until I was 14. I can't read music, I’ve never had a lesson in my life. But when I hear music, it's something about it. I feel it differently than normal people.

“Ev put some money in to get a piano. From that moment, my life changed.”

Brad spent hours teaching himself how to play. He said: “Once I started playing piano, I stared feeling this unique feeling about myself, that I was my own person.

“I owe it all to my foster parents, because prior to them I had no one there to believe that I would be capable of doing such a thing as playing the piano. They’re the best people in the world.”

In 2020, Brad and his girlfriend Abby became parents themselves to daughter Phoebe. He explained on the show he was entering the competition for his daughter, as well as to encourage other children in care.

He said: “I want to show people anything is possible if you believe because I’ve had everything against me. Some people think my story is a sad one. The best thing about my story - it's not finished yet. I don't think it’s going to end in a sad story.

“There’s a new beginning for everyone. You just need to search for it.”

Brad’s performance at the station was so special that Mika and Lang Lang selected him to appear in The Piano’s final concert, which was broadcast on Sunday 9 June. He performed a song called Eve & Frank, dedicated to his foster parents, who were there to watch him. Before he played, he told the audience: "I got put in foster care at the age of seven, but I had the best foster parents in the whole world.

"They gave me the capability to dream, to believe that anything was actually possible.

"There's a stigma with kids in foster care and we genuinely get seen as just a number. I want to show people what a number can do." You could change a child’s life in the same way by becoming a foster carer with Foster for East Midlands. The hub represents local authority foster care across Derby, Nottingham, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

There are lots of different types of fostering and people from all walks of life can foster. What’s important is your commitment and passion to make a difference to a child’s life. If you’re interested in providing a loving home for children when they need it most, get in touch with our friendly team or come along to one of our events.

You can watch all episodes of Channel 4’s The Piano on demand.



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