Jodi DiPiazza is 11 and has autism, but she wowed the audience at Comedy Central’s “Night of Too Many Stars.”
Jon Stewart’s bi-annual event to raise money for autism always features a long list of the biggest names around, but the breakout star on Saturday night was little Jodi, who got to perform the hit song “Firework” alongside one of her favorite singers, Katy Perry.
“Hello everybody, I’m going to play ‘Firework’ by one of my favorite singers, Katy Perry,” Jodi proudly said on stage.
Immediately after the performance, Jodi embraced Perry in a big hug as the audience was brought to their feet for a standing ovation.
Jodi was diagnosed with autism shortly before her second birthday.
“What they told us was there’s no cure for it. It’s a life-long disability and don’t expect too much,” Tom DiPiazza, her father, told Comedy Central.
But with the help of an intensive education program, Jodi was able to get specialized attention.
“We are extremely lucky to have gotten into a program where my child was able to access exactly what she needed,” DiPiazza said.
Her parents and teacher picked up early on that she was very interested in music. And now, Jodi is flourishing. She even has her own website devoted to her music and performances.
“At 3, I struggled with speaking but I could sing… and I did constantly. Again, it became apparent that I had perfect pitch. I was fortunate to be admitted to the best school for autism in the entire world,” the website explains. “I still struggle every day with all the deficits and difficulties that autism brings. It’s a full time job. I love making music and I hope that my music makes you feel as happy as music makes me.”
“Anything that she would hear on TV or on the radio station, she would just walk over to her keyboard and start playing. I think through music and through songs she’s making herself known,” her mother, Michelle DiPiazza, told Comedy Central.
And Saturday night, Jodi did just that. The duet performance will air on Comedy Central Sunday at 8pm.