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Grand Forks native to compete tonight on ‘America’s Got Talent’

The 24-year-old pianist, who grew up on a hobby farm between Grand Forks and Thompson, lives in Los Angeles where he has built a career in entertainment, “freelancing in the creative industry,” he

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Grand Forks native David Snyder is scheduled to appear on "America's Got Talent" at 7 p.m. tonight (Aug. 2) on NBC.
Photo by Connor Clayton
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GRAND FORKS – Grand Forks native David Snyder is among the musicians who will appear on the NBC-TV show “America’s Got Talent” at 7 p.m. tonight (Tuesday, Aug. 2), according to his agent, Madison Brooks, music manager at MPS Management.

On the show Snyder will perform an arrangement of a pop song that he composed, he said.

The 24-year-old pianist, who grew up on a hobby farm between Grand Forks and Thompson, lives in Los Angeles where he has built a career in entertainment, “freelancing in the creative industry,” he said.

America's Got Talent - Season 17
David Snyder, a Grand Forks native who lives in Los Angeles, will complete on "America's Got Talent"; the show airs at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 2 on NBC. (Photo by Trae Patton/NBC)
Photo courtesy of NBC/Trae Patton/NBC

Snyder moved to LA in late 2016, months after high school graduation. Like many aspiring actors, he was working as a server in a restaurant when the pandemic hit and “everything shut down,” he said. He decided it was a good time to professionally record much of the music he’d composed over the years and ended up releasing an album of piano music in 2020 that was very well received. He also began to make TikTok posts that started to get traction,” he said.

Today, the self-employed freelance musician, model and actor has about 100,000 TikTok followers, who have latched onto his fun, upbeat and eccentric videos on the social media platform.

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Earlier this year, Snyder caught the attention of producers of “America’s Got Talent” who invited him to make an audition video as kind of a pre-audition step, he said. He sent in videos that showcased his comedic style and talent as a pianist. That led to an invitation to be on the show which was recorded in April and airs tonight.

Active in the arts

Snyder, a homeschooled student, was involved in extracurricular activities – including choir, theater and cross country – in the Thompson public school system.

“I started playing piano when I was 8 and fell in love with it, and now I’m going to open for Snoop Dog,” he said in one of his recent social media posts.

Growing up, he remembers watching “America’s Got Talent” with his nine siblings.

“All 10 of us kids would pile onto the couch at home and watch (the show). It was such a fun time for us as kids,” he said. They’d discuss the show, each weighing in about their favorite performers.

“I remember saying ‘I want to be able to play piano on that show someday,’ ” he said.

His parents, Paul and Shawn Snyder, who still live in rural Grand Forks, were always very supportive of his dreams of becoming a professional musician, composer and actor — and he's very grateful for that, he said.

“At 16 years old, I said I want to be an actor.”

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His parents supported his desire, at age 18, to participate in a talent showcase event in Florida.

America's Got Talent - Season 17
David Snyder, 24, is a freelancer in the creative industry in Los Angeles. (Photo by Trae Patton/NBC)
Photo courtesy of NBC/Trae Patton/NBC

Other important influences in his life were his first piano teacher, Heidi (Cameron) Muszynski; another piano teacher, Mary Jane Halverson; and Thompson High School teacher Marjorie Myrold, who directed the choir, band and theater productions.

“I grew up doing musicals nonstop,” said Snyder.

Cameron, then a high school student, “made piano so much fun,” he recalled. Under her guidance, he learned the piano “was not a place of obligation or frustration or pain. It was fun and therapeutic for me.”

TikTok exposure

As a young student, he trained in classical piano but, in high school, began branching out to embrace a more comedic and improvisational style, he said. These days, Snyder brings that playful, fun-loving spirit to the TikTok posts he uploads almost daily. And it has caught on with his loyal social media followers.

One of his posts went viral, and “got close to one million views,” he said.

America's Got Talent - Season 17
David Snyder will perform an original arrangement of a pop song on "America's Got Talent," airing at 7 p.m. tonight (Tuesday, Aug. 2) on NBC. (Photo by Trae Patton/NBC)
Photo courtesy of NBC/Trae Patton/NBC

In TikTok posts, he blends impressive piano playing with comedic jokes, such as the series where he introduced viewers to “different kinds of piano-players,” he said.

“I dressed up like a jock and played to impress a girl or I dressed up like a nerd” or a very stiff and formal classical pianist, he said.

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Viewers of tonight’s “America’s Got Talent” show will get a dose of that talent and learn if Snyder goes on to the next round, the second of four rounds in the competition.

Snyder cannot say before the show airs whether he will advance, he said, but “the judges did enjoy my act.”

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Related Topics: MUSIC
Pamela Knudson is a features and arts/entertainment writer for the Grand Forks Herald.

She has worked for the Herald since 2011 and has covered a wide variety of topics, including the latest performances in the region and health topics.

Pamela can be reached at pknudson@gfherald.com or (701) 780-1107.
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