Pensioner who has become a TikTok sensation loved by Doja Cat is coming to Cornwall

Ian Rae is a perfect example of the old adage “never give up on your dreams”. The pensioner has become a TikTok sensation at the age of 75 and even counts American rapper Doja Cat among his fans. In fact, the hip hop star told her 25.5m followers on the social media platform: “No one else deserves a platform, I rate this 11 out of 10. Everyone should quit.”

Not bad for a man who preferred the safety of his computing job, which he retired from when he was 52, to making a career in music. Now he has gathered a following of 400,000 on TikTok for his live piano request show, where he plays his short songs, which he admits are “silly”.

The Scot, who lives in London, is heading to Cornwall next week for Minack Theatre performances of David Copperfield by The Miller Centre Theatre Company, for which he has written all the incidental music.

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The unassuming musician told CornwallLive: “Just over a year ago I would not have believed in my wildest dreams that this would happen to me. I think the moral of the story is ‘never give up on your dreams’ even if you are 74 at the time.”

It all started for Ian at the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020 when he and his wife Morven were stranded on a cruise ship, the Zaandam, off the coast of South America when it was hit by Covid deaths. They were confined to their cabin for two weeks when, to keep their spirits up, Ian started making little films to send to their family back home in Britain.

“I just wanted to make them smile and that was the end of it. Then a year later, in March 2021, my daughter said I should start putting little films on TikTok. I’m quite lucky because I have a background in computing and technology, so I knew what to do. So I started posting very silly videos, which led to going live with my piano which started getting me a big growth in people following me. People in Japan set their alarms so they can watch me!”

Ian Rae at his keyboard, which has become a familiar sight for millions of TikTok users
Ian Rae at his keyboard, which has become a familiar sight for millions of TikTok users

Ian added: “It’s got almost surreal now. At the request of my followers I have released a single and three albums which in nine months have been streamed 420,000 times on Spotify alone. I was featured in a TikTok video made by Doja Cat, now on 9.6m views, in which she rates my TikTok at 11 out of 10 and suggests that everyone else on TikTok should give up and now I’ve been approached by Ladbible, who would like to feature some of my TikTok videos on their social media pages.

“Doing the TikTok videos keep me young. I’m trying to live to be 150 – 300,000 of my followers are female, for an old man like me that’s wonderful.”

Ian is looking forward to coming to Cornwall for a week from July 25 for the performances of Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield, which features his wife in a role. “I’ll be bringing my keyboard in case we have to change any of the music, as each performance is different depending on the size of the stages.”

To see Ian’s Raeproduced page on TikTok, head here. For tickets to the Minack show see the venue’s website.

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