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Houston man living with autism uses his musical talents for a good cause

William Gray is a talented local singer-songwriter who is beating the odds and helping others along the way. William and his mom, Uti Pieters, joined Houston Life on World Autism Awareness Day to speak about how Gray has been raising funds for Autism Speaks for the last 7 years.
William Gray is a talented local singer-songwriter who is beating the odds and helping others along the way. William and his mom, Uti Pieters, joined Houston Life on World Autism Awareness Day to speak about how Gray has been raising funds for Autism Speaks for the last 7 years.

HOUSTON – William Gray is a talented local singer-songwriter who is beating the odds and helping others along the way.

William and his mom, Uti Pieters, joined Houston Life on World Autism Awareness Day to speak about how Gray has been raising funds for Autism Speaks for the last 7 years.

William Gray and his mom Uti (Uti Pieters)

“We started walking for autism speaks 14 or so years ago, and about seven or eight years ago.... we were trying to come up with a different idea to raise help money, and since he (Gray) does these covers of the songs; at the beginning, my friends were very gracious and they would buy his CD’s and he’s my big money-maker for our team. Now his CDs are half cover, half originals, and all of the proceeds for the CDs go to our walk team that goes to Autism Speaks,” said Pieters, who noticed her son’s interest in music since an early age.

William Gray at age 4 (Uti Pieters)

“Ever since I got my first piano, I was happy,” said the visually-impaired musician, who took his first piano lessons when he was 4 years old and was diagnosed with autism at age 7.

“I play the acoustic guitar, the electric guitar, the keyboard, and I’m also a songwriter,” said Gray, who plays different musical styles, from classical music as a pianist to performing improvisational music as a soloist or as part of an ensemble.

William Gray with his teacher and mentor Keeton Coffman (Uti Pieters)

According to Gray, he loves music because “it relaxes me.”

Gray has been a member of several bands as a keyboardist and singer and has performed the National Anthem for several events throughout the Houston area.

William Gray playing the synth (Uti Pieters)

For Pieters, supporting his son’s love of music comes easy.

“The more I read and listen to other people that are on the spectrum, they always say to find whatever you’re good at or what you’re interested in and just follow that to help you pass the time to help you be productive, and hopefully will lead you to a job,” said Pieters.

Gray is currently recording original songs for a new CD for Autism Speaks and will be participating in their walk on October 24, 2021.

William Gray and his Family (Uti Pieters)

To see Gray’s complete interview, watch the video.

To see more of Gray’s musical abilities, play the video below.

To support Gray’s walk, click here.

For our Parent’s Guide to Autism and resources, go to click2houston.com/autism.

And if you wish to donate to Autism Speaks, please visit click2houston.com/autism, or call 713-724-5092.

You can also mail your check to Autism Speaks Houston at 5826 New Territory Blvd. # 723, Sugar Land, Texas 77479.


About the Author:

Beatriz is a producer for Houston life. She’s a dog mom who enjoys traveling and eating her way through new cities and cultures.