Viral guitar sensation Maya Neelakantan recently fulfilled a dream getting to meet and hang out with Slayer and Exodus guitarist Gary Holt, who actually lent his support and helped her out in an emergency situation during her first ever performance on one of America's biggest stages - America's Got Talent.

Neelakantan first landed on Loudwire's radar back in 2022 when at 9-years-old she shared her exuberance while performing a guitar cover of Tool's "7empest." We weren't the only ones to take notice, as Tool's Adam Jones saw her performance, gifted her one of his Gibson Signature 1979 Les Paul Custom guitars and then later watched as she played clean riffs of 15 of Tool's most complex songs in a video for her YouTube channel.

READ MORE: Nine-Year-Old Plays 15 Clean Tool Riffs on Guitar Gifted by Adam Jones

How Did Maya Neelakantan Meet Gary Holt?

Earlier this month, the young girl revealed in an Instagram post that she and her family were coming to the United States, making an extended trip that included stops in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Nashville, Virginia and New York. Within the post, she hashtagged some of her favorite guitar in hopes of meeting some of her favorite players on the trip.

One of the guitarists who took Maya up on the invite was Slayer and Exodus guitarist Gary Holt, who arranged for he and his wife to fly to L.A. to spend time with the aspiring guitarist.

As it turns out, their day together included a stop where Gary and his wife Lisa were on hand to support Maya as she played her first onstage appearance at America's Got Talent and then had dinner with her family afterward.

"I had an incredible day! Played on America’s Got Talent and on stage for the first time ever! And met the guitar legend Gary Holt for the first time ever! What a day," she exclaimed.

When Gary Met Maya

The young guitarist was beaming after meeting one of her biggest idols, sharing a recap of the day with Gary Holt to her social media afterward.

"I finally met Gary Holt. That was such a special experience," stated Maya. "He's one of my biggest inspirations and an absolute guitar god."

"I was so excited when I saw him. My heart was beating so fast. And finally when I saw him I was getting goosebumps and I ran up and gave him a big hug," she recalled.

Holt came with presents for Maya, gifting her with guitar picks, a pick holder bag, Exodus and Slayer T-shirts and Maya's favorite gift, a signed Bonded By Delay pedal.

"I was able to meet Gary Holt because he flew all the way from Sacramento to L.A. to watch me perform on America's Got Talent, which is actually the first time I'm onstage. And he wanted to be there so he could support me and cheer me on," she reveals."I understand that things like this does not happen a lot, and it feels like a dream come true for me."

As for Holt, he shared via social media, "What a rad day yesterday at @agt!!!! @mayaneelakantan @lisaholt777 and I are so proud of you! And so awesome to have dinner with your family and @guitarprasanna! And fired UP I got to be your guitar tech for a minute to help get your rig up and rocking!!"

There was an issue getting her preamp properly plugged in, but Holt was there to save the day.

Maya Neelakantan Shares Her Visit With Gary Holt + America's Got Talent

Where You Can Find Maya Neelakantan + Gary Holt

Maya remains a social media sensation and you can watch her guitar playing videos through her Instagram and YouTube accounts. In addition, it appears as though she'll be on the upcoming season of NBC's America's Got Talent airing this summer.

As for Gary Holt, Exodus appear to be between albums with no currently booked tour dates for 2024. But it was recently revealed that Slayer will reunite for a trio of festival performances this fall at Riot Fest, Louder Than Life and Aftershock.

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Gallery Credit: Philip Trapp