The 14-year-old singer and Britain’s Got Talent finalist Malakai, whose angelic singing won the hearts of both viewers and judges, reducing some to tears, has secured a record deal with Universal Music, home of the legendary opera singer Pavarotti.
The child wonder’s debut album, entitled Golden, a collection of both classical and classic songs, including Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Pie Jesu, which he performed for his audition on BGT, will be rushed out to music shops and other outlets in the UK next month.
Malakai said: “I can’t believe my dream has come true and I’m signed to the record company with the biggest opera stars in the world.”
Since his appearance on BGT, the young chorister has garnered international interest and praise, including a personal message of congratulations from the president of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio.
Malakai has also won the attention of Hollywood, singing on the soundtrack of the forthcoming movie Maestro, about the life of Leonard Bernstein. The biographical film is directed by and stars Bradley Cooper, and is produced by Hollywood greats Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg.
The album also includes his version of Puccini’s O Mio Babbino Caro, which he sang live in the BGT semi-finals reducing judge Bruno Tonioli to tears, who told him: “You’re a gift from God.”
Golden is due for release in July on Universal Classics and Jazz in association with Classic FM. The first single – Pie Jesu – is already available. Malakai’s performance of the song in his BGT audition, which has since surpassed 55 million views, earned him Simon Cowell’s golden buzzer.
The youngster started singing at the age of seven with St George’s Cathedral Choir in London and attends the state school Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School in west London, singing with its acclaimed choir Schola Cantorum.
Through performing with Schola Cantorum, he has developed his solo as well as his choral skills and to perform in concerts. Malakai made his operatic debut in the Magic Flute at the age of 12.
Faith is a huge part of the singer’s life, alongside his school studies, choir practice and his recent experience on Britain’s Got Talent. He has recently completed his confirmation. Scott Price, director of music at Malakai’s school and a conductor on Golden, said: “Malakai has a unique, wonderfully expressive and flexible voice.
“He possesses intense musicianship and a real gift for storytelling – it is always a joy to hear him sing and it has been a real pleasure to help him prepare for this recording.”
Helen Lewis, executive producer and A&R manager for Universal Classics and Jazz, said: “Malakai’s soaring, honeyed voice has the most extraordinary effect on those who hear him sing.
“A talent like his is incredibly rare. He has brought so much joy to the whole team at Universal Classics and Jazz, and we can be sure there are many more milestones to come for this young star.”