VIDEO: Young B.C. singer catches the eyes and ears of James Taylor

Legendary singer-songwriter posts two videos of 11-year-old Malakai to Instagram

Malakai sings James Taylor’s “Steamroller Blues” in a performance at the Duncan Showroom that caught the attention of the legendary songwriter himself. (Screenshot)

Malakai sings James Taylor’s “Steamroller Blues” in a performance at the Duncan Showroom that caught the attention of the legendary songwriter himself. (Screenshot)

Legendary singer-songwriter James Taylor thought a young B.C. musician’s cover of his song “Steamroller Blues” was so nice, he had to share it twice.

The five-time Grammy winner and member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame spotted 11-year-old Malakai’s video of “Steamroller Blues” on Instagram and posted it to his own account on Nov. 21. But that wasn’t enough. Nine days later, he shared the video again, adding an older clip of the Cowichan Valley resident performing Tom Waits’s “Martha,” and tagging the gravelly voiced troubadour.

Both clips, with Malakai on vocals and piano, were recorded during live gigs at the Duncan Showroom.

Malakai had tagged Taylor in his initial post, noting that he has tickets to see Taylor and Bonnie Raitt in Victoria once the COVID-19 pandemic is over. Taylor apparently did his own research on YouTube after that.

“Not only is it good that he posted it,” said Showroom impresario Longevity John Falkner. “The fact he reposted it, that meant he went back and watched the whole show. Then when he added ‘Martha,’ that means he’s looking through the Duncan Showroom archives.”

As of Dec. 1, Taylor’s posts of Malakai’s renditions had racked up more than 33,000 views, and counting. It’s a boon not only for Malakai and the Showroom, but also for the Cowichan Valley and its arts community.

“Now [33,000] people know that the Showroom exists,” Falkner said.

Taylor wasn’t the only celebrity to hype the “Steamroller Blues” video, as former Melrose Place star Daphne Zuniga reposted it from Taylor’s account with the comment “Dang boy!!!” and encouraged her fans to check out his other work.

The Oct. 29 show at which “Steamroller Blues” was recorded was a milestone concert for Malakai, marking four years since his first appearance on the Showroom stage at the age of seven. The prodigy has performed at the Showroom and other Cowichan Valley venues many times, and can often be seen busking across the street from Duncan City Hall during the Farmers’ Market on Saturdays.

The 70-year-old Falkner spotted Malakai’s talent early on and can’t wait to see where it takes him.

“I’ve known all along that Malakai was going to do something,” he said. “I want to stick around another 20 years to see where this kid lands.”

Malakai’s Instagram account can be found at @malakaimusician. The Showroom’s video archive is at youtube.com/DuncanShowroom

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

cowichan valleyMusic

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

As part of Earth Week, Ucluelet Rotary Club member Ryan Wackett will be handing out free Clean Up Packages with grabber picker up tools at his shop Westcoast Connect from April 10 to 23. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Ucluelet Rotary honours Earth Day with week long community clean up

“Let’s spring into action and clean up our beautiful communities!”

Hwy. 4 was shut down in both directions for 10 hours on March 23 as a rock bluff was blasted as part of Kennedy Hill’s ongoing construction. Commuters can expect five more 10 hour closures on five consecutive Wednesdays beginning April 28. (Photo courtesy of Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)
Five 10-hour closures coming to Hwy. 4 between Port Alberni and Tofino-Ucluelet

Closures needed for rock blasting as part of the Kennedy Hill Safety Improvement project.

B.C. Centre for Disease Control maps showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 4-10. (BCCDC image)
Parksville-Qualicum passes Nanaimo in new COVID-19 cases

Greater Victoria had more new cases than any other Island area: B.C. Centre for Disease Control

A screenshot from a Nuu-chah-nulth healing song and performance created in collaboration between Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso. (Screenshot from YouTube)
WATCH: Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation brothers produce COVID-19 healing song and performance

Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso share dance and inspiration.

Ucluelet locals Rachael, Caroline and Tom enjoy refreshments on a sunny Monday afternoon at a picnic table dining area set up by the District of Ucluelet to help residents and visitors support local businesses while staying outside. (Andrew Bailey photo)
Ucluelet chamber launches bingo contest to support local restaurants

Four Ucluelet Co-op shopping sprees are up for grabs in #Ukee2go competition.

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

For Leela Harrop, the recent death of her brother Raju Tiwari pushed her to sign up for the vaccine. Photo supplied
Island woman on fence about vaccine prompted by brother’s death

Leela Harrop of Comox says she did have issues with signing up online this past week

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

John Furlong, Own The Podium board chairman and former CEO of the Vancouver Olympics, addresses a Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday November 25, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
John Furlong presents 2030 Winter Games vision to Vancouver Board of Trade

Vancouver and Whistler would remain among host sites because of 2010 sport venues still operational

Most Read