Boy, 11, releases album after music giant spots lockdown song for grandmother

PA

An 11-year-old schoolboy who sang to his grandmother over the internet during lockdown has released his debut album after being spotted by a prestigious record label.

Cormac Thompson, from Darwen in Lancashire, uploaded a cover of his “nannie’s” favourite song, Danny Boy, to YouTube after the camera on her iPad broke, halting their weekly video calls.

Cormac, who enjoys the video games Fortnite and Minecraft in his spare time, had been unable to see his maternal grandparents, who live in Northern Ireland, since last Christmas due to the pandemic.

His version of Danny Boy was also noticed by Decca Records, the home of Katherine Jenkins and Andrea Bocelli, who signed a deal with him for a 15-song album entitled Hear My Voice.

Cormac told the PA news agency that his grandmother, Colleen Morrison, cried “happy tears” when she first saw his performance on YouTube.

He said: “I asked mum what was nanny’s favourite song because I wanted to learn it, if it was easy enough.

“We wanted it to be a surprise so we recorded it on YouTube and then told her to go on YouTube and look me up, and so did Decca, and she loved it.

“She’s not the most tech-savvy person. She had to go on her laptop.

“Normally she likes to spend lots of time on her iPad but she fell asleep with that on her lap – we used to FaceTime quite regularly – but the iPad fell off her lap and smashed.

“So then we couldn’t use that for FaceTime and our regular calls every week and sing for her.

“But she had her laptop so we did it on YouTube on the laptop instead. Now she knows how to access it quite well.”

Cormac started work on the album at Metropolis Studios in London, where stars including Queen, U2 and Adele have recorded, but he was asked to keep the news a secret until the first single was released in mid-October.

“It was quite hard to keep it a secret as you would expect because it’s quite a big secret to keep on a little boy’s shoulders,” he said.

“It was quite funny because one boy came up to me and I said, ‘The only thing you are good at is being strong’ or something like that.

“And he said, ‘You are just small and the only thing you are good at is singing and that’s not going to get you anywhere in life’ and I was like ‘Come on!’”

His mother, Alison Morrison, said she initially thought the email from Decca Records was a prank.

She told PA: “It has been certainly not the way I ever envisaged spending 2020. When I first saw the email from (the record label) I genuinely couldn’t believe my eyes.”

But she said she felt lucky to have such good news during the pandemic.

She said: “My husband and I have said this many, many times – had we not had that other focus really from June where he started to learn some songs, all the way through July and right up until the middle of August, I honestly don’t know what we would have done with ourselves.

“Because trying to entertain one child when there is really nothing else to do is really difficult.

“We said literally every day, ‘Thank God we have this because what else would we be doing?’”

Cormac has since won plaudits from Aled Jones for his rendition of Walking In The Air, famously performed by the Welshman as a boy.

Hear My Voice by Cormac is out now on Decca Records.

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