The astonishing young singer and Britain’s Got Talent 2023 finalist, Malakai, has secured a record deal with Universal Music, the record company home of Pavarotti, and today announces his debut album, to be released on Universal Classics and Jazz in association with Classic FM, the UK’s most popular classical music station. The 14-year-old chorister, who won the hearts of both judges and viewers, reducing them to tears with his voice of breath-taking beauty, will release his debut album in July. The first single ‘Pie Jesu’ is available today (June 15th).
Thrilled to share the news, Malakai said, “I can’t believe my dream has come true & I’m signed to the record company with the biggest opera stars in the world!”
Since his appearance on the primetime TV show, international interest and requests have been flooding in, including a personal message of congratulations from the President of Sierra Leone.
Malakai has also won the attention of Hollywood, singing on the soundtrack of the forthcoming movie Maestro, a biographical film directed by and starring Bradley Cooper, and produced by Hollywood greats Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg, about the life of Leonard Bernstein.
The debut album from Malakai, entitled Golden, is a collection of both classical and classic songs, including Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Pie Jesu, which he performed for his audition on BGT. Simon Cowell responded to his spine-tingling performance by declaring, “There’s only one word for it…GOLDEN!” as he pressed the Golden Buzzer. His audition has since garnered over 55 million views. Watch Malakai’s audition here.
Andrew Lloyd Webber, composer of some of the world’s most famous musical scores, who has been very supportive, met Malakai and said: “I love your voice, it’s absolutely fantastic!”. One of Britain’s most celebrated and performed living composers Sir Karl Jenkins (Malakai: “I thought he was really cool!”) offered to especially re-arrange Benedictus from his Armed Man: A Mass for Peace, which has recently celebrated 1000 weeks in the UK Official Classical Albums Chart. This is the first time Sir Karl’s timeless ‘Benedictus’ has been recorded by a treble.
The album also includes his peerless version of Puccini’s O Mio Babbino Caro, which he sang live in the semi-finals reducing judge Bruno Tonioli to tears, who stated “You’re a gift from God” and “It is incredible to have a boy like you producing this divine sound.” Simon Cowell added “God has given you the most amazing talent” reiterating his sentiments from Malakai’s audition with “This was a golden performance”. Caruso by Lucio Dallo, made famous by Andrea Bocelli, also features on the album, which Malakai sang in the live final. Once again receiving glowing reviews from the judges: “I’m bursting with pride right now” Cowell said, “It was absolutely beautiful from start to finish”, with Alesha Dixon adding “You are such a remarkable young man”. His performance of Handel’s Lascio ch’io pianga, with which he made his stunning Royal Albert Hall solo debut in April this year as part of Classic FM Live in front of an audience of 5,000, is also on the album. Watch Makalai’s performance.
Of the signing, Executive Producer & A&R Manager Helen Lewis says: “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 & Jazz, and we can be sure there are many more milestones to come for this young star.”
Malakai 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. Performing with Schola Cantorum has given him the chance to develop his solo as well as his choral skills and to perform in concerts. He made his operatic debut in the Magic Flute at the age of 12. Faith is a huge part of Malakai’s life, alongside his school studies, choir practice, and of course his recent experience on Britain’s Got Talent, he has recently completed his confirmation.
Director of Music at Malakai’s school, Scott Price, who also conducts on Golden says: “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”.
Last December Malakai duetted with former child star turned singer and Classic FM presenter Aled Jones on the classic Walking in the Air and O Holy Night. The video went viral with over 25 million views. Aled Jones, MBE says: “He’s a great guy with an angelic voice. I’m so pleased everyone is getting to enjoy his God-given talent.” Watch his performance.
The songs on Malakai’s debut album display his unique gift to perfection: Amazing Grace, which this year celebrates the 250-year anniversary since it was first read aloud on New Year’s Day in 1773, is heard afresh. Ombra mai fu, set to one of Handel’s best-known melodies, otherwise known as Handel’s Largo, demonstrates both the purity and richness of Malakai’s voice. Recorded with the London Mozart Players, the album also features his fellow choristers from Schola Cantorum on half of the tracks.
Malakai has stunned the nation with his pure voice, talent and warmth, and now has a combined social following of nearly half a million across Instagram, TikTok and Facebook. He is, however, most certainly keeping his feet on the ground, saving enough time for his other passions and hobbies, such as football, swimming, table-tennis, badminton, computer games, his friends and most importantly, family.
MALAKAI’S DEBUT ALBUM GOLDEN IS RELEASED IN JULY
VIA UNIVERSAL CLASSICS & JAZZ IN ASSOCIATION WITH CLASSIC FM
GOLDEN Album Tracklist:
Pie Jesu (Andrew Lloyd Webber)
Benedictus (Karl Jenkins)
O Mio Babbino Caro (Giacomo Puccini)
Ombra mai fu (George Frederic Handel)
Somewhere (Leonard Bernstein)
Amazing Grace (Trad.)
Lascia ch’io pianga (George Frederic Handel)
Caruso (Lucio Dalla)