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

Just Posted

Parking time is to be limited in one spot on 9th. (Houston Today photo)
District seeks grant to update bylaws

And decides on 15-minute parking

Bench installation on 9th Street is another sign the project is nearing completion. (Houston Today photo)
Progress being made on 9th Street finish

District aiming for June completion

File photo
Mental health checks proving valuable

Police officer and nurse team up each week

The two billboards for the Cow Moose Sign project arrived in Topley last week with Justin Cradock, owner of Pitbull Trucking Ltd. and the area is now getting prepared for installation. (Dan Simmons photo/Houston Today)
Cow Moose sign project billboards arrive in Topley

Two billboards for the Cow Moose Sign project have arrived in Topley… Continue reading

File photo
Snow clearing changes would cost money, survey finds

Council being asked to give direction

A prowling coyote proved no match for a stray black cat who chased it out of a Port Moody parking lot Friday, May 14. (Twitter/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Little but fierce: Cat spotted chasing off coyote by Port Moody police

The black cat is seen jumping out from under a parked car and running the wild animal out of a vacant lot

White Rock’s Marine Drive is being restricted to single-lane one-way traffic to allow more patio space for waterfront restaurants, with indoor dining restricted from the end of March to some time after the May 24 weekend. (Peace Arch News)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate falls to 411 cases Tuesday

360 people in hospital, up slightly, two more deaths

The Banff National Park entrance is shown in Banff, Alta., Tuesday, March 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Minister asks Canadians to camp carefully in national parks as season starts

Kitchen shelters in Banff National Park closed, trails on Vancouver Island will only be one-way

Passengers on board the Komagata Maru are shown in this undated handout image. The City of Vancouver has issued an apology for its racist role in denying entry to 376 passengers aboard a ship that was forced to return to India over a century ago. Mayor Kennedy Stewart says discrimination by the city had “cruel effects” on the Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims aboard the Komagata Maru, which arrived in Burrard Inlet on May 23, 1914. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Vancouver Public Library
Vancouver mayor says sorry for city’s role in turning away South Asians in 1914

Kennedy Stewart has declared May 23 as the annual Komagata Maru Day of Remembrance

A crew of WestCoast WILD Adventures employees tackled an onslaught of litter left at the ‘Locks of Love’ fence at Wally Creek on May 2. (Anne-Marie Gosselin photo)
Litter woes consume popular ‘Locks of Love’ fence on B.C.’s Pacific Rim

Popular view spot near Tofino plagued by people hanging masks and other unwanted garbage

Vincent Doumeizel, senior advisor at the United Nations Global Compact on Oceans, as well as director for the Food Programme for the Lloyd’s Register Foundation, pulls up some sugar kelp seaweed off the French coast in April 2020. He was the keynote speaker during the opening ceremony of the inaugural Seaweed Days Festival. (Vincent Doumeizel/Submitted)
Let’s hear it for seaweed: slimy, unsexy and the world’s greatest untapped food source

Experts talks emerging industry’s challenges and potential at Sidney inaugural Seawood Days Festival

Troy Patterson, a Cadboro Bay 15-year-old, got a virtual meeting with B.C.’s environment minister months after he started an online petition calling for construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline to stop. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
B.C. teen’s 23,000-name Coastal GasLink petition gets him an audience with the minister

15-year-old Saanich high school student and George Heyman discussed project for about 30 minutes

Announced Tuesday, May 18 by Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth, the province added gyms, dance and fitness studios to its list of places where face coverings are mandatory (AP/Steven Senne)
Masks now required at all times inside B.C. gyms, including during workouts

Those who disobey could be subject to a $230 fine

Reinhard “Bud” Loewen of Abbotsford has now been charged with 21 counts of sexual assault related to his massage business. (Facebook photo)
Former Abbotsford masseur now faces 21 counts of sexual assault

Bud Loewen of Bud’s Massage Therapy initally faced three charges

Most Read