Plymouth, England, native Bailey Nelson drew a legion of fans after he first appeared on The Voice UK in 2018. The song he performed for his blind audition, Shawn Mendes’ hit song “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back,” had the crowd members standing on their feet, clapping and dancing along.
The then 18-year-old hoped one of the star judges would smack the red buzzer, spin around and snatch him up. It wasn’t until Bailey hit the last note that singer Olly Murs hit his buzzer.
During the audition, Jennifer Hudson danced in her seat while Will.i.am bopped his head along to the beat. Sir Tom Jones listened thoughtfully to the young singer who sported tight jeans and an even tighter T-shirt.
According to the Plymouth Herald, Bailey had dreamed of landing a recording contract. He is a self-taught singer, pianist and guitarist since the age of 13 who shared his homemade videos on YouTube where they’ve gone viral.
The former Marine Academy Plymouth student attended City College Plymouth briefly, studying music before he focused solely on performing full time. Bailey loved football, but gave it up when he realized that he wanted music to play a much bigger part in his life.
He turned to busking on the busy streets of London, Exeter, Liverpool, Chester, Birmingham, Carlisle and Manchester, spreading his sound far and wide.
“I was just a local council estate boy traveling up to London and Manchester on my own.”
In the video below dating back to 2018, Bailey is busking on Northumberland Street, singing the classic and time-tested song “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. This song has been recorded by countless artists and Bailey does a bang-up job with his sidewalk performance.
In fact, YouTube user Divo Galindra commented on how incredible he sounded live.
“I would stop once I heard this kind of voice at crowd.”
“Hallelujah” was originally released in 1984 and is considered to be a secular hymn. It skyrocketed to popularity when it was used in the movie “Shrek” and continues to remain a favored song, having been performed by such artists as Pentatonix, Bob Dylan, Susan Boyle, Justin Timberlake and Tori Kelly.
As Bailey stands on a busy street with nothing but a bottle of water, an amp and a microphone, he pours his heart into this song. People mill about, some pausing to stop and record his impressive performance.
He has a solid rift at 1:14 and puts his own slight spin on the song, evidenced throughout, particularly at 1:57. A few people even toss money at him.
At 2:35, he shoots up an octave and sounds fantastic, showing just how talented he truly is. The originally composed “Hallelujah” had 80 verses but the ones that made his final cut are quite soulful.
“Well I’ve heard there was a secret chord; That David played and it pleased the Lord; But you don’t really care for music, do you? Well it goes like this: The fourth, the fifth, the minor fall and the major lift; The baffled king composing Hallelujah … Well, your faith was strong but you needed proof; You saw her bathing on the roof; Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew ya; She tied you to her kitchen chair; And she broke your throne and she cut your hair; And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah.”
Enjoy Bailey’s version of this song in the video below. He’s impressive for someone so young!
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Source: YouTube/Ollie Joyce