“Hallelujah”, penned by the late, great songwriter, Leonard Cohen, has become one of the most beloved secular songs of the century so far. While it was first released in the early 1980’s, thanks to stellar renditions by some of pop music’s luminaries, it has become almost a sort of hymn for a secular world.
Of all the versions we have heard recently, there is one that will just certainly melt your heart. The video is of a very special little girl in Northern Ireland who is using music to make her unique voice heard. Watch her perform the classic Leonard Cohen song, “Hallelujah”. She will blow your mind.
Little Kayleigh Rogers was diagnosed with mild autism and ADHD, which have affected her social and educational development. She has experienced delays in her reading and math skills development and is described as “very shy” by her teachers.
Headmaster Colin Millar says “She’d be a very quiet little girl, but when she sings, she just opens up.”
Kayleigh attends school at Killard House, where she is one of 200 students, aged three to sixteen. She started at the school in Donaghadee, Northern Ireland, when she was four years old.
While she had a very difficult time with her academic studies and socializing, music teacher Lloyd Scates discovered her innate talent and began to encourage her to sing in school shows as a way of developing her talent and self confidence.
She is a regular performer at the local Presbyterian Church’s Christmas concert. This year however, the ten year old prodigé was not able to perform due to laryngitis. Instead, Millar played a video of a performance she gave a few weeks earlier. There was nary a dry eye in the house after the recording finished.
The video, shot by Billy McAuley, has been seen on social media hundreds of thousands of times.
Kayleigh’s mother could not be more proud of her daughter. She says that offers are already starting to come in regarding professional singing opportunities for the little girl. Ms. Rogers says however, that she would only consider such deals if her music teacher, Mr Scates, was involved.
The Leonard Cohen penned “Hallelujah” has become the litmus test for the true ability of a singer. The haunting words and lilting melody are demanding, but also allow for a great amount of personal expression. It is also a spiritual song in a secular world, and expresses universal truths about the human experience that few pop songs can achieve
The song was originally released in 1984 on Leonard Cohen’s “Various Positions,” and did not capture wide public interest. Later, John Cale, formerly of the seminal band The Velvet Underground, recorded a version that achieved wider appeal. It was Cale’s version that caught the ear of young Jeff Buckley, who included it on his only complete studio album “Grace.” That album was released in 1994, but his version was never released as a single until 2007.
That year, a poll of 250 composers and songwriters by Q magazine, named “Hallelujah” one of the all time top ten tracks.
K.D. Lang, Rufus Wainwright, Alexandra Burke, Bob Dylan, Bono, and every third contender for “American Idol” has put their stamp on this haunting melody, to greater or lesser success. It has almost become the measure of a true singer to tackle the song, and indeed, there are few in the pop repertoire that are as challenging for a singer, and as loved by the public.
Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” is one such song. It has been performed by virtually every singer, like, ever, and it always seems to send a shiver up our spines when we hear it. Well in this video, we get to see maybe the newest superstars making this classic their own.
Perhaps no other song in the popular repertoire has been so far reaching in its appeal and importance. And, based on her heartbreakingly beautiful take on this song, we are sure that little Kayleigh Rogers will become recognized as a true star very soon.
What did you think of this wonderful ten year old? Who has performed your favorite version of this song? Share your thoughts with us here.