Cowichan singer Malakai catches the eyes and ears of James Taylor

Legendary singer-songwriter posts two videos of 11-year-old performer 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 Cowichan Valley musician Malakai’s cover of “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 Malakai 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 young prodigy has performed at the Showroom and other Cowichan Valley venues many times, and can often be seen busking across the street from 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

cowichan valleyMusic

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Robert’s column
Robert Barron column: New hospital shouldn’t charge for parking

Paying a parking meter is the last thing people visiting a hospital should have to worry about.

A 3.0-magnitude earthquake occurred off Ucluelet just after 12:30 a.m. on April 10 and was reportedly felt as far south as Oregon. (Map via United States Geological Survey)
Quake off Ucluelet reportedly felt as far south as Oregon

Magnitude 1.5 earthquake also reported off Vancouver Island’s west coast hours earlier

Asparagus root, dug up from the old patch and ready to be transplanted. (Mary Lowther photo)
Mary Lowther column: Some tips on growing asparagus

When choosing asparagus I recommend buying male plants for juicier, plumper spears.

If you’re looking for a goat time, visit Russell Farms Market! (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Sarah Simpson Column: Looking for a goat time on Good Friday

If you drive by the farm market a little slower you see the goat pen.

The McCloskey-Hydro Rain Garden, located in a sunny Hydro corridor and receiving about 2.5 million litres of rainwater runoff per year from the roof of nearby McCloskey Elementary School. (Deborah Jones photo)
A&E column: From nature to poetry to puppets, there’s plenty afoot

What’s going on in the Cowichan Valley arts and entertainment scene

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

The 10-part Netflix series Maid, which is being exclusively shot in Greater Victoria, was filming near Prospect Lake in Saanich last month. (Photo courtesy Fred Haynes)
Province announces $150,000 towards South Island film studio, fulfilling B.C. NDP promise

Investment to fund movie studio feasibility study at Camosun College

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Most Read