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

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

Just Posted

North Cowichan councillor Kate Marsh. (File photo)
North Cowichan postpones decision on cell tower placement

But cell tower policy may be developed soon

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks at a press conference Monday, April 18. (B.C. Government image)
New COVID-19 cases tick down on the central Island

New cases held to single digits three days in a row

CVRD offices on Ingram Street will remain closed for another 14 weeks after flooding last month. (File photo)
CVRD headquarters closed for another three and a half months

Building significantly damaged during water leak

Victoria police are asking for help locating high-risk missing man Derek Whittaker, last seen in Victoria April 12. (Courtesy of VicPD)
MISSING: Police searching for Derek Whittaker, last seen in Victoria

Whittaker believed to be driving 1994 red Volkswagen Golf

The IIO is investigating after a police dog bit a man during a traffic stop near Ladysmith on April 17, 2021. (Black Press Media stock photo)
IIO investigating after police dog bites man near Ladysmith

RCMP dog bit man during traffic stop on Friday, April 17

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

FILE – Health-care workers wave to people clapping and yelling thank you to the frontline workers during the 7 p.m.-tribute outside the Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, April 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. nurses issue plea for all to follow health orders as hospitalizations spike

Nurses worried about strain COVID-19 is having on hospital capacity, care

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. The University of Victoria says Williams has resigned effective immediately. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
University of Victoria women’s rowing coach resigns by mutual agreement

Lawsuit filed last summer accused Barney Williams of verbal abuse

Former B.C. premier Christy Clark. (Black Press Media files)
Former B.C. premier to testify at money laundering hearing today

Attorney General David Eby has been added to the witness list as well

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. to table budget that’s expected to deal with COVID-19 pandemic and beyond

Robinson released a fiscal update last December that said the impact of the pandemic on B.C.’s economy was uncertain

Paramedic Matthew Schlatter of Victoria is living a fuller life today due to the double lung transplant he received in 2019. He encourages B.C. residents to register as an organ donor and let their families know their wishes. (Instagram/Matthew Schlatter)
B.C. man living a full, active life after double-lung transplant

Matt Schlatter encourages people to register as an organ donor to help others live

(Photo by Mojpe/Pixabay)
Canadian kids extracting record amounts from Tooth Fairy

Our neighbours in the U.S. receive slightly less from Tooth Fairy visits

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

Most Read