In a season when many of us get nervous about holiday dinner discussions becoming tense, it’s great to be reminded of the power of music to bring people together. I look forward to sharing this clip of the British music prodigy Jacob Collier with my aunt who always wants to talk politics. She’s an Elvis fan, so I’ll have my phone ready with the amazing video featured above.
The two-minute, 20-second clip is of the Grammy Award-winning Jacob Collier leading fans from cities all over North America in a rendition of the famous love song recorded by Elvis Presley in 1961. Collier instructed his audiences to film their own faces singing specific words in specific cities and to send the footage to his website. On October 13, Collier shared the edited footage on social media and it immediately went viral, receiving over 5.5K likes and 114K views in just a few weeks.
But it’s no surprise the video was such a hit. Collier, a 28-year-old multi-instrumental vocal/jazz/pop/rock musician, is becoming well-known for these kinds of remarkable musical experiments, in which he invites audiences on his DJesse world tour to become his choir.
Hailing from London, Collier comes from a musical family — his mum is a conductor and professor at the Royal Academy of Music’s Junior Academy — and Collier spent his childhood performing professionally. But what really launched this profoundly gifted musician into the limelight were the YouTube videos he shared as a teen; they caught the eye of the well-known music producer Quincy Jones, who quickly took Collier under his wing.
One can’t watch Collier’s rendition of “Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” without reflecting on the power of beauty, music, and particularly a song about love to bring people together. Fyodor Dostoevsky, the 19th-century Russian novelist, once famously said: “Beauty will save the world.” And watching this video, it’s easy to understand why.