The nine-year-old's mother said the boy had started singing even before he could talk and loves singing.
Every day for years, a recorded version of the national anthem was played at an Elementary school in Kentucky. So, the principal at Bates Elementary, Alecia Dunn, was naturally surprised when a nine-year-old boy, D'Corey Johnson, walked up to her and asked if he could sing instead of playing the recorded version during the school's morning announcements on April 23. She was even more surprised by his voice, which moved his teachers to tears. The video of the third-grader in Louisville, Kentucky singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" went viral on the internet. It was Principal Dunn who recorded the video and posted it on the school's social media accounts, reported Good Morning America.
Dunn said the school's morning announcements consisted of the Pledge of Allegiance, the national anthem, and the school's personal pledge followed by news of the day. She couldn't turn the nine-year-old down when he requested to sing during the school announcements. Dunn was taken aback by his voice and even more by the passionate manner in which he sang the national anthem. "He's so authentic and genuine. There's nothing rehearsed about him," said Dunn. "There's no stage child, it is just him. It's almost like he's this old soul." The Facebook video has close to 160,000 views.
Dunn was in shock after hearing Johnson's voice that she asked the teachers to complete the announcements. "I couldn't finish the announcements. So I just told teachers, 'You guys can finish out our Bates scholar pledge,'" recalled Dunn. "You could hear outside the office all the cheers. And then we walked out of my office ... it was almost like he was on a parade — every teacher was hanging out their door, we were all crying."
Since his rendition of the national anthem went viral, the nine-year-old has been singing tunes of Tina Turner and Whitney Houston to his classmates. Johnson's mother, Nakia, said he had started singing even before he could talk and used to sing his heart out at her salon or at church. Nakia added that she knew he had an incredibly powerful voice. "When he sings, he makes people cry, he makes people shout, he makes people have chills," said Nakia Johnson. "Everywhere he goes, everybody loves to hear him. His voice is soothing." She added that he loves singing and is a huge fan of Tina Turner, citing her "Proud Mary" and "River Deep" as his favorite tracks to sing. The nine-year-old also loves to act and likes Shakespeare. His mother says her son is multi-talented. "He acts, he loves to dance, play the piano, tap dance, he's just a very, very inspirational kid and wherever we go, everybody knows him as the anointed one," she said according to WLKY.
Corey Johnson, the boy's father said the third-grader is also incredibly kind and always looking out for others. "He's always looking out for the homeless. If we ride past and see somebody, he will say, 'Hey dad, you need to stop and let the window down and give them some money,' and I'll be like, 'Hey man, we can't give everybody the money,' but to him he wants to help the world," said Corey. Nakia noted that her son also inspires his classmates and instills in them the confidence to express themselves. "I want to be a singer known as a triple threat. That means that I can do everything — sing, act, tap." Since the video has gone viral, the family has received several calls to perform for different events and fundraisers. He has been roped in to sing the national anthem at an upcoming Tennessee Titans game.