Elicia Palmer has been flooded with praise from around the world after footage of her dazzling performance racked up more than 200,000 views on YouTube. The teenager, who is a cellist, has always loved singing but said the experience had inspired her to think about pursuing a career in musical theatre for the first time. Elicia, from Grimsby in Lincolnshire, had been shopping on Oxford Street on Saturday with fellow musician friends from her cello summer school course when she stopped to listen to a man playing the piano in the tube station.
She had no idea that the pianist was YouTube star Brendan Kavanagh, who has nearly 850,000 subscribers on his channel
After ten minutes, Mr Kavanagh approach Elicia and her friend to ask if they were singers. “I told him we were cellists but my friend told him I was a singer so she pushed me into it really,” Elicia said, adding that she normally gets “a little bit nervous” performing in front of others. She said: “I thought no one would know me and no one would recognise me so I might as well do it. I wasn’t nervous because I just thought I’d go for it.”
Mr Kavanagh suggested they perform songs from musicals, although Elicia, who usually sings opera, was less familiar with the genre. In the video, she can be seen reading lyrics off her phone as she delivers renditions of Edelweiss from the Sound of Music and Feed the Birds from Mary Poppins.
Crowds soon gather round and Elicia recalls how she was “really shocked” by the number of people filming the two of them. “I think they all knew who he was but I didn’t have a clue,” she said. She posted a photo of the performance on social media afterwards and a friend messaged her in disbelief to ask if she knew he was famous. “I was so excited. It was crazy! All these people were messaging me saying do you know who he is and I didn’t. I just could not believe it.” Neither did she know that Mr Kavanagh posts videos of his performances to YouTube.
When the footage titled “Random Girl Sings Like A Goddess” began to gain traction online, praise and applause for the teen flooded in. “It has been wonderful. I had had so much support from all over the world with people messaging from Australia and Malaysia, to Italy, India and France,” she said. “I wanted to play cello and my singing was more on the side so it is a massive surprise that it has taken off as it has. Because I have always loved musical theatre, it has got me thinking that I should try and pursue that in the West End.”
Mr Kavanagh said Elicia “is like the new Charlotte Church.” He has now written a song for the teen and they plan to meet up again in London to make music for his production company Dr K Media, which showcases talents on YouTube that he has found on the streets.
“Elicia’s performance seems to have captured the public imagination. I think it’s because she has such an unusual voice for a 16-year-old,” he said. Her mother Clare also said she was “incredibly proud and incredibly surprised. She didn’t know what an earth she had got herself into. Had she known, she would have been nervous and she might not have had fun. She would have watched from the side lines,” Clare said. “But she is enjoying every second of it. It has been very special for her, ” she added.
London Underground runs “Busking on the Underground” and many performers including Cat Stevens, George Michael and Gerry Rafferty got their star busking on the London Underground. The company runs an audition process for the 100 coveted pitches which allow musicians to play for the 3.5 million passengers who use the system each day.
Maybe when Elicia Palmer is famous she’ll look back fondly at her break on The Tube?