Back in 2012, a man named Yuan Juan was walking through a shopping mall in Manila in the Philippines. He went past a karaoke machine, and he noticed a girl was selecting a song. He stopped to watch, and he was absolutely stunned by the voice that came out of the girl.
The girl sang “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston, and she knocked it out of the park! She sounded just like Whitney Houston as she belted out the famous song.
Yuan Juan was amazed by her voice, and he stayed to watch her perform two more songs—“Saving All My Love For You” and “And I Am Telling You.” He also recorded videos of the girl singing. When he got home, he posted them on his YouTube channel under the title “A Random Girl Steps Up To A Karaoke Machine and Floors Everyone.”
The video of the girl singing “I Will Always Love You” quickly went viral. Soon, it had amassed over eight million views!
Everyone in the Philippines wanted to know who the “random girl” was. Soon, she stepped forward. It turned out, the girl in the video was a 21-year-old named Zendee Rose Tenerefe. Zendee had participated in singing competitions around the Philippines, and she had moved to Manila to try her luck competing in “X Factor Philippines.” Unfortunately, though, she failed to make it on the show.
Zendee loved singing more than anything in the world, and she took every opportunity to sing. She’d often sing karaoke at her local mall, but she could have never guessed this would lead to her big break.
After the video of ‘random girl’ went viral, Zendee got a recording contract with Warner Music Philippines. She started performing around the Philippines, and then she began doing concerts internationally. In 2013, she released her first album, “I Believe,” which featured covers and some of her own original songs.
In October 2012, Ellen DeGeneres invited Zendee onto her show. Zendee was so excited to get to talk with one of her idols. In the interview, Zendee admitted that she often sang karaoke to try and get people’s attention. DeGeneres said that her plan had clearly worked!
“That was smart,” DeGeneres said. “You got a recording contract out of this.”
Zendee also performed a couple of songs on DeGeneres’ show. Zendee said it felt amazing to perform on such a large stage!
“I was very excited,” she said. “Singing (on ‘Ellen’) was a great feeling. The studio was filled with applause.”
In the years since the video went viral, Zendee has continued performing in the Philippines and around the world.
Zendee started her own YouTube channel, where she shares videos of her singing covers of popular songs. In July 2019, she shared a cover of Lil Nas X and Cardi B’s “Rodeo.”
When Yuan Juan shared a video of Zendee singing karaoke, he could have never guessed it would completely change her life! If you’d like to see the viral video, check it out below.
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