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British-Sierra Leonian boy treble Malakai Bayoh (b. 2009) made his Royal Opera House debut in 2021 in a production of Mozart’s “Magic Flute”, and had been reinvited by the institution for the role of Oberto in a production of Händel’s “Alcina”. He has been praised as “the real scene-stealer” by the Arts Desk, and his performance has been described to have “lovely fluency and confidence” by The Times. Aled Jones, the legendary former child star, and now singer and Classic FM presenter, duetted with Malakai last December on the much-loved Walking in The Air from The Snowman, the song which brought him fame and launched his career. Both that and their beautiful rendition of O Holy Night went viral with over 25 million views within 10 months. Aled Jones says: “Singing with Malakai was a real joy - he’s a great guy with an angelic voice. I’m so pleased that everyone is getting to enjoy his God-given talent. Here’s to many more duets together. I’m very proud of what he has - and is - achieving.”

In April 2023, he was also invited to perform at Classic FM Live, sharing the evening with marking his Royal Albert Hall solo debut at age 13.

Malakai has garnered major media attention after receiving Simon Cowell’s “golden buzzer” at his audition for Britain’s Got Talent in April 2023, which grants a place in the live semi-finals of the talent show competition. As the first pure notes of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Pie Jesu soared through the theatre, the audience, transfixed, erupted into applause. “One of the best voices I’ve ever heard!” declared Simon Cowell, “Seriously, seriously good.” And as Alesha Dixon confessed, “I’ve been in a trance listening”, he nodded and added, “It was like being in heaven.” “Flawless,” said an emotional Amanda Holden and Bruno Tonioli, hand on heart, pronounced, “I was in tears, you really touched me. It’s very simple. You sang like an angel.” Malakai’s audition clocked up 52 million views in two weeks.

Watching from home, Lord Lloyd Webber tweeted: “Dear Malakai huge congratulations I was incredibly moved by your stunning performance.”

Malakai began singing in the St George’s Cathedral choir in Southwark at age 7, continues to attend the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School in West London and sings in the school choir Schola Cantorum, which has given him the chance to develop his solo as well as his choral skills and to perform in concerts. He has performed solos in Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s St John Passion and Monteverdi’s Vespers with professional orchestras and made his operatic debut in the Magic Flute at the age of 12. In November last year he stunned audiences at the Royal Opera House with his performance as Oberto in Handel’s Alcina. He made his virtuosic Mozart debut at the Royal Albert Hall, performing the fiendishly difficult Alleluia effortlessly.

A once-in-a-generation talent, Malakai, whose musical tastes encompass Harry Styles and Lizzo as well as operatic heroes, plays the saxophone and piano. He loves computer games Minecraft and Fortnite and is a well-rounded character who also plays table tennis and badminton and enjoyed his first skiing holiday on a school trip this year. Football is a passion: “I support Liverpool, they’re my team,” he says proudly. His hero is Mo Salah.

Malakai’s ambition? “To be a professional singer, an opera singer. That’s my dream.”

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