This video of a young boy singing in a crowded parking lot in the Philippines was first uploaded in 2012 but is making the rounds again, and it’s clear to see why!
And for his choice of song? It is no other than the Queen of Country’s “I Will Always Love You.” Belting out the lyrics much in the same style as Whitney Houston, the young boy powered through the verse with a voice that sounded too developed for his age. He got to that high note, singing it with just as much power and passion as Houston did many years ago.
What makes the performance more impressive is that he managed to pull through such a professional sound out of a relatively basic karaoke set up. The video ended with the modest boy finishing his song and wandering over to hand back the microphone, not knowing he would one day impress the online world.
A few months later, the young boy – whose name is Roel Manlangit – made a buzz once again when he auditioned in the 2012 talent search, Pilipinas Got Talent. With his powerful voice, Manlangit wowed the judges and the public, eventually ending the season being the Grand Winner and taking home a cash prize of two million Philippine Pesos (approximately $40,000).
Manlangit, whose confidence stood out in his performances, became a household name at the time. He was known not only for his incredible talent but also for his touching story of surviving a devastating typhoon that claimed his family’s home in Valencia, Bukidnon.
The Powerful Song That Made An Ordinary Boy Into A Household Name
Written and originally recorded in 1973 by Dolly Parton, “I Will Always Love You” was penned as a farewell to Porter Wagoner – her mentor and on-screen duet partner of seven years.
Parton had agreed to star on Wagoner’s TV program, The Porter Wagoner Show, for five years, and she did it with great success. However, Parton thought it was time for her to go out on her own and pursue a solo career. Unfortunately, Wagoner wasn’t ready to see her go, and they were butting heads over the decision.
“There was a lot of grief and heartache there, and he just wasn’t listening to my reasoning for my going,” Parton told CMT in 2011. “I thought, ‘Well, why don’t you do what you do best? Why don’t you just write this song?’… so I went home and out of a very emotional place in me at that time, I wrote the song, ‘I Will Always Love You.'”
From there, the rest was history. The classic song hit No. 1 on the charts twice in Parton’s career: one, when she first released it in 1974, and then again when she re-recorded it for her 1982 movie The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Needless to say, the ballad became popular all over again when Whitney Houston recorded her version for the film The Bodyguard in 1992.
Without a doubt, “I Will Always Love You” has become and remained one of the most iconic of all the legendary songs Parton has written in her illustrious career. It naturally struck a chord with so many listeners through the years, and this young boy is just one of the many.
Tune in below and watch the young Roel Manlangit belting out one of the most cherished ballads in the music industry. Be prepared to be impressed with his jaw-dropping performance.