WATCH ABOVE: A YouTube video of a Toronto girl with Down syndrome singing a cover of John Legend’s “All Of Me” has gone viral. Cindy Pom reports.
TORONTO – With every musical note, Madison Tevlin destroyed expectations.
“I wanted to inspire people a lot,” said Tevlin, a Toronto girl diagnosed with Down syndrome.
Almost all people with the genetic disorder “experience difficulties speaking clearly,” said Frank Buckley, CEO of Down Syndrome Educational International.
“Few get the opportunity to really practice or pursue singing, so few would be as talented as Madison,” Buckley said.
The 13-year-old’s cover of John Legend’s song “All Of Me” was posted to YouTube in January and has since garnered more than three million views.
“She is just showing people through this video what people with special needs can do,” said Madison’s father Matt Tevlin, who knew of his daughter’s love for music from an early age before she received vocal lessons.
WATCH: Full version of Madison Tevlin’s cover of “All of Me”
“When she was singing in the back of the car, it was just unbearable,” he recalled with a laugh. “But she loved to sing so we’re not going to stop her from singing.”
Instead, Madison’s parents hired a vocal coach a year ago who helped improve Madison’s voice.
“It sounds cliché, but (Madison) inspired me in terms of the way that she works, her discipline, and her passion,” said instructor Marla Joy, who works with Madison once a week.
“I learned about the lower muscle tone and how hard it is to push your voice upwards,” said Joy, who had never taught a person with Down syndrome before.
Tevlin’s video even got the attention of Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher, who shared it on his Twitter account.
Although Down syndrome is a genetic condition, it is not inherited. Caused by an extra copy of the chromosome 21, the condition is associated with characteristic facial features, physical growth delays, and mild to moderate intellectual disability.
45,000 Canadians are diagnosed with Down syndrome compared to 35,000 people ten years ago, according to the Canadian Down Syndrome Society (CDSS). The CDSS said there is not enough concrete research to explain the increase.
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