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South African Father-Daughter Music Duo Goes Viral Thanks to Mistaken Identity

South African Father-Daughter Music Duo Goes Viral, Thanks to Mistaken Identity
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South African Father-Daughter Music Duo Goes Viral, Thanks to Mistaken Identity

Performances by a South African father-daughter singing duo, whose talent gained attention in Britain, have gone viral in Colombia after they were mistaken for being relatives of Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli.

During South Africa’s COVID-19 lockdown, Emma-Jean Galliard, 11, and her father, Adriaan, 46, began posting their singing online to pass the time.

They recorded duets Bocelli had performed with British soprano Sara Brightman and Canada’s Celine Dion. “We thought we would lay out this amazing song called 'The Prayer,' and it just went viral," Emma-Jean said. "We didn't actually expect any of it, and it was really a big surprise and we really loved it."

Father and daughter never expected such an avalanche of views in such a short time. The video was picked up by the British website “The Music Man” and watched by millions.

Millions of views

"Within two weeks we've received over 7 million views," the site's Tom Bainbridge said. "It’s really a good video, so we wrote an article about it. ... We quickly start seeing people coming from Google, coming from Instagram, coming from Twitter, and sharing leading comments about how good they are, their songs, how much they love it."

And the hits kept coming after one of the duo’s online videos was picked up in South America.

They didn't think they were doing anything differently, Adrian said.

"It was astounding," he said. "It was absolutely crazy, because we put these songs out in the hope the people enjoy them, and a lot of people really do. ... Within a few days we had 16 million views. So, it's quite surreal, the whole experience, because you don't see yourself as doing anything different, and yet suddenly you've got these fans and comments, thousands and thousands of comments from people from all over the world."

But much of the fame came from a Colombian Facebook page, which claimed – wrongly – that they were opera singer Bocelli's son and granddaughter.

Attention at home

The mistake brought welcome attention to the duo’s singing back home in South Africa.

"Adriaan and Emma-Jean were mistakenly identified as relatives of a very famous Italian opera singer," said Carolyn Steyn, a DJ with Classic FM in Johannesburg. "I think it's funny, but [at the] same time [it] is testament to just how good they are. And it's such a compliment."

Despite the global attention, the Galliards have yet to benefit financially. They hope to one day secure a record deal, but in the meantime they'll continue to post their talent online from the comfort of their home.