Calum, who doctors diagnosed with a mild form of autism, was born on July 13, 2007, and lives with his family in Basildon, Essex. He started singing at a young age and taught himself how to play the drums when he was 18 months old, according to an Inside Edition interview with his mother, Tupney Courtney.
Considering the obstacles that Calum has overcome, it’s no wonder that Tupney is a very proud mother. Of course, Calum has personal challenges, and yet it is empowering how Tupney talks about her son’s autism with positivity.
The mother told the Independent in a 2017 interview, “Calum has high-functioning autism. For Calum, this means blurred social boundaries, struggles with school, and difficulties with friendships, but it also enables him to have no fear to get up and belt out a song. We describe his autism to him as a superpower; it may take a little from other areas of life but it’s given him the superpower of music.”
His mom started a YouTube channel that she uses to upload videos of him singing. Calum enjoys singing songs by his favorite artists. You will find covers for Ed Sheeran’s song “Perfect” and “This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman.”
Thrives In Front Of A Crowd
Calum enjoys performing in front of an audience. He was already a showstopper at 10 years old. When a crowd gathers to watch, he feels the encouragement and none of the fear. Calum has a type of autism that takes away performance anxiety. He can perform anywhere and in front of large crowds. Calum’s mom said in an interview with the Independent, “He loves how it feels and hearing the sound of his voice when he sings. He is always singing around the house, and performing in public has never been a problem. The more people, the better for Calum when he is performing.”
Young Michael Jackson In The Making
Calum’s viral popularity started when he was shopping with his mother at an Asda store. He spontaneously broke out into a rendition of “Who’s Lovin’ You” by Smokey Robinson. The shoppers likely did not know the young boy was singing at first. They probably thought the singing was coming from music playing in the store. The shoppers had to stop and listen. They realized the soulful singing was coming from the young boy in the aisle.
Robinson wrote the song in 1960 for his group “The Miracles.” However, the Jackson 5 version of “Who’s Lovin’ You” is the most famous. Michael Jackson was the lead singer on the song, and his brothers did the background vocals. Calum’s mother pulled out her camera to capture the performance for the boy’s father. His dad was supposed to be the only person to see the video. However, Calum’s aunt had other plans and posted the video on Facebook.
When Calum was 10 years old, he had a strong and beautiful voice. It is hard not to compare him to Jackson, who was around the same age when he sang lead on “Who’s Lovin’ You.” They both have soulful voices and have a fearlessness about performing in front of large audiences. Jackson became a music legend, and Calum is on his way to success. Who knows what his future has in store?
The Asda performance became a viral sensation after the aunt posted the video to Facebook. Before the video went viral, Calum did not realize how good his singing was. His mom told the Independent, “He did not realize how good he was until he saw the video, he said: ‘Mum, I’m actually really good.'”
Commenters on YouTube agree.
One commenter, who said they had autism as well, called Calum an “inspiration,” writing, “…whenever I’m feeling sad I just come and watch one of his videos.”
“I totally agree with you there! He is so incredible and hope you go all the way to the tip of stardom Calum 😀 😀 you deserve success!!!!” Lucy Elizabeth added.
The attention garnered from the video landed Calum a spot on “Britain’s Got Talent.” In 2018, Calum was one of the first acts to audition for the show. Of course, he performed “Who’s Lovin’ You.” Calum told the judges before his audition, “I love singing. I’ve got a really musical family. My nan was in the West End and I thought, if she can do it, I can do it. She’s amazing and I love her.”
Calum brought his family and friends along for support at the audition. The group included his mother, father and brother. Calum shared with the viewers that he had autism. He also told viewers not to feel sorry for him because the condition helps with his music.
After his audition song, he received a standing ovation. This performance got Calum four yeses and a pass to the next round. He received good remarks from all of the judges. However, Calum also impressed Simon Cowell. Cowell told him, “You totally controlled the song. This was special and I like you a lot.”
The first audition video from “Britain’s Got Talent” got 500,000 views in 24 hours. After this performance went viral, Calum was offered a contract to record a single for charity, according to the Independent.
Calum has performed in charity events to support different organizations. He attended an event put on by the NSPCC’s Winter Charity Ball, as the Independent reports. It raised money to support the National Autistic Society. Charity work allowed him to perform on stage with stars like JP Cooper and Emile Sandé.
In 2020, Calum decided to perform the song “Hallelujah” for NHS and key workers for the pandemic. The performance was recorded and put on YouTube. At the end of the video, Calum encourages everyone to stay safe and to protect the NHS.
“Britain’s Got Talent” has been a popular hit on UK television since debuting in 2006. This talent show competition allows people of all ages to participate and can demonstrate any talent. It also gives contestants a chance to gain exposure. “Britain’s Got Talent” attracts around 9.9 million viewers per series.
The TV show also has a judging panel. During the 2018 season, it included Cowell, Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden and David Walliams. This show allowed Calum to gain exposure and work with vocal coaches. He also got more comfortable with performing for a live audience. It was a dream come true for Calum to become a contestant on “Britain’s Got Talent.”
For the semi-finals round of the show, Calum performed “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder. At the midway point of the performance, a group of backup singers joined in on the song. However, Courtney changed some of the lyrics to pay tribute to his mom. In fact, he dedicated this performance to his mother. A picture of Calum and his mother was put on a projection screen at the end of the performance.
This performance received a standing ovation. The young boy could not hold back the tears and began to sob. However, they were tears of joy. Cowell was surprised that someone would rewrite Wonder’s song for their mother. During the semi-finals round, Calum made it to the top three. He won the public vote and went on to advance to the finals.
Calum made it to the finals of season 12 of “Britain’s Got Talent.” He performed “Good Feeling” by Flo Rida for his final performance. A band joined him on the stage, and there were large blue lights in the background. Calum stood in front of them.
Judge Holden thought Calum had soul after hearing him sing that song, and the performance seemed to impress. Furthermore, the judges felt the song really showcased the boy’s vocals. He ended up finishing in ninth place of the overall contest, which is not bad for a 10-year-old doing a solo singing act. The winner that year was Lost Voice Guy, a comedian who uses a communication aid in his routines.
What is next for Calum? He has gained some fortune and fame, but there’s likely more to come Calum continues to perform and get his name out. He did a beautiful rendition of the song “Hallelujah” on “The Live Room” in 2019. “The Live Room” is a music show that supports and showcases U.K. talent. His mom talks about the young boy’s obsession with Minecraft. She said he wants to buy a mansion because Calum likes building them in the video game.
The Power Of Positive Feedback
Before the viral sensation, Calum did not think he was that good at singing. However, the young boy was encouraged by the positive feedback. This story shows the strength of a young boy who is talented and fearless. Some may see autism as a setback, but that’s certainly not the case. Fans of this inspiring individual can check out his Asda performance below — and if you want to see even more, you can check out Calum’s YouTube channel. In one of his most recent covers, the young man covered Lesley Gore’s 1963 classic “You Don’t Own Me.”
What did you think about this story? Feel inspired? Be sure to leave your opinion in the comment section and tell your friends.