Sometimes a cover of a song takes you down a rabbit hole, especially when the singers are as young as Noelle and Ryland were when they posted their cover of The Prayer in 2013. Given the quality of the performance, and the fact that Noelle was barely eleven and Ryland was only a little older, you can’t help wondering what they have done since.
Two versions of The Prayer were recorded for the Warner Brothers film Quest for Camelot (1998) – an English version (Celine Dion) and in Italian by the tenor Andrea Bocelli. The two singers subsequently recorded the song as a duet. It is the duet that Noelle and Ryland cover, and one can only marvel at their bravery for tackling the song so young.
Both Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli are acclaimed as highly accomplished singers, and The Prayer is not an easy song to sing, especially in the parts where the singers interact in English and Italian, yet young Noelle and Ryland pull it off like pros. You can’t help but be impressed by their poise, the quality of their voices, and their seemingly effortless control of pitch and projection at such a young age. With over 4.5 million views on YouTube, they clearly did a great job!
A natural response to the Noelle and Ryland cover of The Prayer is to want to compare their version to the singing of Dion and Bocelli. Did they really pull it off as well as it seems? (Yes they did). Interestingly, Andrea Bocelli, Celine Dion, John Legend, Lady Gaga, and pianist Lang Lang jointly played a “socially distanced” version of The Prayer on the Together At Home fundraiser. Described as a “stunning performance” by Harpers, the song was the finale of the April 2020 Covid-relief concert.
Immediately after the televised Together At Home concert, Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli invited their fans to sing along to The Prayer. The resulting footage was edited together for a fundraising lyric video. At the beginning of the video, Dion and Bocelli note: “In our current situation, people all over the world are using video conferencing apps to communicate with each other. Celebrating this new global togetherness, we asked fans to join each other online and sing along to Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion’s track, The Prayer.”
No fan singing was included (only images) but the video is a powerful document of the early days of Covid19 isolation and it is a good opportunity to compare the Noelle and Ryland cover of The Prayer with the original duet .
So what became of Noelle and Ryland? Both have recording contracts with Canadian music companies – like Celine Dion, they are Canadian – and both have recently released singles. Moreover, Noelle, who was raised on Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory in Ontario, has recently been named an iHeart Radio Future Star. When you listen to Daydreaming, a collaboration with Virginia to Vegas on Wax Records, it is easy to hear why.
Ryland James is signed to Universal Music Canada. Here is his 2022 track I Give Everything: