We live in a time where almost every new musical prodigy has formed an identity on YouTube long before they break through to mainstream Hollywood. Halle Bailey, the new face of Disney’s Little Mermaid, is a perfect example.
Disney announced on Wednesday that Bailey, currently 19-years-old, would play Princess Ariel in the company’s upcoming live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid. She began making a name for herself as an actress on ABC’s Grownish, a spinoff of its popular series, Blackish that premiered in 2018, but she developed an even bigger fanbase far before that on YouTube. Halle, alongside her older sister Chloe, have amassed more than one million subscribers on YouTube thanks to their astonishing covers of songs from artists like Rihanna, Alicia Keys, and Beyoncé since launching the channel in 2006.
Their covers became so popular that they attracted the attention of Beyoncé herself. She signed both women to her label after discovering their videos, and they’re often described as Queen Bey’s prodigies. There’s an entire catalogue of videos on YouTube showcasing Halle’s talents. For Disney aficionados, these videos provide a perfect way of getting to know Ariel before the movie comes out.
Here are a couple of Halle (and Chloe’s) best covers.
“Diamonds” by Rihanna
Halle and Chloe’s cover of “Diamonds” is a unique, soulful take on Rihanna’s pop tune from 2012. Halle was around 12-years-old when this was recorded. (Disclaimer: This is also my personal favorite.)
“Best Thing I Never Had” by Beyoncé
Halle is 11 years old in this video, and it’s a testament to how powerful her voice was even as a kid.
“Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole
A rarer video of Halle on YouTube that stars just her. The rendition of Nat King Cole’s classic soul track is truly stunning.
There are plenty more videos of Halle and Chloe singing on YouTube, including videos of them performing the national anthem at award shows and original music videos. While the entire world will be introduced to Halle on the big screen in just a couple of years time, her career on YouTube means people can fall in love with her talents now.
The Little Mermaid, which is being directed by Rob Marshall, does not have a release date yet.