Some people are just born with music running through their veins and Chris Cornell’s cover of Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” with his 11-year-old daughter Toni proves it. The late rock superstar takes a backseat for the performance, providing acoustic guitar and backing vocals while his daughter sings lead. It’s almost hard to believe that Toni was just 11 at the time, as her confidence and poise seem far beyond what you’d usually expect from a primary school student.
That’s not even mentioning Toni’s powerful and totally on-point vocal performance. Clearly a whole lot of her dad’s musical talent was passed down. The Soundgarden frontman played two sold out solo acoustic shows at the Beacon Theatre in New York City on October 18 and 19, 2005, and the duet took place on the second night. You can watch it for yourself in the video below.
The duo’s choice of Marley’s “Redemption Song” is an interesting one, as few people would associate reggae with the name Chris Cornell. The song is the final track on the final album that Marley recorded prior to his death. Rita Marley said that her husband was aware of his cancer diagnosis when he wrote “Redemption Song”, explaining that Marley “was already secretly in a lot of pain and dealt with his own mortality, a feature that is clearly apparent in the album, particularly in this song.”
Taking into account Chris’s tragic suicide just two years after the Beacon Theatre show, his choice to play this particular song seems significant in hindsight. Toni has continued to perform and record in the years since. At age 16 she sang her late father’s song “Hunger Strike” in his studio, describing it as “one of my favourite songs”. Her skills as a musician and vocalist are just off the charts, as you can hear in the video below.
“Hunger Strike” is a Temple of the Dog song, which was a short-lived supergroup made up of members of Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. Chris wrote the song and in 1991 it was released as the lead single from the group’s self-titled studio album.
Toni reshared her cover of “Hunger Strike” on the 30th anniversary of the single’s release, saying that “It’s not only one of the most iconic songs of all time but one of my personal favourites. I recorded it for Music Lives to raise money for COVID relief in April 2020 and in tribute to my dad who would have been the first to do everything he could to help.”
She also added a message to her father, saying “I love you Daddy and I’m so proud of what you created, who you are and everything you believed in. This song represents all of that to me.”
Cornell fans recognized Toni’s rare talent, adding glowing comments beneath her “Hunger Strike” cover such as “I was so close to just bawling my eyes out – just beautiful” and “Incredible. Proof that talent and sadness are hereditary. Her voice hits my bones the same way her dad’s voice did. This young woman is a superstar.” If you would like to see more from Chris Cornell, you can subscribe to his YouTube channel or follow him on Instagram.