Look out Ed Sheeran, 12-year-old Fionn Wheelan is the new talent from the British Isles and he’s gunning for your spot in the limelight. Like Sheeran, the young Irish talent has a shock of ginger hair and he also shares the pop star’s amazing vocal abilities, as you can hear in his cover of “Hallelujah” below.
In the clip, Fionn busks with Irish YouTube star Allie Sherlock on Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, although they take more inspiration from the superb Jeff Buckley version. Allie plays acoustic guitar while the pair trade verses and Fionn really kicks into gear for the chorus, delivering a powerful hook that’ll give you goosebumps.
Unsurprisingly for a 12-year-old, his voice cracks a few times, but he confidently nails the iconic vocal lines nonetheless. Allie is also a tremendously talented vocalist and her folk-pop take on the song is quite captivating. The pair create another magic moment going into the second chorus when they harmonize together beautifully.
Fionn also busks solo with his acoustic guitar, which he’s quite handy with. Clearly not afraid to lean into the Sheeran comparisons, Fionn did a fantastic cover of Sheeran’s hit “Perfect”, which you can check out below. This cover showcases his ability to put his own stamp on the song, as he adds a charming traditional folk touch. There are many talented young singers who can hit all the notes, but his ability to showcase his own signature style at such a young age is very impressive.
Fionn, who recently turned 13, lives to the south of Dublin in the small coastal town Wicklow. The young singer makes the trip up to the big smoke to perform however, as in both videos he is seen pulling quite a crowd while playing in the bustling Grafton Street shopping precinct. Grafton Street is well known as the spot to catch up-and-coming talent, as names such as Bono, Damien Rice and Keywest cut their teeth busking there.
Fionn’s duet with Allie picked up quite a bit of traction online, with the video being viewed 13 million times on YouTube. Music lovers couldn’t get enough of his voice, adding comments like “Oh my god. A new star is growing up. The sound of his voice is awesome,” and “Honestly, this boy is mindblowing. What a voice: mature, natural and humble.”
No doubt Fionn hopes he can springboard off the buzz around his busking performances onto bigger things. This is a path that his duet partner Allie managed quite well, beginning with weekly busking sessions on Grafton Street. The 18-year-old singer-songwriter went viral in 2017 with her busking cover of Sheeran’s “Supermarket Flowers”, which gained 13 million views on her YouTube channel.
The following year Allie appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and The Ray D’Arcy Show. She followed up these big appearances by signing a five-year contract with Patriot Records, which is the label of OneRepublic vocalist Ryan Tedder. Her YouTube channel has continued blowing up since then and she now has 5.8 million subs and a huge 1.1 billion total views.
If you would like to see more from Fionn Wheelan, you can follow him on Instagram.