13-year-old Laura Kamhuber is a little girl with a big voice and she made a record-breaking splash with her audition on The Voice Kids by performing Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.” Laura was no doubt just happy to pass the audition, but her performance later became the most-watched song by an Austrian artist on YouTube ever, with 222 million views.
As you can see in the video below, Laura nails the famously dramatic chorus of the Whitney Houston hit, with the middle-schooler showing off a remarkably full and expressive R&B voice. She completely blew away the audience and judges, turning all three chairs and getting the entire room on their feet.
German pop star Tim Bendzko told Laura that she sang the forbidden song, explaining that “you’re actually not allowed to sing this song because it’s unsingable,” getting a laugh from the teen. “You just sang it sensationally. It was incredible,” he added.
Laura later picked German singer Lena Meyer-Landrut to be her coach for the show. After the audition, Lena told her “I have to admit I’m speechless. Please join my team. How is it possible that something like that comes out of your body?” It wasn’t the last time Laura had a hit on YouTube, as her performance of Kelly Clarkson’s “Because of You” also became very popular with fans online, as you can see below.
Laura progressed through the season on The Voice Kids Germany before eventually being eliminated in the knockout battles. The show was not the first time the young singer has been on the big stage, as in the preceding three years, she also competed in the NÖN Talent Contest and the Austrian TV shows Kiddy Contest and Die große Chance, progressing to the finals in all three contests.
The huge success of her audition on The Voice Kids made heads turn in the music industry. As a result she was able to pick up a professional production team for her music, as well as signing to Austrian record label Tyrolis Music. She subsequently released three studio albums, which explore a range of styles including traditional folk music, rock, pop and electronic music.
Laura is not the first pop singer to take “I Will Always Love You” and make it their own. The song is surely best known for the Whitney Houston version, which lorded over the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for a record-breaking 14 weeks in 1992. However, the tune was originally written by Dolly Parton, who wrote it as a country ballad to farewell her longtime producer and duet partner Porter Wagoner as she was moving forward with her solo career.
Many artists have covered “I Will Always Love You” since its original release in 1974, including Linda Ronstadt, LeAnn Rimes, Amber Riley, John Doe and Sarah Washington. Whitney Houston’s Diamond-certified soul version, released as part of the soundtrack to her hit movie The Bodyguard, will no doubt always be the gold standard for any singer trying their hand at it however. If you would like to see more from Laura Kamhuber, you can subscribe to her YouTube channel or follow her on Instagram.