One Voice Children’s Choir is a Utah-based choir that seeks to inspire people “through the power of children’s voices”. The choir has its origins in the run-up to the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in 2002. Responding to a call for local songwriters to contribute songs for the upcoming Games, Masa Fukuda co-wrote a song with Jeannine Lasky.
To record the song (It Just Takes Love), Fukuda managed to gather 1,621 pupils from 69 elementary schools. The song was accepted for inclusion on the Olympics CD. Some of the children approached Fukuda about continuing to sing together, which gave rise to a children’s choir that is now over 20 years old. Here is a great song from 3 years ago.
What about Us? is a cover of a song Pink released on her 2017 album Beautiful Trauma. The song is open-ended – Gil Kaufman of Billboard wrote that the lyrics can be read as “commenting on the state of the world, or the state of the heart”, while Faith Pot interprets the One Voice Children’s Choir version as a commentary on the circumstances of children from broken homes. In interviews, Pink has punted the more political reading of the song that she co-wrote with Johnny McDaid and Steve Mac.
Speaking to Vulture, Pink said the song has an inclusive message for people around the globe who feel marginalised. She has also explained the song as being a reaction to the election of Donald Trump as President of the US. The basic message – “what about us?” – is particularly poignant when sung by a children’s choir. Leena Azzam comments “The way the girl held the other one’s hand and said ‘we are children that need to be loved’ then they all replied ‘we need love’ .. THAT got me.”
What about Us? has an impressive 18M YouTube views. This is far eclipsed by One Voice Children’s Choir’s most popular song, a cover of Rihanna’s hit Diamonds. Written by Sia, Benny Blanco and Stargate, Diamonds was the lead single from Rihanna’s album Unapologetic (2012). The single reached the #1 spot on music charts in more than 20 countries including the US and the UK. It is a mid-tempo track with a sound that is less brash than Rihanna’s more anthemic, up-tempo songs.
Diamonds is a song about romantic love. It includes the lines “You’re a shooting star I see, a vision of ecstasy/ When you hold me, I’m alive, we’re like diamonds in the sky.” For the One Voice Children’s Choir version, “beauty” is substituted for “ecstasy” and “When you’re near Me” replaces “When you hold me”. While these changes dial back the passion, for those that know the Rihanna original it can be a bit disconcerting to hear a children’s choir singing what is essentially an adult song. This quibble aside, the choir is in fine voice, as always. I’m particularly partial to the way that the choir sings the “shine bright like a diamond” hook.
Under the baton of Masa Fukuda, One Voice Children’s Choir reached the quarter-finals of America’s Got Talent 2014. It has performed at the White House, toured in several countries, and appeared at concerts around the United States. If you would like to see more from One Voice Children’s Choir, you can subscribe to their YouTube channel. You can also visit their official website for more information.