The Grammys rarely introduce true new artists — by the time an artist makes their way to the Grammy stage, they're usually at least a semi-known name. But last night, we got to meet a true new face. His name is JD McCrary, he's 10 years old, and he'll be playing young Simba in the upcoming live action remake of The Lion King. McCrary performed with Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino), who will play the adult Simba in the upcoming adaptation. This wasn't purely a Lion King reunion: McCrary appears on Glover's song "Terrified," which is from Glover's 2016 album Redbone.
According to a 2017 interview with Vibe, McCrary, who is just 10, ended up on Glover's album via Glover himself, who reached out to McCrary's team. McCrary already has an impressive resumé. Most notably, he appeared on Little Big Shots, a kids talent competition show hosted by Steve Harvey. He also appeared on the late Showtime show I'm Dying Up Here as well as Disney Channels' KC Undercover, which also starred Zendaya. (It was the show that put Zendaya on the map, arguably.)
During an appearance on The Ellen Show in early January, Ellen DeGeneres compared the wunderkind to Michael Jackson.
"Oh yeah, that's an honor," he said graciously. "I just feel like sometimes I mess up, and I feel like I just need to do more work, but I really appreciate everybody that thinks I'm at the level of Michael Jackson."
He added that he think he and Simba — the titular leonine king in The Lion King — are actually pretty similar. "Like, we can both sing," he said. "We both love and look up to our dads. We both have really scary uncles." He's funny and he sings!
Watch the full segment on Ellen, below.
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