We all have nostalgia for the ’90s, but Lawrence Young‘s rendition of Shai‘s “If I Ever Fall In Love” will have you reminiscing about that special lady you tried to impress with your fresh pair of FUBU wear and that hi-top fade you just got trimmed up at the local barber shop.
The 39-year-old R&B singer uploaded a short video to YouTube titled “Lawrence Young Covers ‘If I Ever Fall In Love’ By Shai” on May 28th. In it, you see five frames in which Young is singing, but on different tunes. The five faces are singing as if they are in a group, but they are actually one man belting out the old skool classic.
When NewsOne asked Young how he was able to pull it off, he’d only say it’s “a regular old picture collage app.” He then added that he wants to fully benefit from the new style of marketing his vocal skills before others try and copy his approach.
“If I drive traffic to their app and they’ve got so many users who download it because they want to try and do similar things, then I feel that there should be some kind of trade off there as far as me driving that activity,” Young said. “But it is a simple picture collage video app. It’s not made for doing this at all. It’s just made for posting pictures and different videos you want. I just found a way to manipulate the app.”
Watch Young sing “If I Ever Fall In Love” as if he is five people here:
So far, Young’s rendition of the song has generated 26,500 views on his YouTube page, a relatively low number given how well-executed it is. It has done fairly well on social media, though; the Facebook page “I Love Being Black” posted the video to its timeline June 3, and it has been shared more than 68,000 times and liked more than 31,000 times at press time.
Young says that had he not sang the song the way he did, it would not have been shared as much.
“This is little niche that I have discovered for myself,” he said. “It’s unique and it’s something that I’m doing and it’s only me doing it right now and I think that is the key — an element that hasn’t been touched before. Me just getting on YouTube and just singing, that can be done all day.”
Watch the original acapella version by Shai here:
Young, who is originally from Louisville, Ky., and has been living in Los Angeles since 2001, says he was inspired to sing the classic song while driving around the city one day and thinking about the feel of the ’90s sound. He produced another video using the same technique, singing the song “East Side High Anthem” from “Lean On Me.”
You can watch it here:
He says he was part of a group called “L.A. Ganz” (el-e-ganz) that was active from 1997 to 2000. There isn’t much footage of the group, but they did produce a song for the “Booty Call” soundtrack called “Chocolate“and had a single you may remember called “Like A Playa.”
Young says he struck up a relationship with Sisqo, the man who sang more passionately about thongs than the lead singer of the church choir filled with the Holy Ghost, but he said music business politics got in the way of making serious moves happen.
When Young is not on YouTube uploading his songs, he’s busy in the city singing at events and writing music for commercials and movies to pay the bills. Most people on social media who saw the Shai and East Side High videos assume Young isn’t a professional singer. They advise him to get an agent, tell him he needs to be singing full-time, and should work on a marketing strategy to “put himself out there.”
He does all of the above and then some.
Young said he is really hoping that his unique style of producing videos and marketing his voice will give him that big break he has been seeking, but he also wants his personal drive to help others be persistent in pursing their dreams.
“I just hope that somebody or some little kid is watching these videos and getting inspired to pursue their career and get motivated to up their music game and not just settle for mediocrity, which I think [is what we have] settled for, for a long time in urban music,” he said.