JD McCrary: A New Generation of Talent

JayDon “JD” McCrary was sharing  his vocal chords with the world long before he was dubbed the “New King of Pop” on Steve Harvey’s Little Big Shots back in May 2017. In fact, the 10-year-old-triple-threat entertainer was the high pitched voice featured on Childish Gambino’s “Terrified.” But even before that, he was singing his favorite Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder songs. “I’ve been singing since I was about two-years-old and dancing since I was three,” McCrary told Justin Davis of Complex Magazine. Today, he’s not only singing and dancing, but he is known for his acting skills as well. Regardless of whether McCrary is dancing across a stage, reciting lines behind a camera or bellowing notes from behind a microphone, it’s clear to see he represents a new generation of talent.

Born and raised in Granada Hills, a Los Angeles California suburb known as “The Valley’s Most Neighborly Town,” to a family full of singers (including Josh McCrary, his young brother who also sings). It’s almost as if McCrary was destined to entertain. He’s talented, friendly, loves to socialize and is not afraid to shine. In fact, despite only being 10-years old, he’s quick to admit that he’s not shy about being in the spotlight. “I don’t think I ever get nervous,” he explained to J’Na Jefferson of Vibe. “…I always feel like I’m just performing for people,” he continued, admitting that “we’re all [just] human.” He’s just as easy-going when it comes to his acting as well. Whether he’s being featured in a commercial or working alongside Zendaya in KC Undercover, McCrary is smiling big all while remaining cool, calm and collected. In fact, he was filming a scene as Kenny on Tyler Perry’sThe Paynes,” when his mother informed him of what would become his biggest gig yet – young Simba in Disney’s The Lion King Live Action remake. 

“It was a self-tape that I had to do,” McCrary said, explaining the audition process. “There were thousands of kids who were [there] and I was in Atlanta at the time shooting my tv show [“The Paynes”]..luckily a week later Tyler Perry said we could go home, we had a break. So I went home to Los Angeles, and I went straight to the studio and started recording.” Thoroughly impressed by his audition, he was offered the role of Simba almost immediately. Admitting that landing the role was nothing short of a blessing, McCrary admits he has yet to meet Donald Glover, who plays adult Simba or Beyonce, who plays Nala but that he loves recording the voiceover because he gets to wear whatever he wants, versus in film where his clothes are picked out for him. But McCrary’s not even close to peaking in his career. Determined to be the youngest Grammy-Award Winning Artist, he will also completed a recurring role as young Dre in Vital Signs which is premiered on Apple TV back in 2016. Beyond furthering his career, working besides some of entertainments’ biggest names has had its perks as well as McCrary happily shared that Dr. Dre gave him some signed Beats by Dre headphones for his birthday. But despite working as a dancer and actor, music will always be his first love.

“I just want to inspire people with my music,” he explained and that, he has. Whether commenting on his YouTube channel, liking all his posts on Instagram or responding back and forth with him on Twitter, McCrary’s fan’s have been and continue to remain amazed. From his performance on “Finish the Lyrics” to his Cover of New Edition’s Can You Stand the Rain,” to his cover of Michael Jackson’s Who’s Loving You,” McCrary’s passion for music and singing is evident in every note he sings. Admitting he’s inspired by Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Bruno Mars, Justin Bieber and Chris Brown, it’s evident that despite being so young, McCrary’s got soul. But more so than that, he’s got talent that reaches from one generation on to the next and that’s something to be desired, respected, valued and admired. There’s no wonder why he’s gained popularity so quickly. Whether you think he’s the “Next King of Pop,” or not,  JayDon “JD” McCrary surely represents a new generation of talent.

-Sharita Hanley