Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager knew they were in for something special when DCorey Johnson paid a video visit to their show Monday morning. After all, the 9-year-old recently rose to fame after a video of him performing the national anthem over his school’s PA system went viral.
But it’s one thing to see him belt out the notoriously difficult song during a planned morning address. It’s something else entirely to watch him do it in the middle of an interview on live TV.
That takes a special kind of talent — which they soon learned DCorey had an abundance of.
The third grader sat between his parents, Corey and Nakia Johnson, as he spoke about singing at his school, Bates Elementary in Louisville, Kentucky, and recalled his classmates applauding after his performance. In between the banter, Hoda asked him if he’d be willing to put on a repeat performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” on the air.
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His answer came in the form of another inspiring rendition of the tune, one that had Hoda and Jenna smiling as he lifted up his voice, held the notes and nailed the impromptu concert.
And once again, he earned applause!
“DCorey, do you promise one thing?” Hoda asked as he finished. “When you’re hugely famous, and you’re getting your Grammy, will you please run that clip of how you were on the show with Hoda and Jenna?”
Jenna joked that “nobody will remember us,” as Hoda added, “But we’ll remember you forever, DCorey.”
And that kind of reaction came as no surprise to DCorey’s mother, who said he inherited his voice from his dad and she’s done her best to usher his talent along.
“His dad sings — his whole side of the family — so I knew I was going to build him up to be a singer also,” Nakia Johnson explained.
It wasn’t long after enrolling him in musical theater, and she heard him perform The Jackson 5's “I’ll Be There,” that she was sure she’d put him on the right path.
“He hit that note and it was like, ‘He’s a star!’” she recalled.
And ever since then DCorey, or DC, as she calls him, just keeps proving her right.