It started with the lockdown.
Dashel Scott’s mom was across the street having a socially distanced 7 p.m. visit with the neighbour in early April. The 10-year-old grabbed his mic and started bellowing for all on his block of Hampshire Road to hear.
“I wanted to sing a song for them, mom and the neighbours, and we ended up doing it over and over again,” Dashel recalled this week.
Dashel sings using background tracks amplified off his iPad. His vocals are enough to draw fans from blocks away.
Most songs are the response of a determined kid breaking through the social ceiling of a COVID summer. Bryan Adams’ Summer of Covid, Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing, and more.
Dashel sounds much older and it’s hard to imagine a pair of lungs that big in a 10-year-old. But his videos aren’t public on YouTube yet and his upcoming pop-up concert in Saanich won’t be advertised, said his father Doug.
“Other neighbours came around, wanted to hear, and people rode their bikes over from around the block.”
When he started, Dashel had about four songs in his repertoire. He quickly made it a 6:30 p.m. feature every Saturday night on Hampshire called COVID Cheer Ups. They lasted into June. By then he had done nine shows and there hadn’t been an Island case of COVID for weeks though his popularity was gaining.
Little brother Eason, 8, counted more than 50 people at the last show. They were responsibly distanced, but there was concern the COVID Cheer Ups were almost too popular. Prior to this, Dashel was in piano and vocal lessons, and had been part of the Margaret Jenkins elementary school choir. It wasn’t until April that he performed for the public.
“I added about one or two songs a week,” said Dashel, who now has about 25 songs in his book.
Brother Eason joined in as the emcee with intros and plays the drums on Queen’s We Will Rock You and We are the Champions, as well as singing too.
At the peak of his rehearsing for the COVID Cheer Ups series, Dashel took an entire week of his home-based school studies and focused on playing John Lennon’s Imagine.
“I didn’t have to do any school work that week, practising piano was way more fun than schoolwork,” Dashel said.
Imagine was his first public performance doing both the vocals and piano playing, and it was the first time Dashel pulled it off without an error. He then added Hey Jude. He also does Michael Jackson, CCR, and is working on Tina Turner.
When the District of Saanich officially cancelled Music in the Park and put out a call for pop-up concerts, Doug saw that it included an invite for youth to apply as well. Doug emailed a few videos of Dashel singing and on July 31 Dashel and Eason played Gyro Park for just over an hour.
Saanich has Dashel and Eason booked again, but they can’t advertise when and where the pop-up shows will be.