When famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma was unavailable to perform on Roberta Flack's upcoming Beatles tribute album, she called Nathan Chan, a 13-year-old cello prodigy from Hillsborough.
Flack first saw Nathan in a 2006 HBO documentary called "The Music in Me, " which profiled young musicians from around the country. She was so moved by the depth of emotion he conveyed while playing Camille Saint-Saens' "The Swan" that she called her manager and asked her to track him down. Nathan's mother received the call on her cell phone while the family was vacationing in Vancouver, British Columbia.
On Sept. 5, Nathan laid down tracks for Flack's version of "I Will, " from the Beatles' "white album" from 1968. The recording session took place at the pristine Avatar Studios in New York.
In a phone interview from New York, Flack said she has always been intrigued by child prodigies.
"Nathan is perhaps one of the most inspiring human beings that I've come across in the last two decades, " said Flack, a classically trained pianist and former music teacher. "It never ceased to amaze me how blessed, generously gifted and humble he is. I can't wait to do other things with him. He is destined for big success."
For Nathan, an aspiring classical musician, an invitation to record with a Grammy-winning singer/songwriter marked an exciting venture into pop music.
Nathan played 15 to 20 takes during the three-hour recording session. The musical icon - whom he knew best through her hit song "Killing Me Softly" - quickly became Nathan's mentor as she guided him through the nuances of "I Will."
"I was playing one take, and all of a sudden, I saw this African American woman with blond frizzy hair, and I said, 'That must be Roberta Flack!' " Nathan said. "I waved to her and she waved back! She's a really nice person."
Looking for other musician to collaborate
I'm working on a pop/rock cover for youtube for fun. There's musicians helping me from all over the place...(United States, Canada, Asia, MiddleEast..etc) ...There's some short and easy parts still available so looking for string plars (Violin, Viola, Cello), Sax (all kinds are welcomed), and of course Brass players. I have backtracks and sheet music available. If you're local (los angeles), you can come over to my place and can record you. If you have another song for your own personal use, I can help you record that one as well. (you help me and I'll help you!)
You can also record yourself and send me an audio and video of your performance