SA’s Tik-Tok Sensation Whitney April Debuts with “The Prayer”

Whitney April, the largest Tik-Tok singing sensation in South Africa, has partnered with PJ Morton’s management company on a global deal. Their interest was piqued by the Cape Town/Bothasig native’s 100K-strong Tik-Tok fan base, and now she has produced an inspirational rendition of the well-known song The Prayer.

Whitney April, who is only 25 years old, has established a name for herself in the TikTok metaverse, where her acapella covers of songs like “Part of Your World” from the Disney animated film “The Little Mermaid” and Adele’s “Easy on Me” have received one million likes.

With her premiere recording of “The Prayer,” which includes Rodrick Dixon of the classical trio Three Mo’ Tenors, April is now reaching audiences beyond of TikTokers. When she was younger, she first heard the Celine Dion & Andrea Bocelli-produced 1998 original, but it was the gospel music superstars Donnie McClurkin and Yolanda Adams’ 2003 remake that really captured her heart. It’s appropriate that the beautiful new orchestration was created by Rodney East, Adams’ music director.

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East crafts a majestic musical backdrop that is as large and enticing as the original Quest for Camelot motion-picture soundtrack versions. East has previously worked with artists like Jay-Z and Whitney Houston. The recording was a global occasion. As April sang her parts on Zoom from her brother’s recording studio in Cape Town, East was watching from his Chicago, Illinois, studio. Dixon recorded his vocals in Chicago on a different day. The tune was then mixed and mastered by GRAMMY® Award-winning engineer James Auwarter in his London, England studio. Auwarter also worked on Rihanna’s “A Girl Like Me” and Kanye West’s groundbreaking Late Registration project.

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When asked what, after 25 years, makes “The Prayer” still so heartbreaking, April gives a straightforward answer. Actually, she claims, it’s the mood of the song. It is quite sincere.

When she was younger, she entertained herself by singing songs from “Barney & Friends” or at church and a lot of Fifth Harmony songs, but she never imagined having a career as a singer. She graduated from Varsity College and started teaching English, Afrikaans, and other topics to elementary school students.

Along the way, Wade Jordan (manager for R&B artist / Maroon 5 keyboardist PJ Morton),  came across some of April’s Tik-Tok videos and was impressed. “He asked if I might be interested in making a recording,” she recalls. “Making the videos was just fun for me. I didn’t think of doing music full time. I always dreamed, but I never thought it would happen.”

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The dream is now reality as some of the most accomplished behind-the-scenes people in music gather to re-introduce “The Prayer” through this brilliant new take. “Whitney’s voice is simply angelic on this rendition,” says James Auwarter who engineered recordings by some of the greats of this generation. “I just started work on the Dolby Atmos mix version, and this will bring the song to life even more!” However, Whitney April remains low-key and humble about everything that’s happening to her.  “I believe that God put me in this place where people who feel like there’s no hope can be encouraged through my voice,” she says. “I’m just a vessel.”

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