December 13, 2016
When a Central High School student posted a video online two years ago of his rendition of a popular song, little did he know that it would be a life-changing moment.
Emmanuel Houndo, who moved to Philadelphia from his native Togo when he was 8 years old, is a talented violinist and a sought-after performer in the entertainment industry. Houndo, who is known as Manny, is now a freshman at Penn State University and impressing his new school's community. The school shared his unlikely road to fame and how it all started with a YouTube channel and a little help from Beyoncé.
In June 2011, Houndo posted his first video, a cover of "On the Floor" by Jennifer Lopez featuring Pitbull. In that clip, he sat in front of the camera and performed the song on his violin. Since then, Houndo has repeated the process dozens of times. None would have a greater impact on his life than his cover of Beyoncé's "Drunk in Love" that he published on Feb. 2, 2014.
Less than a week later, his video was shared by Beyoncé on her Facebook page. The pop star, who has dominated the music scene in one way or another for the past two decades, had one word to describe his rendition, "Amazing!"
Like most things Beyoncé touches, Houndo became a fascination around the internet. Beyoncé's fan base, known as the Beyhive, buzzed to his social media accounts. To date, the pop star's Facebook post generated nearly 98,000 likes, more than 5,000 shares and a lively discussion in the comments sections praising Houndo's performance.
Currently, Houndo's YouTube has more than 20,000 subscribers. He has performed with Snoop Dogg and Justin Bieber.
Although the entertainment executives keep calling, Houndo remains focused on his education. He is pursuing a double major in music and health policy and administration. The school says he "hopes to one day make a positive impact on the accessibility and quality of health care, ideally while also using his musical skills."
Read more about Houndo here.