Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

June 12, 2014

Lip-syncing lark leads to YouTube viral video

TAHLEQUAH — The animated musical, “Frozen,” has taken the country by storm, and most little girls know at least one of the show’s tunes by heart. Count Jade Gregory, a 6-year-old Grand View School student, among that number.

While many girls may know the songs, few can claim over a million hits on YouTube – which is exactly what Jade and her father, Alex, have done. The two recorded themselves lip-syncing “Love is an Open Door,” on a lark, but were recently mentioned on NBC’s The Ellen Degeneres Show in a “Good News” clip.

Alex explained how the idea was born.

“Jade and her brother each have Kindle Fires that they play with around the house,” said Alex. “Jade uses hers mostly to watch Netflix and YouTube videos. She’d started watching other kids put out music videos and lip-sync videos, and I think it just hit her one day that some of these kids aren’t much older than she is.”

Jade began asking her dad if they could make a video together, and after a couple of weeks, Alex “finally relented.”

“I haven’t done anything like that, but she had this one song in mind because it’s one of her favorite movies, and this particular song has clearly defined guy/girl parts,” said Alex. “I put the song on my phone and listened to it for a few days [driving] to and from work, because unlike her, I didn’t have the song memorized already.”

Once Alex felt he had a good grasp on the song, the pair filmed themselves.

“It took us about five tries, and we still messed up some, but we were happy with the result,” said Alex.

Neither Alex nor Jade has a musical background, but Alex said the entire family enjoys listening to music.

“There has even been one occasion where a dispute between the kids was resolved by a dance-off,” said Alex. “But for the most part, we just enjoy the music that other people make.”

Alex had no idea the YouTube version of the video would go viral.

As of Wednesday morning, the video had 1,353,191 views.

“My wife put it on Facebook before YouTube, and everyone [on Facebook] kept saying how we had to put it on YouTube,” said Alex. “Jade is still kind of oblivious as to how big it got. She was excited, because some of the girls at her school’s summer camp knew who she was. She came home excited that fifth-graders had not only known who she was, they had talked to her.”

While no one has stopped them on the street after recognizing them from the video, Alex said the experience has been interesting.

“It has been really cool at work when people realize who I am and they say things like, ‘That was you?’” said Alex. “My sister-in-law in Baltimore tried to show it to a friend at the hospital where she works, and they had already seen it. That was awesome. One of my favorite stories from the whole experience was that a teacher from Jade’s school was so excited to show my wife, Shelly, our video because she thought the guy in it – me – ‘really looked like Shelly’s husband.’”

As for future videos, Alex said Jade may decide to do more.

“I think Jade will ultimately want to make another video, but we both know that this was just one of those awesome experiences that can’t really be duplicated,” said Alex. “If she wants to keep doing it, I’m definitely game. She’s stayed really humble through the whole thing, I think, because she has no idea what YouTube hits are. So long as it doesn’t go to her head, it’s a really fun thing for us to do as a family. If we do decide to do another one, we’ll definitely try to talk her 9-year-old brother, Jaxon, into doing it with us.”

Jaxon has been supportive and proud of his sister.

“But I think the little kid in him is a bit sorry he didn’t want to join us the first time around,” said Alex.

CHECK IT OUT

View Alex and Jade Stephenson lip-syncing “Love is an Open Door,” at www.youtube.com/watch?v=CrRPVjTziPQ.

tsnell@tahlequahdailypress.com

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