‘Be you’: 8-year-old Pensacola girl caught singing goes viral on TikTok


PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — An 8-year-old Pensacola girl has gone viral for a singing TikTok video — even getting the attention of an R&B and soul icon.

Tom Coverly, father of Anni Coverly, said he caught Anni belting a poolside performance of Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire,” while she skimmed the Coverlys pool. So, he decided to record it and post it on TikTok, a video platform.

“It’s not unusual for her to sing, but that day was the first I heard her belt out Alicia Keys’ song ‘Girl on Fire,” he said. “I put it on record and was like, ‘let me capture this.’”

Quickly, Tom Coverly knew video was going viral.

“It kind of just started to explode,” he said. (The views) were coming in the hundreds of thousands a day at first and then all of a sudden about a million everyday.”

Millions of views — 8.4 million and counting — are one thing, but Anni’s singing caught the attention of the “Girl on Fire” singer herself.

“I love this!!! Sing mama!!!” Keys commented on the video. “You are amazing!! And you ARE on fire!!!!”

It was a shock for both father and daughter.

“My mind just blew up,” Anni joked.

“I thought it was amazing that Alicia Keyes reached out,” Tom Coverly added. “She’s super busy and the fact she took time to encourage my little girl … is amazing.”

For Anni, singing the catchy tune was just another day of doing chores. She said Thursday doing chores is not fun in silence.

“When I clean the pool, I usually just start singing because it gets a little quiet,” she said.

Anni’s father said she faced bullying in the past, and the attention the viral video has gotten has lifted her spirits. Anni said she wants to inspire other children to ignore bullies.

“Be you,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what the bully’s day to you because you’re perfect the way you are.”

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