Young Aussie’s Ellen TV encounter
Besieged talk show host Ellen DeGeneres may have been cast as a villain by former employees and some guests, but one Australian artist is singing her praises and hoping to be recalled for an encore performance.
Taj Farrant, 11, who shot to fame on the back of his mind-blowing appearance last year where he belted out Guns N' Roses' Sweet Child O' Mine as a nine-year-old, has plans to return to the set.
The youngster from Gosford, north of Sydney, said he planned to tour the US once the pandemic allowed and hoped for a second appearance on Ellen "when I start touring again with my songs".
His father Brandin told NCA NewsWire they have been in touch with the show's producers about Taj returning following the release of his first single last week, Just Can't Sleep, although it may not be until the second half of next year or even 2022 if he's to appear in person.
Brandin said Taj could not speak highly enough of Ellen or her producers after he played live for two minutes before sitting down to chat with the daytime star, showing maturity well beyond his years.
The family were guests of the show and were flown to the US where they also spent a day at Disneyland Park, California.
"People always ask me, what was it like. I cannot speak more highly of the franchise," Brandin said.
"There was nothing that hard. They were great people. It was easy for us and she made it easy for the kids. Taj felt comfortable and he was even dancing in the green room.
"We are in talks at the moment to try and make that happen with the single being released.
"We have an acoustic version coming out and we may be able to get back and have another shot at Ellen, or maybe not."
Ellen and her production team came under fire earlier this year with claims of a toxic work environment behind the scenes of her daytime show.
DeGeneres even directly addressed the "no eye contact" rule reportedly enforced on her employees, denying she was the one behind it.
Three senior producers were given their marching orders from The Ellen DeGeneres Show in the wake of damning allegations of racial insensitivity, sexual misconduct and a toxic workplace culture.
The controversy has done nothing to dampen Taj from appearing on Ellen again, Brandin said.
Taj only took up playing guitar as a seven-year-old, after seeing AC/DC at Sydney's ANZ Stadium in 2015 and being mesmerised by Angus Young, although he says he has also been inspired by the-late Gary Moore (Thin Lizzy, Skid Row) and the-late Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Before appearing on Ellen, Taj was amassing a sizeable audience with several YouTube clips including an instrumental of David Allan Coe's Tennessee Whiskey which has now been viewed more than seven million times.
"I reckon that's what sent my followers sky high," Taj said.
"Before I did Ellen I had 30,000 followers and within a couple of days it jumped 40,000 then 60,000 and then 100,000."
However, after he appeared on Ellen, legendary guitarist Carlos Santana took notice as did Matchbox 20 lead singer Rob Thomas and Australian rock guitarist Orianthi.
The trio is among several high profile musicians who have taken more than a passing interest in Taj's future and regularly touch base with him to catch-up on his latest accomplishments.
"I spoke Orianthi not long ago and Carlos we probably get the most messages from. He's a very spiritual person," Taj said.
"They just ask 'how ya doin', what's going on and asks me if there is anything they can help with."
Besides musicians, guitar companies are also keeping a close eye on the 11-year-old's progress.
Brandin said they have received more than 30 unsolicited guitars in the mail from musicians and guitar manufacturers since he appeared on Ellen.
"Every time I open the door there is another FedEx box and someone has sent him a guitar. He's now got more than he will ever play."
Among his most prized possessions is a 1964 original Gibson SG and signed, staged played-guitars, from Santana and Kiss who he also performed alongside.
Originally published as Young Aussie's Ellen TV encounter