You know the feeling when you hear a song for the first time and it feels like you’ve been struck by electricity? The way you become hypnotized and taken away for just a moment? Your breath turns shallow, your heartbeat becomes irregular, and when it’s over you come back to yourself and think “what the heck just happened?”
Music can do that to us, and so can a perfectly sung song. For many, a similar experience occurred the first time they watched The Greatest Showman in 2017. The film, starring big names like Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Zendaya, and Michelle Williams, was inspired by the real-life events of circus visionary P.T. Barnum (Jackman) of the Barnum & Bailey Circus. So many songs up and down the soundtrack enraptured us, from Jackman’s Tony Award-winning appeal to Efron’s seductive baritone notes, but none swept us off our feet as much as the pivotal ballad in the middle of the movie, “Never Enough.”
Just like Jackman’s character in the movie, when “Never Enough” began we were all shell shocked and completely glued to our seats, hanging onto every word Jenny Lind (Rebecca Ferguson) sang. The song, and the soundtrack as a whole, did big things for the movie, catapulting it into arenas where only soundtracks like The Sound of Music and Titanic lay.
5.3 million copies of The Greatest Showman (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) sold, putting the soundtrack up there with the likes of Adele and, believe it or not, The Beatles. The Greatest Showman became a phenomenon, and the ballad “Never Enough” earned itself the title of one of the biggest songs of all time, per Simon Cowell. You’d think with a song as big and recognizable as that, we’d all know the person who sang it, but that’s not the case here.
So, who actually sang “Never Enough” in The Greatest Showman?
Loren Allred is not a household name, even though her voice is. Think about it. To be a song we all recognize is one thing, but to be the voice behind that song is another thing entirely. You’d think the success of one would equal the success of the other. For Loren Allred, that wasn’t the case.
In 2012 Allred joined season three of The Voice on NBC. Her time on the singing competition was short lived, incurring nothing more than wonderful memories and not a lot of musical opportunities. Until one day several years while bartending to support herself, Allred was approached to offer reference vocals for the actors on The Greatest Showman. As Allred explains it, Rebecca Ferguson who played Jenny Lind recommended that Allred’s voice remain on the track and that she, Ferguson, lip sync the song instead. Apparently, even Ferguson recognized the future hit when she heard it.
Now all these years later, after The Greatest Showman and “Never Enough” made their world-wide splash, Allred quietly walked on the stage of Britain’s Got Talent and informed the public that it was actually her voice we all heard behind Ferguson’s performance. Like the U.S. version of the show, Britain’s Got Talent has a Golden Buzzer function in the competition, in which any contestant who blows the judges away can be given the Golden Buzzer and get sent directly to the live semifinals.
Well, when Allred shared that she was the voice behind the hit song, let’s just say Simon Cowell and the judges were starstruck. As you watch the performance you can see the awe in their faces. Here is a singer we’ve all heard and who’s song has become a staple on singing competitions like Britain’s Got Talent, and yet we knew nothing about about her. It’s a moment that’s captured the eyes and hearts of viewers across the globe, who are now showering Allred with the praise she so rightfully deserves.
Why has Allred not been in the spotlight since The Greatest Showman? As she tells Simon and the judges, it’s because she’s always felt safer singing behind the scenes. Well, that won’t be the case any longer. Allred’s Golden Buzzer video has attracted close to 10 million views on YouTube, with many of those viewers heading over to the “Never Enough” performance from The Greatest Showman just to revel in her vocals even more.
Allred’s voice might have been her most recognizable feature before, but not anymore. We have a face to put to the pipes, and now that we do we can’t wait to see what those pipes deliver next.