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Father-Son's Carpool Karaoke Of 'Quando, Quando, Quando' Leads To Record Deal


SIMON MCDERMOTT AND TED MCDERMOTT: (Singing) Tell me, when will you be mine? Tell me, quando, quando, quando?


Earlier this year, a British guy named Simon McDermott posted a video of him driving his elderly dad around in his car, and the two of them are belting out the 1960s Italian pop hit, "Quando, Quando, Quando."


SIMON MCDERMOTT AND TED MCDERMOTT: (Singing) When will you say yes to me? Tell me, quando, quando, quando?

MARTIN: The video has been viewed nearly 2 million times because it is this beautiful interaction between this father and his son, which is all the more meaningful when you find out that Simon's dad, Ted, has Alzheimer's. What's also so great about this video is that Ted actually has an amazing voice, and this viral video has now led to a record deal for him. Simon McDermott joins us now on the line to talk about his dad. Hey, Simon. Thanks for being with us.

SIMON MCDERMOTT: Oh, no, it's good to speak to you.

MARTIN: Has he - your dad, Ted - has he been a singer his whole life?

MCDERMOTT: Yeah, since he was about 16 or 17. And he's had his normal jobs - he's worked in factories and things like that - and then he'd always be singing on the side or doing, like, bits of pub gigs and everything. And then in the '70s, he became a Butlins Redcoat, which is, like, a holiday camp entertainer. He's always sang all my life. I think I just thought it was normal (laughter) that your dad was always constantly singing, constantly buying records, you know? It was his passion, really.

MARTIN: When did you decide to start making these videos?

MCDERMOTT: Well he's - obviously, he was diagnosed 2013 and he started to get a bit forgetful. And then earlier this year, I was upstairs listening to him sing and he was singing (unintelligible) and he got halfway through it and he forgot some of the lyrics. And I thought, oh no, you know, if my dad starts forgetting the lyrics, that's going to be really horrible to hear. So I took him to a recording studio and I just recorded some songs of him singing so we had at least something to remember.

And it was afterwards - we went for a drive, and we had his backing tracks on, and we ended up just singing along with my mom and my dad. I recorded it 'cause it was such a nice day. It was such a (inaudible) time. And we were driving around singing "Quando, Quando," and he kept - every time we finished it he kept saying, play it again, play it again. So we must have sang it about, like, you know, nearly 10 times. So I recorded it and then I put it on my Facebook, and that's it. One thing led to another, really, so...

MARTIN: That's amazing. I mean - so he's got this record deal?

MCDERMOTT: Yeah, somebody from Decca sent me an email. And he's like, do you want to meet up and just have a quick chat? And I was like, yeah, sure. He said, I'd really like to see your dad sing with a band. And I was like, oh, wow, that'd be fantastic 'cause my dad would love to sing with a band. So we got - he got him down, and it was with the Guy Barker Orchestra, which is a really famous orchestra. And we didn't know any of this. I mean, it was just - we were blown away by it. It was, like, my dad's big dream to sing with an orchestra. So it was fantastic.

MARTIN: So how has music played into his diagnosis? What kind of tool has it been for you and your family in coping?

MCDERMOTT: Well, see, my dad's always singing so him to sing is nothing new. I think it's more like we've realized it's a coping mechanism for ourselves. So - but when he does go different places and he doesn't trust people and he gets a bit confused of, like - I can tell that he's looking at me and just thinking, who are you, why are you in my house kind of thing I can just say, all right, let's go for a drive. And this - and we go for a drive, and we put the music on and then he's back to his normal self, really. And also, for me and my dad's relationship, you know, we've become so close in the last, you know, year or so because I think - 'cause we've spent a lot of time driving around for hours on end singing, possibly. So that's probably why.

MARTIN: Do you have a favorite song you like to sing with him?

MCDERMOTT: Oh, my God, there's so many that I like to sing with him. Of course, I like "Quando, Quando." I love singing that. And actually, the single that is out at the moment, you know, "You Make Me Feel So Young," I really like that one 'cause it's quite - I can actually reach some of the notes.

MARTIN: (Laughter).


TEDDY MAC: (Singing) You make me feel so young. You make me feel though spring has sprung.

MARTIN: Simon McDermott joined us on the line to talk about his dad, Ted, and singing songs. Hey, Simon, thank you so much for talking with us.

MCDERMOTT: No worries, it was really good to speak to you.


TEDDY MAC: (Singing) I want to go play hide and seek. I want to go and bounce that moon just like a toy balloon. You and I... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.