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New York singing janitor video goes viral

Janitor With Amazing Singing Voice Goes Viral

HARLEM (PIX11) – A thunderous voice regularly fills the stairwell inside a Harlem apartment building. They're powerhouse singing chops that can't be denied and they belong to janitor John Maldonado.

The Brooklyn man, who has cleaned floors and taken out trash for nearly a decade at the Lenox Avenue residential building, recently surfaced on YouTube and sheds light on a story all too familiar of undiscovered talent in New York City.

"When I was younger I used to sing for my family for get-togethers," Maldonado told PIX11 News. "I sing for my friends, but I never really pursued it. Secretly I always wanted to be a singer but I've always been nervous."

From pop stars like Mariah Carey to John Legend, Maldonado has covered all the greats, putting his own smooth falsetto style to their hits.

Despite failed auditions on singing competition shows like 'American Idol' and 'The Voice,' he hasn't let go of the dream, using the hallways and stairwells as his personal studio to record music.

"Unfortunately, I can't afford studio time at the moment," he said. "In the meantime, I use the hallways for the echo and I've put some videos up on YouTube and some people have taken notice."

Some of those people are the tenants at the Lenox Avenue dwelling. "He has such an amazing voice. It's a blessing to hear that type of music -- to hear that voice in the morning when you wake up," tenant Cora Heckstall said.

Other tenants like Billie Jean Edge relish at the opportunity to hear Maldonado belt out a tune. "Whenever I hear him sing, I run out of my apartment and swing that door open and tell him, 'Sing it, baby!'" she said. "Thank the Lord! The world needs to hear his voice. That's what God put in you to do."

When it comes to the goal, Maldonado doesn't beat around the bush. "The dream is to be a singer," he said. "I want the people whose songs I sing to start singing my songs." He adds, "I enjoy my gift and give all thanks to God and I'm going to keep singing no matter what happens."

To watch John Maldonado on YouTube, visit his channel.

Join the discussion

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jgesselberty June 07 2014 at 8:39 AM

And Hollywood is filled with millionaires who can't come close to this man's voice. Because he actually sings, but doesn't recite filthy limericks set to a rap beat. The world is upside down.

Flag Reply +31 rate up
2 replies
*Antje D & OMax* jgesselberty June 07 2014 at 12:05 PM

Is there someone "OUT-AND-ABOUT" TO HELP & SUPPORT this Gentleman TO GET ADMITTED FOR HIS MUSIC / SINGING DEGREE at the right-placed UNIVERSITY USA! --- omaxh@aol.com/

Flag Reply +10 rate up
cgssnavickas jgesselberty June 07 2014 at 12:28 PM

Not to mention that if you don't look like Justin Bieber or Brittany Spears, they don't want to hear you. (And neither of those two can sing.)

Flag Reply +15 rate up
2 replies
muffin cgssnavickas June 07 2014 at 3:03 PM

But BS and JB are the nit wit twits

Flag +1 rate up
george9448 cgssnavickas June 07 2014 at 4:32 PM

Totally agree-that's why they need 20 costume changes and all those stupid dancers-to hide the very fact they cannot , in fact, sing.

Flag +3 rate up
Beckey Neal June 07 2014 at 7:53 AM

Awesome voice and it comes from his heart. Someone needs to help this guy get in the business.

Flag Reply +23 rate up
1 reply
mjones6302 Beckey Neal June 07 2014 at 10:09 AM


Flag Reply +16 rate up
Madeleine June 07 2014 at 7:30 AM

Don't give up John. You have a gift.

Flag Reply +22 rate up
rwitchwoman63 June 07 2014 at 8:30 AM

Amazing!....What a great voice!!!!

Flag Reply +15 rate up
garcialibby June 07 2014 at 10:15 AM

SOMEONE PLEASE ASSIST THIS MAN TO GET TO WHERE HE NEEDS TO BE. His singing comes from his soul and not from greed of the discovery or money. Now this is a good feeling news worthy article.

Flag Reply +14 rate up
rmvp914 June 07 2014 at 11:21 AM

John . . . your voice is a gift from God and I am certain we will be seeing you and hearing you on the air waves soon. Keep on singing . . . the right person will hear you.

Flag Reply +14 rate up
chuck June 07 2014 at 1:09 PM

damn, i've heard better out of a cat late at night looking for a lady to play with.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
3 replies
cgssnavickas June 07 2014 at 12:27 PM

I think I know why he failed at auditions for American Idol and The Voice. He's too old to be on either one of them and he doesn't have the "pop idol look" that goes with the voice. It's all on appearances, not on how well you actually sing. It's a shame that he was rejected for those two shows, maybe he should try to go on "America's Got Talent." At least they don't care if you have looks or not.

I hope he gets to realize his dreams one day. He sounds better than these so-called winners of said above talent shows.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
1 reply
cinismax cgssnavickas June 07 2014 at 8:00 PM

The way some looked on idol should be hidden behind a door :(

Flag Reply +1 rate up
oujoou June 07 2014 at 8:46 AM

A gift is for the person who owns it. Being a janitor is not a step down from any other job. Nor is singing a step up. Learn to clean better . . . it'll make the world a lot better than if you start getting nods from the street from strangers for singing pointless and dumb songs on the radio. I had the best trip to Amsterdam a month ago. One of the highlights was running into the hot cleaning lady in the hall of the Marriott . . . Ade. If you have a gift for cleaning or being a janitor . . . instead of trying to make it as a singer . . . do something FOR yourself . . move somewhere where cleaning as a profession is a source of learning and reward. America is not the best place to BE if you have a talent for cleaning professionally. :( One of the best things is leaving money for housekeeping after a good trip. I think it's a SIGN that you DID great on your trip abroad. :)

Flag Reply +2 rate up
2 replies
Charlene oujoou June 07 2014 at 2:16 PM

Wow, oujoou, way to stomp on man's dreams! Everything you said is a load of dirt. Now, go clean it up since you love janitorial work so much.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
jas oujoou June 07 2014 at 5:02 PM

Your snide commentary about this guy is well, snide. Such cute comments should be kept to oneself, it serves no value, other than being an *******.

Granted, this guy is trying to reach out. His chances are pitifully slim that he'll be discovered, and become the next singing star. He'll all but likely remain a singing janitor, with a dream. Practically everyone knows that, so why shove it up his arse.

Someone like you raining on his parade, illustrates you are shallow, and somehow makes you feel better about yourself. By bringing down this guy, who is trying to reach out. His reaching out, is a from of social psychology important to his well being. Not to be ignored, nor trifled with by the likes of you. Hopefully, he'll not read the crap you posted.

I've known people like you in my past. Like, like likes. I surround myself with people who would encourage this guy, even though most would know, he likely doesn't have much of chance. Yet would encourage him anyway. To reach for the singing hung on the ladder.

Where you, as you said would have him reach for the janitor rung on the ladder.

For me, I would rather listen to him sing in the building hallway, rather than watch him wear himself out pushing a mop.

That's my reality versus yours. Frankly, I think most folks would like mine version over yours.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
napa422 June 07 2014 at 12:30 PM


Flag Reply +2 rate up
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