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'Hello,' Can You Pay Me?


Adele performs at the 54th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, Calif. (Reuters file photo)

Adele performs at the 54th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, Calif. (Reuters file photo)


Adele’s song “Hello,” off her latest album, “25,” is one of the top-selling songs of all time.

The music publication Billboard reported that it is the first song to reach 1 million downloads in a single week.

Adele’s fans around the world have responded with recordings of their own versions of “Hello.” In music, this is called a “cover.”

These covers are then posted on streaming services like YouTube. It is a fun thing to do and a way for smaller artists to get notice with a hit song.

Adele’s “Hello” is so popular, people will listen to a cover version from just about anyone.

Lydia Lee is a high school student from South Korea. Her simple video cover of “Hello” in English has collected over 17 million views on YouTube.

A singer named Sara’h received 5 million views with her cover of “Hello” in French.

In Kenya, a singer named Dela has posted a version of “Hello” in Swahili. The song has about 500,000 streams.

The most–watched cover of "Hello" on YouTube, though, is from Leroy Sanchez. He is a musician from the Basque region of Spain. His cover has over 25 million views. Some followers even commented that it “sounds so much better than the original.”

Karen Rodriguez of Miami works in a hotel. But she has dreams of a singing career. She once competed in American Idol, a show for aspiring singers to get notice.

Rodriguez made a video of herself singing "Hello" in English and Spanish. As of this week, her version has more than 8.5 million views on YouTube.

She thinks the song going “viral” will help her find an audience for her music. She told Billboard, “with these covers, I get to put out music.”

The magazine noted that going viral might cost Rodriguez $34,000 if her video reaches 10 million views. That is because it is in another language. That is something Sanchez and Lee do not have to worry about.

Lee and Sanchez perform their covers in English, so they do not have to pay a licensing fee to Adele and her publishing company for the rights to put the song online.

Word-for-word remakes of songs are allowed, but song translations and adaptations do not have the same freedom.

So if you make a video of yourself singing “Hello” in a language other than English, you might owe some money.

For those who only want hear the original, you can say “hello” when Adele performs this Monday night at the music awards show called the Grammys.

I’m Dan Friedell.

Dan Friedell wrote this story for Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

Does this story make you think twice about covering a song in a new language? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.

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Words in This Story

adaptation – n. something changed to fit some purpose or situation

remake – v. to make a different version of something

viral – adj. something that becomes well-known as it is passed from person to person

license – v. to give official permission through a formal agreement

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