Viral singer Isla McManus (11) appointed young patron of autism charity

Via Belfast Telegraph 


An 11-year-old singer from Belfast whose rendition of Dance Monkey went viral during the pandemic has been appointed as a patron of an online autism charity.

Isla McManus became an overnight sensation in 2021 when her version of the hit single attracted more than one million views on social media when she was only eight.

The young star performed the Tones and I track at Pride in Belfast.

Last autumn Isla wowed the audience after taking the stage at ‘Autism’s Got Talent’ at the Mermaid Theatre in London.


The event had been organised by Anna Kennedy Online – a charity committed to raising Autism Awareness.and promoting acceptance around the world.

Isla, who was diagnosed with condition when she was 4 and is currently waiting results of a test for ADHD, made a lasting impression.


“We are proud to announce that the talented Isla is joining our AKO family as a young charity Patron whoop!!!” the charity posted on Facebook on Tuesday.

‘Isla is overjoyed to be asked to become a young charity patron for Annakennedyonline.

“Isla was one of the performer’s on Autism’s got Talent last year and she had the best experience and she met some truly amazing people.

“We as a family are very thankful that Isla was given this opportunity.

“Anna and her team do fantastic work in the autism community, which is a massive part of our family with Isla and her younger brother Lincoln both having a diagnosis of Autism.


Isla calls Autism her superpower.

“Congratulations Isla.”

Isla’s proud mum Alana has previously described how singing helps her daughter manage her emotions when they begin to overwhelm her.

“She doesn’t realise how good she is, even though we keep telling her,” she told the Belfast Telegraph.

“She has always sang.

“They say autistic children have a special interest, and Isla’s has always been singing. It soothes and calms her down.”

The viral performance in Tigers Bay back August 2021 was the youngster’s first time singing with a proper mic and speaker set-up.

However, she has went on to embrace the stage following the huge reaction to her performances.


The pupil of Seaview Primary School, who has a younger brother who has also been diagnosed with autism, has also been busy making videos for the Facebook page Isla Loves Singing which is supervised by her mum.

Isla has been busy busking in Belfast and in addition to streaming to thousands of fans online.

The performer has a preference for songs she can relate to including hits from Elvis Presley and the soundtrack to Disney’s Frozen.

“Literally I got famous in about two or three days,” she previously explained.

“It was my first time busking and Uncle Jim was my bodyguard, then he told me that this lady came up and said that I just made her day.


“When people are happy, I’m happy.”



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