Wichita teen encouraged to pursue music after 'Hallelujah' video goes viral

Published: Apr. 3, 2017 at 10:22 PM CDT
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You've probably seen the video of a girl, singing Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" into a well - viewed millions of times online.

That girl is Tiffany Ruan, a junior at Wichita's Collegiate School.

When she Tweeted the video on March 27th, it captured the internet, and hasn't stopped since.

"It was so crazy, I ran over to my mom and I was like mom! My tweet has 13,000 likes!" Tiffany said.

On Tuesday, that Tweet has more than 300,000 likes, millions of views on YouTube, and more than 26 million views on Facebook.

"I was not expecting so much support from people," Tiffany said. "It got super overwhelming."

Here's how the moment happened. Tiffany was with the Collegiate school choir group, the Madrigals, on an Italy trip the group takes every two years.

They were in Spoleto when her choir teacher and some students found a well.

"Somebody started singing into it, and the next thing you know, there was a lot of people singing into it. Then we heard Tiffany singing into it. And that was a special moment," said Matt Webber, the vocal music teacher at Wichita Collegiate Upper School.

Tiffany says her big passion in life, has always been music.

"Ever since I was little," she said.

She's classically trained on piano and violin, but taught herself to play the guitar and ukulele. She writes music, and posts covers along with her own original songs on her YouTube page, where she goes as Tiffany Day.

But knowing the challenges of the music industry, she decided to go for something more practical.

"I thought I was never going to get an opportunity," Tiffany said. "A week before I posted that video, I had made up my mind. I told myself I'm going to go for the more realistic, the more stable route, and just pursue like engineering or something."

But the huge response to that 48-second video has her reconsidering.

"Now that this video has kind of gotten big and I've been presented with all these opportunities, I think my mindset has changed and I'd really love to pursue music professionally," Tiffany said.

Her dream job? Travel the world, and sing.

"Especially songs that are more strong in the message they give. I feel like that's something that's really important to me. I want to produce music that has that effect on people and help people have a better day," Tiffany said.

She says she's grateful for the countless messages of encouragement from strangers, but other messages are even more special.

"I think my favorite messages are probably the ones that come from people who say they're having a really hard time right now in their lives, and my voice in that video kind of like uplifted their soul," Tiffany said. "That sounds like cheesy I know, but it just like makes me really happy and it totally makes my day to read messages like those," she said.

Tiffany says the power of social media is something that could really change the direction of her whole life with college and career choices, but for now she plans to to keep doing what she's been doing - which is sing, and share her voice online.


On a trip to Italy, Wichita Collegiate student Tiffany Ruan, a member of the Madrigals at her school, stopped at a well and delivered a singing performance that has reached hundreds of thousands of people.

In a video posted to social media, Tiffany sings into the well, allowing her voice to echo in a stirring rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah."

"Found a well in Italy with a nice echo. Missing this trip," Ruan says in a tweet featuring the video of her performance.

Since the video was shared on Twitter last Monday (March 27), it has been liked by more than 300,000 people and shared by about 127,000.

Collegiate Principal Chris Ashbrook reports from Tiffany's mother that the family has been overwhelmed with requests to talk to them and tell Tiffany's story.