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Chase Holfelder

June 5, 2018

Though music wasn’t his minor at UNCW, Chase Holfelder ’11 has used those skills to become a major YouTube sensation.

Holfelder’s “Major to Minor” series, in which he takes songs from a major (happy-sounding) key and transposes them to a minor (sad-sounding) key, has gone viral. Various media outlets have featured his videos and he’s gotten a social media nod from several major recording artists whose songs he’s covered, including Richard Marx and Taylor Swift. His minor-key version of “Amazing Grace” was featured in the popular TV series Deadliest Catch.

“Certain songs really lend themselves to the minor key change, especially ’80s pop songs, for some reason,” says Holfelder. “It’s interesting to see how the lyrics of a song can take on a completely different meaning simply by changing a song from major to minor.”

Though he majored in English with a concentration in professional writing, Holfelder has been singing most of his life. “Most of my early memories of singing revolve around a karaoke machine that I got as a Christmas present when I was eight,” he said.

During his junior year at UNCW, Holfelder was a semi-finalist for a national jingle contest held by Folger’s coffee in celebration of its 25th anniversary. He recently captured “all the feels” of generations of Toys “R” Us kids who mourned the folding of the former toy store giant with his somber version of their popular theme song, which has garnered more than 12 million views on Facebook.

Though he mostly works out of his home studio in Apex, NC, he was invited to Las Vegas this past spring to perform his minor key arrangement of “What a Wonderful World" with Cirque du Soleil during their annual “One Night for One Drop” charity show, making him the only singer in the event other than singer/songwriter Jewel.

Holfelder’s work is showcased on his YouTube channel, which has more than 425,000 subscribers and 38 million views.

-- Caroline Cropp