This a capella version of 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' will knock your socks off

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.


Be ready, because PHEW.

If you're unfamiliar with either of both these singers, here's a little background.

Yebba is a singer-songwriter from West Memphis, Arkansas who has collaborated with various artists including Chance the Rapper, Ed Sheeran, Stormzy, and Sam Smith. She's released a few singles of her own over the past few years, and in 2019 won a Grammy alongside PJ Morton for Best Traditional R&B Performance with the song "How Deep Is Your Love."

"Yebba" is her stage name—a backwards play on her real name, Abbey Smith.

Her debut single, "My Mind" was written and performed shortly before her mom died of suicide in 2016. After that, the lyrics of the song took on a whole new significance. The powerful performance of the piece at SoFar NYC shows off Yebba's vocal range as well as her emotive style of singing.

YEBBA - My Mind | Sofar NYC www.youtube.com

Jacob Collier, on the other hand, is a British musician who rose to fame through split-screen self-harmonizing videos he shared online. In 2012, his cover of Stevie Wonder's "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing" went viral on YouTube, and Collier was subsequently signed by Quincy Jones' record label. He has since been nominated for seven Grammy awards and won five of them. He's the first British artist to win a Grammy for each of his first four albums.

Collier—who has been referred to as "a musical force of nature" can play a wide range of musical instruments and often serves as his own one-man band. But his NPR Tiny Desk Concert with back-up vocals and instrumentalists is a delight. (It gets particularly fun at the 12:30 mark.)

Jacob Collier: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert www.youtube.com

Two impressive musical artists casually pulling together a soul-stirring performance of a much-beloved classic like "Bridge Over Troubled Water" is just the kind of entertainment we need after a year of collective trauma and hardship. Music is healing, creativity is healing, human connection is healing, and all three of those things came together beautifully in this brief video. (Anyone else wishing it didn't cut off? I don't think there's a longer version anywhere, since Yebba's original solo version wasn't a complete video either. I think it's time to demand a full recorded version, please and thank you.)

Yebba pretty much summed up here how we're all feeling after watching them sing:

You can find more of Yebba's music here and Jacob Collier's music here.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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via Fox 5 / YouTube

Back in February, northern Virginia was experiencing freezing temperatures, so FOX 5 DC's Bob Barnard took to the streets to get the low down. His report opens with him having fun with some Leesburg locals and trying his hand at scraping ice off their parked cars.

But at about the 1:50 mark, he was interrupted by an unaccompanied puppy running down the street towards the news crew.

The dog had a collar but there was no owner in sight.

Barnard stopped everything he was doing to pick the dog up off the freezing road to keep it safe. "Forget the people we talked to earlier, I want to get to know this dog," he told his fellow reporters back in the warm newsroom.

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Courtesy of CeraVe
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"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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