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Hamden High School grad releases new song with Dolly Parton

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - NOVEMBER 05: Blessing Offor performs at the Basement East on November 05, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)
Jason Kempin
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FILE: Blessing Offor performs at the Basement East on November 05, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee.

A singer-songwriter who grew up in Hamden just released a new song with country music legend Dolly Parton. “Somebody’s Child” is described on Dolly Parton’s website as a “contemplation on compassion and humanity.”

Blessing Offor came to the U.S. from Nigeria when he was just six years old, seeking treatment for glaucoma. He moved in with his uncle in Hamden.

By the time Offor was 10 years old he had lost sight in both his eyes. Offor then threw himself into music, honing his skills as a singer, pianist and songwriter, according to a biography on his website. Hamden recognized his talent early on. The Hamden Arts Commission named him a “Gifted Young Artist” three years in a row.

Offor graduated from Hamden High School in 2007, and attended Belmont University in Nashville for a year. Offor eventually moved to Nashville full time to focus on his music career.

Offor first garnered national attention in 2014, when he wowed the judges on “The Voice” with his rendition of Bill Withers’ “Just the Two of Us.” Despite being a fan favorite, he was eventually eliminated from the show.

Since then, Blessing Offor has made a name for himself in the world of gospel music. Last year, he earned two Grammy nominations. Also in 2023, he earned two Dove Awards by the Gospel Music Association of the United States for his song “Brighter Days” and for the music video “The Goodness” with contemporary Christian musician and rapper TobyMac.

Earlier this year, Offor sent a rough cut of his latest single, “Somebody’s Child” to none other than Dolly Parton, who offered to sing with Offor on the single, and the music video. Parton said in a statement “I love the song ‘Somebody’s Child’ and I am very proud to be a part of it.”

"We’re all 'somebody’s child,’" said Offor in a statement "It’s such a simple concept, but I hope it’s the beginning of us all realizing that there’s always a point of empathy, there’s always common ground if we want to find it. And there’s no better embodiment of finding common ground, finding relatability, than Dolly Parton. I’m so honored and humbled to have her on this project."

“Somebody’s Child” is available on most music apps.

Ray Hardman is Connecticut Public’s Arts and Culture Reporter. He is the host of CPTV’s Emmy-nominated original series Where Art Thou? Listeners to Connecticut Public Radio may know Ray as the local voice of Morning Edition, and later of All Things Considered.

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