Quindon Tarver, who sang the solo on “Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good)” during the title characters’ wedding in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet and later appeared on American Idol, has died in a car crash. He was 38.
His uncle told the Dallas Morning Newsthat Tarver died April 1 in an accident on the President George Bush Turnpike.
Born on August 4, 1982 in Plano, Texas, Tarver started singing in church at age 4, appeared in the chorus in Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” video at 7 and was signed to Virgin Records at 12. Tarver was recording his first album when Luhrmann asked him to audition for Romeo + Juliet, the filmmaker’s postmodern 1996 take on the William Shakespeare classic.
The singer was part of the chorus in the wedding scene and delivered a haunting solo on “Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good),” a cover of Rozalla’s international dance hit. Luhrmann later sampled Tarver’s version for the filmmaker’s 1998 spoken-word single “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen).”
On Tuesday, Luhrmann posted to Instagram footage of Tarver’s audition for the role, along with the caption, “A beautiful soul has passed, my thoughts are with Quindon Tarver’s family and loved ones“:
Tarver also recorded a cover of Prince’s “When Doves Cry” for the film, which became a Top 5 hit for him in Australia (watch the video below). The song is featured on his lone album, 1996’s Quindon. Tarver went on a promo tour opening for Brandy and Monica.
He subsequently appeared in Seasons 2 and 7 of American Idol but failed to reach the later rounds.