Homeless man with 'golden voice' lights up Web, gets job offers
Ted Williams is seen in this still from a Columbus Dispatch video posted on YouTube.
January 5th, 2011
12:08 PM ET

Homeless man with 'golden voice' lights up Web, gets job offers

He's now known on the Web as the man with the golden voice. But before that, he was known as a guy standing on the side of the road with a sign - just like many other homeless people.

The man with the golden voice, Ted Williams, is an internet sensation. And apparently, his fame may have landed him a pretty good gig: CNN affiliate WEWS reported that the Cleveland Cavaliers have offered Williams a job and a house.

Williams' story is the epitome of how dreams can come true in the internet age. And practically overnight.

His story was first reported in the Columbus Dispatch; a photographer drove up to Williams on the side of the road and videotaped him as he held a sign that said in part, "I have a God given gift of voice." The photographer wanted him to prove it to earn some cash, and boy, did Williams deliver. He rattled off, in a James Earl Jones-esque voice, what seemed like a perfect radio station tease.

YouTube: Watch full video

The story exploded from there. From all over the internet, including on the message board Reddit, people began tracking his whereabouts and trying to offer him jobs. That led to radio interviews and even an interview with CBS's "Early Show" today.

Oh, and did we mention that the video of him speaking for the Dispatch reporter has gotten (as we write this) more than 4.5 million hits in just two days? It's also the top viral video, according to ViralVideoChart.com, which tracks the rate of shares and clicks on videos.

Call him the radio-voice version of Susan Boyle.

Frumpy British singer Boyle "dreamed a dream" on a TV talent show and sold millions of records, proving that sometimes the most sensational voices come from the places you least expect. And then again, perhaps we jump to conclusions when we form impressions about people.

"Hand on heart, we didn't know what was coming at all," CNN's Piers Morgan, who was a judge on "Britain's Got Talent," recently said of Boyle."We were like 'Oh, my God, this is going to be a total train wreck.' We were all laughing and mocking.

"The moment she sang, you see our faces frozen into two kinds of horror," he added. "One, that we didn't recognize her talent, and two, that we now know there's going to be a YouTube clip for the rest of our lives of us mocking this amazing woman. ... So whenever I have someone coming on who is not your standard-looking pop star, I sit there resolutely, just in case."

Indeed, Morgan is applying that lesson with Williams, tweeting earlier, "Greatest unheard radio voice ever: http://bit.ly/hkeanN If you know this guy pls tell him to enter 'America's Got Talent'."

Now, Williams is experiencing a similar whirlwind tour.

Although he didn't have Boyle's TV platform, or a similar show that shot a Taiwanese boy to fame for singing like Whitney Houston, he did have the same power of the Web. Who knows how many people drove past Williams as he stood on the street, waiting for someone to recognize his talents, before he was taped and put on YouTube.

"Hopefully somebody from one of these television or radio stations will say, 'hey, I need a voice-over' or ' I need something,' " Williams said on "The Early Show."

And because of his internet rise to fame, now the dream that Williams has dreamed for so long for himself may also be coming true.

WEWS said that although they are still tightening up a deal, the Cavaliers offered him full-time voiceover work with the team and with Quicken Loans, the mortgage giant founded by Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, along with the mortgage for a house.

They may have lost the power of LeBron James in their building, but perhaps the Cavs have gained the power of a voice that may become a legend.

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Filed under: Ohio • Showbiz • Ted Williams
soundoff (421 Responses)
  1. guest

    Awesome story. Get tired of the sad ones.

    January 5, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. nordicmetalhead

    I cannot believe that someone left the gate open again and unleashed the trolls. We don't deserve this, but more importantly, Ted Williams doesn't deserve this (I pray he is not reading the blog replies). "Losers getting free money – just like the ones on welfare" – statements like that are, as I like to put it, pre-karmic. Hope you have a golden voice and a compassionate stranger to hear it, too!

    January 5, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mark Gunn

    I've been in radio for 33 years and it's stories like this that continue to make this a worthwhile career option. I am SO very proud of this business right now. I listened to Ted this morning and the people that stepped up to offer him a second chance made for some really compelling radio.

    Personally, I hope he takes the Cleveland gig. It sounds like it has the most upside with all of the other opportunities it has !

    May the Lord and Bless continue to bless those that stepped up on Ted William's behalf and those of you who send your Love and Light to him through your well wishes and positive comments about his story !

    This is TRULY part of the greatness of America !

    January 5, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. chris

    that's what obama will look like when he's done with this country!!!

    January 5, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Vince

    Ted Williams
    best of luck! your amazing!

    January 5, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Cameron

    How cool is this?!

    January 5, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dee

    Nothing like a feel good story. Don't let the negative comments spoil the sunshine. Ted deserves a chance because he's talented and needs a leg up. Good stuff CNN....keep it coming.

    January 5, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. SixThreeFoSho

    The best of luck to you, Ted! Great story. I hope you make it, bro.

    January 5, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jimmy

    That is very fortunate for him and I am happy for him. However, I am sure there are a lot of other homeless or unemployed who have a similar style voice or could do similar work. If that all it takes to get this country moving we need more youtube videos of people with talents and no money.

    January 5, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Chuck Gaffney

    Good work on rightfully crediting Reddit.com for adding spark to this story... but the comments were from youtube there CNN

    January 5, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. OLRTL


    January 5, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Goddog

    This is a beautiful story. He may have chosen to give up his career because of drugs and alcohol but he also chose to get clean. That's not so easy once you are so far down. As for the whole god thing, the theist started the argument. It was not written as a story of god's grace. Ther's no evidence that a god was involved and please stop praying for other's forgiveness as a way to make yourself sound superior, it only makes you look even more childish. When something good happens it's god, right? and when something bad happens it's free will, right? Well you can't have it both ways. To allow bad to happen when you have control is bad in and of itself, which means when bad happens, that's also god (not that he really exists).
    BTW the god of the old testament promised worldy goods. The god of the new testament (jesus) said that he was the way and that your rewards are in heaven, not on earth. Once again you can't have it both ways. So please don't ruin the beautiful story of humanity by interjecting a god that doesn't exist. If you can do that I promise I won't start asking people if they are a theist before I help them. There's no sense in me helping someone just to have someone else get the cridit is there? haha.

    January 5, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Death Panel Sarah

      Good explanation.....but you really don't think you can get through their brainwashing, do you?

      January 5, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • dallasguy

      After reading many of these comments I am amazed how many religious FREAKS there are out there. I am happy for this man. Sad that this great country has so many more homeless people who will never be able to climb out of that hole because this country lacks the heart and soul to help the down and out. People scream 'socialism' or the like when people receive help from the government. Many of you same people extolling the virtues of God saving this man are likely the same people who think that their tax dollars should not be spent on helping the down and outers, homeless, mentally ill etc...that's what's truly wrong with this country: everyone is too damn busy worrying about keeping their own piece of the pie instead of wanting a country and society where there is less suffering. Yes, I do believe you would call me a bleeding heart liberal. But that is what makes countries great countries: ones that have strong governments who look out for those who for whatever reason are unable to look out for themselves.

      January 5, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Death Panel Sarah

      To dalladguy.......1000% dude....great post!!!

      January 5, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. D

    It's all GOD...Stay Tune!!!

    January 5, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jami

    "He sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me— God sends forth his love and his faithfulness." Psalms 57:3 God's chosen people were not perfect, beginning with Abraham, Jacob, David, Peter, and even Judas Iscariot just to name a few... Before you say God didn't have anything to do with it or he is to busy to change a life of a human, think about this... God works in mysterious ways, such that our human minds, body's, and souls can't begin to imagine... "Therefore I will praise you, LORD, among the nations; I will sing the praises of your name." 2 Samuel 22:50

    January 5, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonathan

      So god was behind the crusades, the slave trade, the holocaust, and 9/11 too right?

      Just want to make sure we're staying consistent with our insanity.

      January 5, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wisdom4u2

      @ Jami

      I hear you!!!
      God is Good and only gives Good gifts!!!
      Mr. Williams recognized it was God who had gifted him, and he gave God the Glory!!

      Those who try to throw a wrench in this wonderful story just don't understand!!

      Deuteronomy 15:11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.

      And then Jesus backed that statement up with:

      Mark 14:7 The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.

      To the pretenders:
      If you know there are poor and homeless in your city, get off your tail and help them!!!
      Don’t try and pretend that you are concern, NO you’re not!!!
      You just wanted to add your bitter herb to this wonderful treat!!!

      January 5, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jami

      “There are those who rebel against the light, who do not know its ways or stay in its paths. When daylight is gone, the murderer rises up, kills the poor and needy, and in the night steals forth like a thief. The eye of the adulterer watches for dusk; he thinks, ‘No eye will see me,’ and he keeps his face concealed." Job 24:13-15

      And Jesus said it again in John 10:9-10 "I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

      Both verses show there are two forces at work in this World one of God and one not of him. We have Good and Evil. Each play a role in lives today the question is which one we allow to have control of our daily lives.

      January 6, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  15. lancon454

    Wow what a great story! I think that good things happen to good people from time to time. And I like the fact that he was open about his battle with drugs and that is what put him on the streets. I think that this guy is going places and I do not mean to another street corner.

    January 5, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
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