JD McCrary

Jaydon McCrary[1] (born July 18, 2007) is an American singer, dancer and actor. He is currently starring in The Paynes as Kenny Payne on the Oprah Winfrey Network. He starred in 2019's The Lion King as the voice of young Simba.[2] He is signed to Hollywood Records and released his first extended play Shine, in April 2019. He is also appeared in the song "Keep In Touch" on Just Dance 2020.

JD McCrary
Jaydon McCrary

July 18, 2007 (age 12)
OccupationSinger, dancer, actor
Years active2014–present


McCrary began his acting career in 2015 at age 8 on K.C. Undercover, where he appeared on two episodes.[3] In December 2016, he made a guest appearance on Childish Gambino's song "Terrified".[4] He then had live performances on Little Big Shots singing The Jackson 5's "I Want You Back",[5] The Ellen Show singing "Who's Lovin' You",[6] and the 60th Annual Grammy Awards to support Childish Gambino's "Terrified".[7] In December 2017, he sang the national anthem before a Los Angeles Clippers game after a viral singing display a few weeks prior.[8] In 2017, he later appeared on I'm Dying Up Here and Teachers as minor roles.

On January 14, 2018 he released his first official called single "Inviting All of You".[9] On August 13, 2018, it was announced that JD McCrary became the youngest artist to sign with Disney Music Group's Hollywood Records, as he released the music video to his second single "My Name" on August 28.[10][11] On January 24, 2019, he released the first single after signing to the label called "Keep in Touch."[12] He stars in The Paynes on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

In 2019, McCrary co-starred in the Universal comedy film Little, and provided the voice of young Simba in the live action remake of the Disney film The Lion King.[13][14][15] McCrary said that "Donald Glover [who voices adult Simba] is so talented that [I] actually did have to take it into consideration, because if Simba is going to grow up to be some sort of figure and you know of it, you have to keep that motive."[16] Also that year, McCrary also portrays a young Michael Jackson in the BET series American Soul, which premiered in February. On April 19, McCrary released his debut EP, Shine, which includes production from Jermaine Dupri and Bryan-Michael Cox.[17]


In an interview with Vibe, McCrary cited Michael Jackson as his biggest influence, as well as Stevie Wonder, Bruno Mars, Justin Bieber, and Chris Brown.[18]


Extended playsEdit

Title EP details


Title Year
"Inviting All of You" 2018
"My Name"
"Keep in Touch" 2019
"Where Do I Belong"
"Closer to Christmas"

Guest appearancesEdit

List of guest appearances, with other performing artists, showing year released and album name
Title Other artist(s) Year Album
"Terrified" Childish Gambino 2016 "Awaken, My Love!"
"Cautionary Tales" Jon Bellion 2018 Glory Sound Prep
"This Neverland" G Tom Mac A Lost Boys Story: The Musical (Original Score)
"I Just Can't Wait to Be King" Shahadi Wright Joseph, John Oliver 2019 The Lion King: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
"Hakuna Matata" Billy Eichner, Seth Rogen, Donald Glover



Year Title Role Notes
2019 Little Isaac
The Lion King Young Simba (voice)


Year Title Role Notes
2015 Blunt Talk Singing kid Episode: "A Beaver That's Lost Its Mind"
2015–16 K.C. Undercover Young Ernie Cooper 2 episodes
2017 Teachers Ayo Episode: "Brokebitch Mountain"
Little Big Shots Himself Episode: "Memory Lane"
I'm Dying Up Here Adam’s brother Episode: "The Unbelievable Power of Believing"
2018–present The Paynes Kenny Payne
2019 American Soul Young Michael Jackson Episode: "68 BC"


  1. ^ "JD McCrary". IMDb.
  2. ^ George, Rachel (January 29, 2018). "5 Things to Know About JD McCrary, Childish Gambino's Young Grammys Co-Star". Billboard. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  3. ^ Canter, Brian (November 2, 2016). "First Look: "KC Undercover" Returns With "Undercover Mother," "Trust No One Episodes". Headline Planet. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  4. ^ Starling, Lankan (December 6, 2016). "JD McCrary Is The Precocious 9 Year-Old Singing on Childish Gambino's "Terrified"". The Fader. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  5. ^ Cheatle, Juliet (May 14, 2017). "JD McCrary: Who is child singing sensation from Little Big Shots?". Monsters and Critics. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  6. ^ Reddy, Subba (January 15, 2018). "Kid Singer JD McCrary Wows with 'Who's Loving You' Performance The Ellen Show". Whatever Life. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  7. ^ Nyren, Eric (January 28, 2018). "Donald Glover Sang With the Voice of 'The Lion King's' Young Simba at the Grammys". Variety. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  8. ^ Keaney, Quinn. "The Actor Playing Young Simba in The Lion King Reboot Blew NBA Fans Away With His Voice". Pop Sugar.
  9. ^ "Inviting All of You - Single". iTunes.
  10. ^ "Jd Mccrary, Youngest Solo Artist To Sign With Hollywood Records Releases 'My Name' Video". Broadway World.
  11. ^ "THE LION KING'S JD McCrary Signs to Hollywood Records". Broadway World. Retrieved November 27, 2018.
  13. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (January 30, 2017). "OWN Picks Up 'House of Payne' Spinoff From Tyler Perry". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  14. ^ Galuppo, Mia. "'Lion King' Actor JD McCrary Joins Marsai Martin in 'Little' (Exclusive)". Hollywood Reporter.
  15. ^ Davis, Justin (December 8, 2017). "The 10-Year-Old Playing Simba Alongside Donald Glover Has A Cooler Life Than You". Complex. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  16. ^ "What To Expect From The Characters In The Upcoming 'The Lion King' Adaptation - Entertainment Weekly". Entertainment Weekly/YouTube. April 25, 2019. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  17. ^ "Shine - EP by JD McCrary". iTunes. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  18. ^ Jefferson, J'na (November 28, 2017). "Interview: JD McCrary Talks 'The Lion King,' Working With Donald Glover". Vibe. Retrieved March 22, 2018.

External linksEdit