On America’s Got Talent tonight, a deaf singer named Mandy Harvey will take the stage as one of the top 10 finalists. Harvey was born with her hearing, but, at one point, she became legally deaf. She discovered that she could no longer hear while in a class at school. When this happened, she made the decision to back away from music. But, she couldn’t stay away and figured out how to still play guitar and sing well, though she could not hear. During her audition on AGT, she actually performed without wearing shoes in order to feel the vibrations of the music in the floor. In addition, she brought along an interpreter so that she could follow along with the judges. While talking to NPR about performing with no shoes on, she explained:
[It’s] so you can feel things better when you’re standing on the stage. You can feel the drums, and you can feel the bass. So, being able to feel the music through the floor, it makes me feel like I’m a part of the band and not just the only person in the room who doesn’t really understand what’s going on.
When Harvey first auditioned on the show, judge Simon Cowell couldn’t hit the golden buzzer fast enough, sending Harvey straight to the live shows as a reward.
So, what caused Harvey to go deaf? She was born with a deformity in her ears and she eventually had to rely on lip-reading, as well as hearing aids. Unfortunately, the hearing aids became useless as time went on. She dreamed of one day becoming a choral director, but put her dreams on hold when her hearing began to deteriorate. She revealed:
I didn’t wake up one day and just couldn’t hear. I woke up one day and realized I was having difficulty, and that I had overcompensated by lip reading, so that I didn’t really understand how bad it was.
Prior to losing her hearing, Harvey would suffer from stage fright, but today, she says her going deaf actually helped her to overcome her fear.
Going into the finals of AGT season 12, Harvey is up against a couple other singers. Angelica Hale is a 9-year-old singer, who has a powerhouse of a voice. There is also Kechi Okwuchi, who is burned over 65% of her body after surviving a commercial plane crash. Chase Goehring is another singer and songwriter on the show. And finally, there is Evie Clair, the 13-year-old singer who recently lost her father to colon cancer.
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