12 Jul

Mandy Harvey, Deaf Singer, Finds an Audience. And Leaves It Weeping.

Mandy Harvey, Deaf Singer, Finds an Audience. And Leaves It Weeping.

Mandy Harvey: Deaf Singer Earns Simon’s Golden Buzzer With Original Song – America’s Got Talent 2017 Video by America’s Got Talent

A video of a deaf woman belting out crystalline notes on “America’s Got Talent” picked up steam online last month as viewers celebrated it as both heartwarming and a remarkable demonstration of what a singer can accomplish without full hearing.

In the clip  Mandy Harvey, a contestant, spoke through a sign-language interpreter to one of the show’s judges, Simon Cowell, and described becoming deaf in her late teens because of complications from a health issue.

“After I lost my hearing, I gave up,” she said. “But I want to do more with my life than just give up.” She explained that after a period of not performing, she learned how to sing again by using tools such as “visual tuners”, and added that she performs without wearing shoes so she can feel a song’s beat through floor vibrations.

She then broke into a song that she wrote, “Try.” The judges and some audience members appeared visibly shocked by her lucid notes; some could be seen wiping away tears. At the end of the clip, Mr. Cowell hit a golden buzzer, sending Ms. Harvey to the show’s next round. Music swelled as Mr. Cowell, known for his grumpy demeanor, joined Ms. Harvey onstage to tell her that her performance “was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen and heard.”

The clip gained traction online after it aired, and was trending on YouTube on Thursday, where commenters showered Ms. Harvey with accolades. On Twitter, some users predicted her as the winner of the show. Celebrities including Tyra Banks chimed in:

Hey @MandyHarvey! You’ve got the world talking, and believing that yes, you can do anything! See you at the live shows, lady!

Though the show may well make Ms. Harvey famous, it isn’t the first outlet to discover her talent. NBC Nightly News profiled the singer, who has released several albums, in 2015, as did the BBC, this spring. And she has performed in prestigious venues including the Kennedy Center.

“I sing to encourage other people; that’s what makes me happy,” she told the BBC in its feature on her. “My passion, the whole reason why I sing, is so that I can say, ‘Hey, this is what I’ve done; I really hope that I can encourage you to do the same.’”


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