America’s Got Talent has always been a mixed bag of stunning performances and epic embarrassments. Most of the singers on the show have come on and performed a cover of another artist’s song. When you find a singer-songwriter playing instruments and singing their own material, it seems special. This, though, takes that to a new level.
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On Tuesday of this week, Mandy Harvey took the stage on America’s Got Talent. Harvey, who hails from Florida, came on stage with a sign language translator named Sarah. Even though Harvey is a singer, she’s deaf.
“I lost all my hearing when I was 18 years old.” She had an illness that destroyed the connective tissue in her ears and she lost all of her hearing. “So basically I got sick, and my nerves deteriorated.”
She’s now 29. She’s developed a way of singing that relies on “muscle memory, using visual tuners and trusting my pitch.” She feels the beat through the floor, and relies on electronic input, but it works for her.
And she’s now writing her own material. The song she performed on the show, “Try,” is a personal reminder to herself not to give up. “After I lost my hearing, I gave up, but I want to do more with my life than just give up,” she said.
And the song was good. Not good-for-a-deaf-woman good, but really good. Singer-songwriters everywhere are jealous. And those clowns that perform other people’s work are hiding their faces.
Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Melanie “Mel B” Brown and Howie Mandel all gave her a standing ovation.
“Mandy, I don’t think you’re going to need a translator for this,” Cowell said as he pressed his buzzer to send her to the next level.
“I mean, I’ve done this a long time, and this is one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen or heard.”
High praise, indeed.