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Deaf singer wows judges at America's Got Talent

Mandy Harvey who lost her hearing at 18 delivers stunning performance at US show

Friday 9 June
Deaf singer wows judges at America's Got Talent

Editor - June 09 at 07:00

A deaf singer who hasn't been able to hear music—or the crowds clapping for her—for a decade wowed the judges and the audience on Tuesday night's episode of America's Got Talent. Mandy Harvey, 29, was just 18 years old when she lost her hearing due to a connective tissue disorder that affected her nerves.
The singer, who was studying as a Vocal Music Education major at Colorado State University, USA, at the time, dropped out of the program and grieved for a year, certain that she would never be able to sing again. When her father asked her to learn a new song in 2008, Mandy thought the idea was absurd, but it ended up showing her that she was still very much able to sing. Since then, Mandy has released four albums, built a career as a jazz singer, and performed at the Kennedy Centre. Her path came to a new height on Tuesday night, when viewers across the United States were treated to a stunning rendition of one of her own songs, Try.
Mandy, who now lives in St Cloud, Florida, interacted with the judges with the help of a sign language interpreter. She explained how she lost her hearing, and told them how she taught herself to sing again using muscle memory and visual tuners. In order to feel the tempo of the music, the singer had removed her shoes, so that her feet could feel the ground. When Simon Cowell asked what her song Try is about, Mandy explained it reflects her state of mind when she decided to start singing again after becoming deaf. 'After I lost my hearing, I gave up, but I want to do more with my life than just give up,' she said. As soon as she began singing, it became apparent that Mandy has not only retained the ability to sing in key—she has also kept her amazing voice and mesmerizing onstage presence. Judges Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel, Mel B and Simon beamed through the performance.
When it was over, the crowd and all four judges got up to give Mandy a rousing standing ovation. Some of them, including Howie, used sign language to signify clapping. Simon, who has earned a reputation as one of the harshest judges, awarded Mandy the highest honor of the show. 'I don't think you're going to need a translator for this,' he said before pressing the golden buzzer, sending Mandy straight to the live segments. Mandy's father was visibly moved as confetti rained onstage, and he joined his daughter to give her a hug. Simon did the same along with Mandy's interpreter, telling the singer: 'That was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen or heard.' The singer wiped tears of joy as she left the stage. She will be back for the semi-finals of the talent show. Tuesday night's success shows how far Mandy has come since the despair-filled times that followed the day she realized she had become deaf. There had been warning signs, as her hearing had started declining. The crushing realization that it was completely gone came at school, as she waited for her professor to start a dictation. Mandy kept waiting, thinking he would begin soon, until she realized the professor had in fact already finished. 'That was the day the music was done,' she told the LA Times in a previous interview.
After dropping out of school and giving herself time to bounce back, Mandy started singing again in 2008 and found out she could still hit most notes. She started performing solo, and her career has since blossomed. Now, Mandy doesn't typically tell her audience that she is deaf, and strives to be seen as 'just a singer'. 'I don't see myself as the deaf jazz singer,' she once told NBC News. I have certain hurdles, and I am overcoming them.'
Source:Mail online


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