A 29-year-old deaf singer has made it through to the final ten in the latest series of ‘America’s Got Talent’.
Following in the footsteps of Nyle DiMarco (who won ‘America’s Next Top Model’ in 2015), Mandy Harvey is flying the flag for global deaf talent on television screens across the world.
Watch her in action here:
Ms. Harvey was born in Ohio, and has inner ear issues that mean she relied on hearing aids and lip-reading, until her deafness became so profound the hearing aids no longer helped.
She had dreamt of becoming a choral director, and worried that this was no longer possible, until her father encouraged her to sing and she realised she was still able to accurately hit the notes.
In an article for npr.org, Ms, Harvey said; “I used to hate performing. [I had] such anxiety. I would throw up or blackout. It was horrible.”
However, losing her hearing had the positive effect of helping her overcome these nerves, and she has now performed at hundreds of concerts and will be releasing her fifth album later this year. She often performs without shoes, so that she can feel the vibrations of the music through her feet.
Ms. Harvey, who is also an avid supporter of Invisible Disabilities, sings so well that her level of deafness is sometimes called into question – something she finds extremely frustrating.
She is also keen that people judge her on her skills, and not her deafness.
“Not that I’m hiding my disability or whatever you would call it,” she told npr.org, “I don’t find it to be really a disability. It’s just I do things differently and I want people to appreciate music for what it is, and not because of a story. I’m not a story; I’m a person, and my passion is music. And I want your passion to be my music – so, judge me on my music.”
The Limping Chicken is the world's most popular Deaf blog, and is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.
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