You’re going to want to tune in to NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” this season to cheer on Longmont’s talented jazz singer Mandy Harvey — who also just so happens to be deaf.
Longmont, Colorado, native Mandy Harvey, 29, had experienced a connective tissue disorder and resulting hearing issues all her life, but nothing could prepare her for going completely deaf at the age of 18. A student at Colorado State University at the time, Harvey was studying vocal music education with the intention of becoming a vocal jazz professor. After she lost her hearing, however, she dropped out of college and attempted to pursue several different careers over the next year.
Unable to deny her talent as a jazz singer, however, Harvey eventually returned to the music scene. With the support of her father and former voice teacher, she learned what it would take to keep singing, without being able to hear a thing. She learned how to feel the tempo of a song through the vibrations on the piano and to use a digital tuner to ensure she started on the right pitch. From there, it was up to muscle memory and sight reading to make sure she stayed on key.
Nine years later, Harvey has released several albums and performs at venues across the country with a sweet, lilting style and tone that you’d never guess comes from a deaf person.
She doesn’t want to be pitied, however, and does not like to be thought of as “the deaf jazz singer.” She’d rather be known as “the jazz singer who happens to be deaf.”
Most people find this hard to believe, but I don’t perform for myself, because I can’t hear it,” she told Fort Collins non-profit No Barriers in 2015. “But when I discovered that I could sing again, I latched onto it as hard as I could, because it was a way of getting back some of my identity, because I had lost it. … And while I will never be able to enjoy music the way I did before, I want to hold on to what I do still have, so much that I’ve made it my passion and I’m not letting music go.”
Harvey will appear and compete on the 12th season of “America’s Got Talent,” which premiered Tuesday, May 30. She did not appear on the May 30 episode, and she doesn’t know (or can’t share, anyway!) which episode she’ll be featured on, so we’ll just have to keep watching every week to see what happens!
In the meantime, Harvey continues to be an inspiration to everyone around her. She serves as an ambassador for No Barriers USA and the Invisible Disabilities Association and has been a motivational speaker, in addition to continuing as a thriving performer and songwriter.
Listen to some of her beautiful singing here:
New episodes of “America’s Got Talent” air on Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. (MST). Last summer, the popular show clinched the coveted the No.1 summer show ranking, averaging 13.5 million viewers each week.
With the search open to acts of all ages and talents, ‘America’s Got Talent’ has brought the variety format back to the forefront of American culture by showcasing unique performers from across the country. The series is a true celebration of creativity and talent, featuring a colorful array of singers, dancers, comedians, contortionists, impressionists, jugglers, magicians, ventriloquists, and hopeful stars, all vying to win America’s hearts and the $1 million prize,” the show’s website states.
We are so proud that Mandy Harvey is representing Colorado on “America’s Got Talent”! We can’t wait to cheer her on. Will you be watching? Tell us in the comments below!
All images courtesy of Mandy Harvey’s Facebook page.