By Greg Olwell
“After I lost my hearing, I gave up,” said Mandy Harvey, as she stood in front of the judges of a popular television talent show to introduce her song “Try,” adding, “But I want to do more with my life than just give up.”
Harvey, a 29-year-old songwriter and ukulele player from Nashville, Tennessee, began singing at the age of four and gave an inspiring talk about her passion to be a singer in the face of her hearing loss. Through a genetic condition, she lost her hearing at the age of 18, and after a period of personal struggle, decided that it wasn’t going to get in the way of being a performer.
Using a sign-language interpreter to understand questions from America’s Got Talent judges Simon Cowell and Harvey Mandel, she told the judges and audience that by using muscle memory, visual tuners, and trusting her pitch, she can do something that many might think impossible: she sings.
Accompanied by a keyboardist and bassist, Harvey performs shoeless so she can feel the music’s tempo through the stage. In this performance, which earned her a standing ovation and a spot in later shows, Harvey plays her song “Try.”