For her performance, Harvey sang and played ukulele on an original song called “Try.” Her voice is lovely and the songwriting is emotional and heartfelt. Here’s the real kicker though: Mandy Harvey is deaf.
“I lost all my hearing when I was 18 years old,” she said, describing her connective tissue disorder. “So basically I got sick, and my nerves deteriorated.”
She began singing when she was just four years old, so relearning to sing without the use of her ears was a process. The now 29-year-old said she tried to trust her muscle memory and use visual tuners to confirm her pitch was spot on.
For her America’s Got Talent audition, Harvey came onstage with a translator. She also went shoeless so she could feel the tempo through vibrations in the floor. “Try,” she explained, is a song she wrote after she lost her hearing. “I gave up,” she said, “but I want to do more with my life than just give up.”
Really, though, her performance speaks for itself. Watch it here:
Even notoriously harsh judge Simon Cowell joined in the applause that followed. “Mandy,” he said, “I don’t think you’re going to need a translator for this.” He then pushed the Golden Buzzer, which sends her straight through to the live rounds.
After that, he congratulated her onstage, adding, “I mean, I’ve done this a long time, and this is one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen or heard.”
The next episode of America’s Got Talent airs on June 13, 2017.