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  • Chris McMillan

Simon Cowell called her ‘amazing’ on America’s Got Talent

South China Morning Post

4th November 2033

Simon Cowell called her ‘amazing’ on America’s Got Talent: deaf singer Mandy Harvey on her upcoming Hong Kong show and inspiring others

When Mandy Harvey won the “golden buzzer” on America’s Got Talent in 2017, the famously hard-to-please Simon Cowell told her, “I’ve done this a long time. That was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen and heard,” as she was allowed to go straight through to the live final.

On November 5, Hong Kong will get to experience some of that magic.

Harvey is a singer/songwriter who cannot hear, and the strength and tenacity of the 35-year-old has inspired the lives of many.

She lost her hearing 16 years ago because of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), a connective tissue disorder. It was devastating news, especially for a 19-year-old who started singing when she was four and had never dreamed of doing anything other than pursuing a career in music.

The most difficult challenge was figuring out how to get on with everyday life, she says, in an interview with the Post.

“There is bound to be fear and anxiety when your world shifts so dramatically – like being afraid of the dark and not being able to hear people come up behind you when walking outside. I had to relearn how to feel secure and to feel OK, just being,” she says.

Doing anything music-related seemed implausible at first. Harvey tried to study early childhood education until her dad suggested that she try playing the guitar again.

“I didn’t want to in the beginning, but eventually agreed because my dad and I used to play guitar all the time and it was kind of our way of bonding. It was our way of communicating,” she says.

Playing the guitar after losing her hearing opened up a new world of experiencing music.

“I started to feel and pay attention to the vibrations on the strings that were on my fingertips, because there’s no sound or any other distractions. It was a reminder for me that just because I’m experiencing music in a different way, it doesn’t mean that music does not exist for me any more.”

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