The world was first introduced to Kodi Taehyun Lee back in May this year. The blind and autistic singer impressed judges and audiences alike with his powerful vocals in the famous talent show, “America’s Got Talent”.
Fast forward to the present, the 22-year-old is now officially the winner of America’s Got Talent. His duet with the lovely songstress, Leona Lewis won him the coveted US$ 1 million contract. However, Kodi’s victory bears a greater significance beyond merely the cash prize earned – here’s why.
At just three months old, Kodi Lee was diagnosed with optic nerve hypoplasia. It is a visual disorder that makes him legally blind. When he turned four, he was diagnosed with autism.
Both the conditions have an effect on his hormones and the way he processes his emotions. While Kodi may be able to laugh spontaneously, he actually struggles to communicate when he is in pain or in danger.
Kodi was determined to pursue his passion for music against all odds. “I realised he’s an entertainer. Through music and performing, he was able to withstand living in this world because when you’re autistic, it’s really hard to do what everybody else does. It actually has saved his life playing music,” said his mother, Tina during the finals as reported in local dailies.
What is even more interesting is the fact that Kodi has extraordinary musical abilities. To be precise, he has an audio photographic memory which makes it easier for him to recall lyrics or a musical piece only after hearing it once. He is one of the 25 individuals in the world to have this rare talent (Fun fact: This California native is able to play more than six musical instruments!!). Apart from being musically inclined, Kodi is also a talented tap dancer.
As the first blind and autistic contestant and solo act to make it to the Top 5, Kodi has certainly come a long way since his days performing at local restaurants or international wineries.
Congratulations, Kodi. You are one of a kind and an inspiration to all!
Watch his breathtaking performance here:
* Featured image sourced from TV Insider