How Kieran Rhodes went from self-taught Berkley student to getting a standing ovation on ‘America’s Got Talent’

music

His original song “Disengage” about his struggle with depression involving Simon Cowell.

Kieran Rhodes during her audition on America’s Got Talent. Trai Patton/NBC

Kieran Rhodes wowed celebrity judges on “America’s Got Talent” with a weak original song and a strong vision of success.

But Rhodes didn’t always want to be a musician.

His teenage dreams took the shape of slipping away at home as a Division 1 baseball player in college. That was until his freshman year of high school, when he made the sudden decision to pursue music.

“The music came out of nowhere and I taught myself to play and write. I suddenly had a desire to become a musician and my life completely took a right turn,” he said.

His vision was inspired by the love of Billy Joel, which he discussed in his audition. He even performed a part of “She’s Got a Way” by the singer before being cut and asked to perform his original.

“I’d just lay in bed at night and watch videos of him (Billy Joel) on YouTube … I would be like what I want to do. I’ll try to imitate them and learn things myself.”

After some time as an instrumentalist, Rhodes decided to try singing with the piano backing he was playing.

“I opened my mouth and I tried to sing and I realized I could… Which is another thing I am very grateful for. I didn’t know I had a voice,” he said.

When Rhodes applied to colleges that suit his musical aspirations, he applied to only one school – the Berklee College of Music in Greeley Tribune.

Became best friends and collaborators during their time at Berklee Rhodes, names skills they’d learned independently from different corners of the Internet, and recorded an entire EP in their dorm room when COVID-19 restrictions made it so. Left as the only place for. ,

One night, unbeknownst to Rhodes, an “America’s Got Talent” producer saw her perform, and she liked it.

“She reached out to me two weeks after the performance and said I blew her up and she needed to get me on the show. She said she immediately took me to her officers,” he said.

His audition included a Billy Joel cover and an original tune called “Disengage”.

The song tells the true story of Rhodes’s own struggle with depression. The audience wiped their eyes as he sang a powerful chorus of songs like “Someone’s Got to Help Me” and “It’s All Inside Your Head, Your Life Is Alright, Your Love Isn’t Dead”. , nodded his head in confirmation.

His tune also connected with celebrity judge Simon Cowell. Cowell said that when he started out in the music industry, he was bullied by other kids, and it stayed with him as he grew up, despite the success he had.

“It plays in your mind, you get depressed. But I didn’t have the talent that you have… I really hope this audition can change your life,” Cowell said.

Rhodes said that “Disengage” was the weakest and truest he had ever been with an original song.

Since her audition aired, Rhodes has been receiving “so, so many” messages from other people who have struggled with their mental health.

“It blows me away that everything I’ve written has been influential in someone’s life. I’m so glad this song can reach people who listen.”

He said the same thing on his Twitter account, posting an image of himself on America’s Got Talent stage at a very young age in his baseball uniform.

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