Freedom Singers Offer Moving Story and Audition on ‘America’s Got Talent’

The Freedom Singers offered an inspiring audition on America’s Got Talent.

Videos by American Songwriter

The eight-piece group represents Skid Row, a neighborhood in Los Angeles that contains one of the largest populations of people who are homeless in the U.S. “For us, freedom singing bring us close together,” one of the male members passionately said onstage. “It’s that medium that we’ve always used to come together as America.” All of the singers met as part of the arts and culture department at the Los Angeles Community Action Network.

One of the female members shared a story of how she and her mother were once houseless on Skid Row. It was an experience she calls “very traumatizing,” from being exposed to the elements to city officials confiscating their personal belongings. “I’m so blessed that I found the Los Angeles Community Action Network because they gave me a voice and an opportunity to rebuild myself,” she said to cheers from the crowd.

Her inspiring story launched into the Freedom Singers’ jaw-dropping rendition of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ hit “Under the Bridge,” a song about struggles with substance abuse. The group took the rock song and turned it into a gospel-esque piano ballad, with Micayla De Ette on lead vocals. The group’s stunning harmonies elevated the song’s message. The performance demonstrated the strong power of their voices that brought the audience to its feet in a rousing standing ovation.

“You have a powerful voice, powerful message. It was beautiful,” raved judge Heidi Klum.

After stating that houselessness is an issue around the world, judge Howie Mandel praised the group. “You have given it a voice and you have given us a purpose,” he said. “This was more than just a song, more than an audition, it was needed.”

Sofia Vergara later called the performance “amazing” and said that “this is what AGT is all about.”

“I thought the performance was brilliant,” Simon Cowell praised. “It was raw, it was real…This was a really special audition, I loved it.” Freedom Singers earned unanimous approval from the judges, advancing them to the next round.

Photo Credit: Casey Durkin/NBC

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