The musical savant has been performing from a very young age in California and the world just fell in love with his talent on the show.
After months of great performances, the people have chosen their favorite one among America's Got Talent Season 14 and it's none other than Kodi Lee, a blind and autistic 22-year-old singer, who wowed the judges right from the start. In the season premiere, he had received a golden buzzer from the new judge on the show Gabrielle Union, sending him straight to the Hollywood live show.
The California resident won over fellow finalists opera singer Emanne Beasha, violinist Tyler Butler-Figueroa, dance troupe Light Balance Kids, singer Benicio Bryant, and Ndlovu Youth Choir. He also won $1 million and would be headlining shows from November 7 to 10 at Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, reported PEOPLE. The young singer's mother was on stage with him when he won. She has previously shared his inspiring story which brought people to tears.
He first captivated people's heart with his rendition of Donny Hathaway’s A Song for You. His performance was so good that he received a standing ovation from the judges, Simon Cowell, Julianne Hough, Gabrielle Union, and Howie Mandel, and the golden buzzer. Since then, his captivating voice made him one of the favorites. And it's not just his talent but his personal journey to get to the large national stage that has touched people's lives.
The California resident was born with optic nerve hypoplasia and diagnosed with autism at age 4, which is why his mother Tina Lee accompanied him on stage during the competition. It also makes it difficult for him to read other people's emotions. His mother said that music is how he communicates and this love affair with music began at a very young age.
“He can hear a song and play it right away on the piano and sing it,” she said. “With the lyrics, sometimes he has to go over it more, but the music is there. It’s amazing," said Tina to San Diego Union-Tribune. “We found out that he loved music really early on. He listened and his eyes just went huge, and he started singing, that’s when I was in tears,” Tina told PEOPLE. “I realized 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.”
From how she talks about him, his mother comes across as his number one fan. Though, after his America's Got Talent performances, his fans range in millions now. His talent coupled with his inspiring journey could make him a star among one of the greats one day. Fortunately, Gabrielle Union too saw his talent and wanted him to have the right platform for it.
“He’s making people believe in something they didn’t even know is attainable. He’s magic,” Union previously told PEOPLE of Lee previously. She also opened up how she cried from their first steps on stage. As a mother, she related to Tina's journey as well and believed in letting children dream, and supporting them through it. Exactly what Lee's mother has done. This victory doesn't just belong to him, it is as much his mother's triumph.
"I feel relieved I’m not the only one who’s seen this extraordinary ability. He’s got a real talent, and I’ve always known he’s this real talent,” mom Tina recently told PEOPLE.