Mandy Harvey on America's Got Talent

On Tuesday, my wife Ellen and I had the honor of joining Mandy Harvey in Los Angeles for her live performance in the America's Got Talent Semifinals! We flew out to support Mandy, and her performance blew away my highest expectations, earning her a spot in the finals. Famed grouch Simon Cowell even compared Mandy’s voice to Adele!

The Dolby Theater in Hollywood, CA for America's Got Talent Live Taping

With Mandy's family backstage

Feeling Mandy’s voice fill the arena, I was overcome with happiness for her, and couldn’t help but reflect on a time when her music helped me through a tough spot on my journey to kayak the Grand Canyon. As I sat on the shores of the canyon and struggled to define my relationship with the river, Mandy’s hit song “Try” played on my iPod.

Check out this short excerpt from my book No Barriers:

"As I listened to her high, angelic voice, I was astounded. It was impressive enough to sing standards and jazz classics you’d heard in a past life with working ears, but it was another world entirely to compose and perform music as a deaf musician. The irony was that they were songs she would never actually hear. It seemed preposterous, like a boat that purposely gives up its mooring, floating on an ocean with no rudder or anchor or any tools to navigate, yet it still expects to sail toward its destination. That bold act moved beyond logic, into the realm of faith, like giving in to the unknowable, like kayaking a river you would never see, or like plucking up a child, one speck of sand from an endless beach. No matter how hard you tried, you could never truly see the canyon unfolding before you or the impact you made within it. The journey was incomprehensible."

If you want to read the rest, check out my book here:…/…/125008878X

Thank you, Mandy, for continuing to live No Barriers. I am so proud of you.

Cheer for Mandy when she performs in the finals on September 19!

Mandy performing at our No Barriers Summit

Mandy conquering another barrier in her life: her fear of heights! Climbing at the Rock Gym in my hometown of Golden, CO