Editor’s Note: I (Thomas Exler) had the pleasure of meeting Kiersten Kelly at a fundraiser for Jamie’s Dream Team on March 23, 2013, and I was so impressed with her, not only the way she presented herself, but also in her vocal talent, so please sit back and enjoy this amazing story from an international YouTube sensation Kiersten Kelly.
This will be the first of two parts, the second part will be a video interview with Kiersten, and for Kiersten Kelly – An Angel’s voice overcoming adversity – Part 2 of 2 – The Interview – click here
It all started on February 16. 2013 when Keirsten Kelly www.keirstenkelly.com first posted this video below on Facebook and then on YouTube. As of today May 11. 2013 this video has been viewed well over 400,000+ times on Facebook and Youtube.
An Angel’s voice overcoming adversity – Part 1 of 2
by Kiersten Kelly
I was born without my right forearm. When my mom asked, the doctor said it could have happened because of three reasons: I was laying on my right side cutting off the circulation, there wasn’t enough fluid, or the umbilical cord was wrapped around my arm causing it not to fully develop. I had a prosthetic as a baby but my mom said I would always hit myself with it accidentally and would always pull it off. I worked better without it. I still don’t like prosthetics to this day.
Throughout kindergarten, elementary, and middle school I was bullied. The bullying was at its worst my freshman and sophomore year of high school. I got called a lot of names and got involved in a lot of arguments. I never let what those few people say get to me though. I refused to let them make me feel bad about myself. I also would get stares in public and some little kids pointing. I just dismissed the stares and I didn’t think much into the little kids pointing at me because I understood it was new to them. It wasn’t something they were used to seeing so I would and will always patiently answer any questions when asked.
I’m not going to lie, things get really difficult sometimes. I have trouble doing things that come so easily to others like tying a shoe or even zipping a jacket. Now I don’t have trouble all the time doing those things. I just have “off days” where it becomes a challenge. I always try to maintain a positive attitude. I remind myself all the time how lucky I am to have the amount of an arm I do because there are people who can’t even do some of the things I do due to the fact they don’t have past the elbow like me.
I’ve been singing since I was little. I can’t give you an exact age but I do remember starting to sing in choir in about third grade. I auditioned for a musical but didn’t get in and I did a talent show in 6th grade. I remember getting scared to sing alone at the last minute and having my friend come up and sing with me. It’s kind of crazy to think how much I’ve grown since then. In seventh grade I auditioned for Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School and ended up getting in. I started going there my 8th grade year and have been there since. It was the best decision I have ever made. I’m so glad I’ve gotten the opportunity to go to such an amazing school. I’ve grown and learned so much thanks to the outstanding faculty there.
I’ve done a lot of competitions and shows. I participated in Rocket to the Stars last year, which is the biggest singing competition in Western, PA. The first year I auditioned for the competition, I didn’t make it. I went to three auditions then. The following year I decided to go for it again. I audition three times until they finally accepted me into the competition. I made it all the way to the finals that year. I competed in Keanquest talent competition last year and also made it all the way to finals. I did it this year as well and ended up making it to finals again and I won the audience choice award. I’ve done shows through my school such as pop/jazz and R&B show which faculty from Berklee College of Music directed and I have also just recently been offered a scholarship to the Berklee five-week summer program. I’ve performed at weddings, benefits, and fairs, and memorial services for Bethany Hospice. I did a fair called the Bigknob fair this past summer and won the prize of $250. I competed in National America Miss pageant and won the talent portion, miss spirit, placed in the top fifteen, and got a spirit of America award. I’ve also done a few shows at local places such as Jergels in Warrendale, PA.
Whenever my Youtube video went viral, I was extremely surprised. I didn’t expect it to happen. I’m incredibly thankful and feel so blessed it did though. It has led me to many opportunities along with gaining a bigger fan base; it gave me a little peak of what my future could be like and how far I could go. Inspiring people, making music, and performing is all I’ve ever wanted to do and I honestly can’t picture myself doing anything else. I refuse to settle for anything else. I’m ready to make a difference. Along with making it into the music business, I’d love to be a motivational speaker and possibly get into acting. I think both would be such amazing jobs to have. I just want to make my mark in the world and be able to share my story. I want to live my dream of being a singer. I think I can make it. I truly do and I’m not going to give up until I get there, no matter how hard it’ll be.
© 2013 Kiersten Kelly
Additional Media Stories in since her breakout YouTube Video:
- Talented teen inspires with unique gift – WTAE-TV – Pittsburgh, PA – February 23, 2013
- Findlay teen’s version of ‘The Cup Song’ goes viral – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review – February 27, 2013
- Local teen singer goes viral – Beaver Valley Times – February 24, 2013
RADIO TALK SHOWS:
- Local Girl Becoming An Overnight YouTube Sensation – KDKA NewsRadio 1020 – February 28, 2013
- Podcast from the Robert Mangino Show – KDKA NewsRadio 1020 – February 28, 2013
- Rocket to the Stars Podcast with Kiersten Kelly – from Froggy Radio – February 23, 2013
KIERSTEN KELLY’S OTHER ORIGINAL YOUTUBE VIDEOS:
- Questions and Answers (Response video to questions being asked)