Home News Musician With Autism Wins “America’s Got Talent”

Musician With Autism Wins “America’s Got Talent”

by Carol Polovoy
written by
Kodi Lee, 2019 winner fo America's Got Talent

Kodi Lee, a 22-year-old singer and pianist who is blind and has autism spectrum disorder (ASD), won the 14th season of NBC’s reality talent competition show “America’s Got Talent.”

Lee, chosen as the winner of the Sept. 18 finale by viewer vote, is the first performer with a disability to win the competition. His performance during his initial audition earned him a “golden buzzer” from judge Gabrielle Union, automatically catapulting him to the finals.

Lee was diagnosed with optic nerve hypoplasia at 3 months old, and with ASD at 4 years. A musical savant, he has perfect pitch, a passion for all forms of music, and an audio photographic memory. He plays six instruments and is a talented tap dancer.

In his four “America’s Got Talent” performances, Lee played the piano while singing Leon Russell’s “A Song for You,” Paul Simon’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” Calum Scott’s “You Are the Reason,” and Freya Ridings’ “Lost Without You.”

According to his website, Lee, of Lake Elsinore, California, performs at a variety of local venues and was recently invited to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City. His musical repertoire includes rock, jazz, R&B, pop, and classical.

Carol Polovoy is managing editor of The ASHA Leader. 

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