Jackson State University student Deshawn Goncalves is a young man that is going places, and his first stop is Hollywood after wowing the judges in his audition for ‘American Idol’, which aired on ABC on Sunday.
His powerful performance moved the judges, leaving Lionel Richie feeling like a proud father and Katy Perry comparing him to an angel.
“It was magic. I mean you can still feel it, right now, in the air,” Perry said. “There’s a purity, there’s a light about you when you’re just singing. It’s like you’re an angel.”
His talent and beautiful voice, as impressive as they are, are not even to the most remarkable thing about 19-year-old Goncalves. His story is one of overcoming a seemingly overwhelming stack of odds against him since he was born.
Goncalves’ mother was just 13-years-old when he was born and his father was imprisoned for much of his childhood. Throughout these struggles, music was his sanctuary.
“Since my parents were so young, they didn’t really know how to be parents,” Goncalves said.
With the instability at home and an absent father, Goncalves says that he almost took a different path in life. His early education was filled with bad grades and getting into trouble.
When his father, Stepheon, was released from prison, he was determined to turn his life around. Stepheon’s example inspired and empowered his son to apply himself, and soon Goncalves behavior and his grades improved. He went on to graduate at the top of his class and earn a full scholarship to JSU.
Watch Goncalves’ inspiring story and powerful performance below: