Johnny Manuel: From Teen R And B Star To AGT’s Soul Sensation

Johnny Manuel stole the show in 2017 with his empowering performance of Whitney Houston’s timeless soul ballad, “I Have Nothing” on the 12th series of America’s Got Talent. Johnny’s performance was a spellbinding feat of fire and finesse which set the audience ablaze with applause.

This America’s Got Talent appearance wasn’t Johnny Manuel’s first time in the spotlight. The Michigan-born singer had already made his professional debut 18 years before. When he was just 14 years old, Johnny signed a short-lived record contract with Warner Music Group as an R&B artist, opening for headline stars such as Jay-Z and Destiny’s Child, and touring with NSYNC. His debut single, “I Got You,” still lurks in the subterranean levels of YouTube’s algorithm.

Overall, Johnny Manuel’s debut album did not have the expected success, leading Warner to part ways with the budding star completely. Johnny took a significant step back from his music career to recover from the experience, which occurred right in the midst of his teenage years. However, by 2017, at the age of 32, Johnny made his bid to reclaim the spotlight – an iconic move packed with astonishing consequences.

Johnny’s AGT audition earned him four out of four “Yes” votes from judges Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Mel B and Howie Mandel, sending him to the next stage of the show. His audition alone has garnered 24 million views on YouTube, while his Judge Cuts performance earned him a Golden Buzzer from R&B legend, Seal. Johnny made it to the semi-finals but took a gamble performing an original track entitled “Blind Faith,” which did not fully showcase his stellar potential as a vocalist.

Johnny Manuel may have missed out on a spot in the final, but he secured a memorable place as an A-class talent and role model within the black LGBTQIA+ community. He later appeared in the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest as part of Bulgaria’s supergroup, EQUINOX, and in 2020, he was the runner-up in the 9th season of The Voice Australia. After releasing an EP in 2022 and an LP in 2023, Johnny Manuel’s heart-to-heart interview with Queerty revealed the genuine man behind the music; a guy who admires Diana Ross and seeks queer, black empowerment. From his first appearance on the stage of America’s Got Talent, Johnny consistently provided inspiration to the next generation of singers.

For more updates about Johnny Manuel and his music, follow him on his official Facebook page and his Instagram account. You can also watch more of his amazing performances on his YouTube channel. From his early beginnings as an R&B artist with Warner Music Group to his impressive rendition of Whitney Houston’s soul ballad “I Have Nothing” on America’s Got Talent, Johnny Manuel continues to dazzle the audience with his undeniable talent.

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