Stephanie Rainey Dedicates Haunting AGT Performance Of “Please Don’t Go” To Lost Nephew

Stephanie Rainey’s emotional audition on America’s Got Talent is destined to go down in history, with Howie Mandel calling her tear-jerking performance of a pop original “one of the most relatable, emotional moments” of Season 19 so far.

It’s always a risk performing a self-written song in front of the judges, but Stephanie Rainey (aged 36) introduced her piece, “Please Don’t Go,” with class, drawing the judges into her story before her track had even begun.

“We made it in a tiny room and put it up one Monday morning and by the end of the day it had a million views.” Simon Cowell, who’s built an empire spotting hit songs and bringing them to the big-time, was completely taken aback: a genuine “What? Wow!” was muttered into the mic, before Stephanie explained how she’d been signed to a record label for two years after the track’s release, and how her hard journey through the music industry led her to the AGT stage.

But it was the story behind this Irish singer-songwriter’s original track that really touched the audience. “Please Don’t Go” was inspired by the tragic loss of Stephanie’s nephew, Fionn, who died of meningitis on the day before his first birthday. She unraveled to the judges, “Honestly, I was about to give up music, so I was like ‘I wanna make something for me that I believe in.’ So this song means more to me than I can actually even describe.”

Joined by best friend and pianist, Sarah Power, Stephanie’s ballad resounded with the same powerful, emotional grace as A Great Big World’s 2014 hit, “Say Something (I’m Giving Up On You)” — its sparse, haunting harmony letting Stephanie’s lyrics plow deep into the audience, their beauty and rawness moving judge Sofia Vergara to tears.

Another genuine “Wow” passed Simon’s lips as Stephanie’s last line fell silent and, after a round of A-star critiques from the judges, Simon admitted: “Of all the new songs I’ve heard this year, this is the best by a mile. Even though it’s about something really sad, it’s real and your voice is beautiful. A lot of people are going to resonate with that song, and you. I absolutely loved it.”

Stephanie left the stage with four out of four Yes votes from the judges, sending her straight through to the next stage of the show.

First released in the summer of 2015, the official music video for “Please Don’t Go” has already racked up over 2M views on YouTube, while Stephanie’s stunning audition has amassed over 600k views in just one day! Stephanie’s YouTube channel hosts a plethora of singles, from the debut hit featured on AGT, to titles including “Woman” and “100 Like Me” alongside cover singles: “Mad World,” “Man In The Mirror” and “Last Christmas.”

If you would like to hear more from this talented artist, you can subscribe to her YouTube Channel, follow her on Facebook, check her out on Instagram, or visit her Website for more incredible music.

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