LONGMONT, Colo. – A talented local musician dazzles audiences with her voice, but she cannot hear herself sing.
Music is really just a collection of sounds. Each note is as unique as a letter in the alphabet. When you string them together in just the right way, it makes a language all its own. A language Longmont native Mandy Harvey is fluent in.
“I love music because it’s in my DNA,” Harvey explained. “When I wake up the first thing I think about is music. When I go to sleep the last thing I think about is music. It’s just who I am.”
Harvey has sung all over the world. While her voice is soaring, the fact that she is a musician at all is nothing short of amazing.
Mandy has never heard the music that she performs.
“I’ve had hearing issues since I was born,” she said.
At 18 years old, everything went silent for Harvey. She was a freshman at Colorado State University.
“It was a loss of identity,” she said. “I wanted to become a vocal jazz professor. When that died everything just went dark.”
She quit music and dropped out of school because in a world without sound, you would think there is no place for music.
Harvey had to start learning American Sign Language, communicating without any sound at all.
“That was the moment when things just started turning,” Harvey explained.
She realized language is more than just words. It is what you feel, too.
Now Harvey uses a digital tuner to make sure she starts on key. She uses sight reading and muscle memory to do the rest.
She makes it look so easy that when she performs most people do not even know she is deaf.
“I want people to leave saying 'gosh that was good,”' Harvey said. “The music was good. Now oh, how sad, she can’t hear her own work.”
Instead, she said she focuses on the lyrics and the meanings of the words rather than hitting the right notes. Harvey uses the language of music to send a powerful message, that if a woman who cannot hear can sing like she does, then anything is possible.
Mandy Harvey has put out three full-length albums and she performs regularly in Denver. You can find out more about her at her website.