Kechi Okwuchi - Singer, Survivor and Courageous Hero

Kechi Okwuchi - Singer, Survivor and Courageous Hero

August 13, 2020 by Cathy Stack

Kechi Okwuchi is not only a gifted singing finalist on "America’s Got Talent," she is also a courageous survivor. Her story of overcoming adversity is truly inspiring. The singer nearly died when she was 16 years old in a plane crash that claimed the lives of 107 passengers in 2005. She was one of only two who miraculously survived.

When describing her journey to the AGT judges, Kechi recalled how she started singing in a children’s choir back in her homeland Nigeria.  Tragedy struck when traveling home for the holidays from her boarding school with 60 other classmates.  On flight, she was sitting next to her closest friend when they heard a large metal screeching sound.  Kechi tearfully recalled how she tightly grabbed her friend’s hand and locked eyes with instinctively knowing something was terrifyingly wrong.  It would be the last moment they shared.

When first responders located Kechi at the crash site she was in debris and her body 65 % covered in third degree burns.  She still had a pulse but her chances of survival were slim.  Throughout her painful recovery she endured hundreds of surgeries during which time music had become her saving grace.  “Lying in the hospital bed with bandages from head to foot, not being able to move or do anything else, music was my escape, and that’s why it means so much to me,” she passionately explained.

Kechi Okwuchi not only survived her harrowing ordeal, she thrived in its aftermath. The lengthy rehabilitation did not stop her incredible drive.  Once recovered, she went onto pursue her dreams.  Kechi said that she always had a dream in which she imagined herself singing in front of a large audience. Her dream became a reality when she competed on AGT’s Season 12 Finals providing her hope that something positive would unexpectedly arise from the tragedy.  Kechi sang a soulful, and powerful rendition of Ed Sheeran’s, “Thinking Out Loud” for her first performance which earned her resounding applause and a standing ovation. 

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Kechi continued with the talent show that season and week after week captivated the audience and judges with her breathtaking performances advancing all the way to the finals.  She returned to the show in 2019 to compete on AGT’s Champion Season sounding like an angel and looking like a goddess.  After her stunning performance which left the audience in awe, Judge Simon Cowell enthusiastically slapped down the “golden buzzer” sending her straight to the final.  “You want to know what a champion is, this is a champion!” Cowell said as he embraced Kechi.  PassItOn couldn’t agree more.  

Kechi Okwuchi perfectly demonstrates the value of courage and is the type of person that PassItOn celebrates.  She uses her powerful voice to share her dramatic story and inspire those facing adversity.  “What happened to me was horrible, but I refuse to let it define me.  Instead I draw strength from it,” she said in true fighting spirit.  Kechi’s strength and confidence shows us all how courage and the resilience of the human spirit can overcome adversity and transcend pain and hardships. We want to honor Kechi Okwuchi’s courage and hope you will share her inspiring story.  

Kechi's Golder Buzzer Triumphant Return

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