Positive Celebrity Exclusive: Joseph O’Brien talks about AGT, music and his childhood!
America’s Got Talent has raised the bar to a new level for talent since cuts. The heat is on and talent have been working their hardest to show their skills to the judges and to the world. But, regardless of the challenges they’ve each faced, it’s been a positive journey on the show for all acts.
In the end, every participant would like to win, but whatever the outcome, the experiences along the way are priceless.
Joseph O’Brien’s audition was packed with personality. He chose to take on Lionel Richie’s “Hello,” while playing the piano. He mentioned being nervous, but we think he did a fantastic job. Hello is a classic. It’s a difficult song to take on, and even more so when you’re focused on drawing the audience into the performance as a whole.
O’Brien nailed it.
The judges–Howie Mandel, Mel B, Heidi Klum, and Simon Cowell–all voted “yes,” sending him to the Judge Cuts.
During his second audition, O’Brien told us he had more confidence in his abilities. He even joked about being “single and ready to mingle,” which made the audience laugh. His ability to connect with others is just one of his many incredible qualities.
O’Brien took on Speedwagon’s “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” while playing the piano, for his second performance. The judges stopped him because they didn’t feel it was the right choice. Joseph went on to do an original. That performance was strong enough to push him into the Quarterfinals.
Joseph O’Brien’s original is called “The Average.” He performed it with such powerful emotion and passion.
Regardless of his anxiety in front of the large crowds, he’s pulled of excellent performances and made it look easy.
We recently had the opportunity to talk with Joseph O’Brien. We learned a lot more about his journey on America’s Got Talent. He shared a few reasons why he chose to audition for AGT.
“I decided to audition for AGT for a couple reasons. I grew up watching clips of AGT on YouTube and dreamed of the day that I would be standing on the X talking to judges like Simon, Heidi, etc., and answering questions! Also, my goal is to do full-time music, so I saw AGT as a sort of platform to push me closer to that goal. AGT seemed to be the best place to showcase original content, vocal ability, and instrumental performance simultaneously!”
Joseph O’Brien’s voice is incredible. We told him so. He shared with us about his musical family.
“Haha! Thank you, first of all! I grew up in a musical family, so we all sang. The idea of becoming a full-time musician didn’t occur to me until about my high school year. People began to really affirm my songwriting ability and musical gifts, which pushed me to keep crafting and stewarding. The funny thing is that I don’t like to hear myself sing, a lot of the time. I can recognize being on pitch, but sometimes I just don’t like listening to myself. It weirds me out. So when people say I have an incredible voice, I always chuckle because I can’t hear it myself.”
That’s so relatable. There are so many people who don’t like to hear their voice, but when you’re surrounded by positive people, who push you to be the best version of yourself, you can reach your dreams and goals so much easier. And his voice deserves to be heard.
Could you imagine performing for such a large audience?! We wanted to know how Joseph felt before and after his audition.
“At the time, I was scared. Scared to see how everyone would react to my audition. I was dealing with some major anxiety during the day my audition would air. Thankfully, people seemed to really relate to me and my story, and they also seemed to enjoy the performance! It’s super encouraging whenever I get comments and messages of real affirmation, and even messages that tell me I should be more confident.”
Could you guys imagine performing in front of a large audience?! It’s, no doubt, an absolutely nerve-wracking experience. But, it’s a fun and irreplaceable experience, due to the personal growth and boosting of confidence that takes place throughout the journey. Joseph O’Brien shared a little insight into the benefits of being on America’s Got Talent.
“I think being on AGT has helped me with my confidence, and dealing with anxiety. I’m a perfectionist. And if you ask any friend I’ve ever had, they’ll tell you that after every performance in the past, I’ve beaten myself up about it hardcore. I want every note to be pitch perfect and I want there to be no mistakes. If I make mistakes, I dwell on those after the performance, rather than the positives. I’ve slowly learned that there is no such thing as a perfect performance, and there is always room to improve. I’ve learned that taking risks in a performance is important. Sometimes, I like to stay in a really nice vocal range, where I don’t have to go for anything. But in order to reach a new level of performing, you have to reach for those notes you hit in private, and make them public, even though you know it takes great skill, concentration, and confidence.”
Truth! O’Brien had some advice for those thinking about auditioning for AGT!
“I would say this… and it may surprise some or may not. Go, and see what happens. I went to Nashville for my open city audition, and that was a hard city to choose. I auditioned with probably 10,000 other people that day, and maybe half were musicians… IN NASHVILLE!!! They were all trying to make a break and get onto the show, and little ol’ Joseph, from Columbia, TN ended up getting his shot. I didn’t even think anything would come from my audition. And that’s what everyone’s mentality should be, I think, cause then you’ll be very pleasantly surprised if something does happen. Go and meet people, go and take in the experience of everything, and go have a good time! It really is a different world, and you can meet some great people. So, don’t go to an AGT audition thinking your whole career is on the line. Go and just see what happens!”
Perfectly said! Get up and make your dreams come true!
Joseph O’Brien has an incredible voice and heart. He talked a little about his favorite charity.
“My favorite charity is Compassion International. I’ve seen my dad work with them, and he has nothing but high praise to give them. He studied them and their program for quite some time, making sure that they did whatever they said they were doing. And he couldn’t find anything shady or problematic. I would love to work with them at some point.”
Compassion International is all about helping children. Their official website talks about helping children in poverty.
“Compassion International is a child-advocacy ministry that pairs compassionate people with those who are suffering from poverty. The ministry releases children from spiritual, economic, social, and physical poverty. The goal is for each child to become a responsible and fulfilled adult.
Compassion International’s work has grown from modest beginnings in South Korea in 1952, when American evangelist, Rev. Everett Swanson, felt compelled to help 35 children orphaned by the Korean conflict. Today, it is a worldwide ministry, where millions of children are now reaping the benefits of one man’s clear, God-given vision.”
There is a lot of incredible talent on America’s Got Talent, right now. There’s such a variety of performances, we were curious as to which acts Joseph enjoyed the most.
“Wow. That is incredibly tough. There is some incredible talent for sure. I’m honored to be a part of this season of AGT cause there is so much good talent. I’ve been thoroughly impressed by We Three. They caused me to tear up in their first audition. They have good songwriting skills and powerful arrangements when it comes to production. I enjoyed both Shin Lim’s and Rob Lake’s acts. I’m a huge magic nerd, so I appreciate both of their acts. UDI really got a hold of me during the second round. I’ve loved every singing golden buzzer… they are all incredible. But yeah… SO MUCH GOODNESS in this season!”
We were curious what O’Brien would be up to if he weren’t on AGT right now.
“I’d probably be at college, doing massive loads of homework, while on the weekends yelling at kids to get off the top of the monkey bars at the trampoline park. So yeah. I’m in a good spot right now. Haha!”
We asked if funny things happen to him. He shared an experience with his brother that really shows his amazing personality.
“Hm… I really don’t know. Funny things happen in my life all the time. Today I was filming a commercial with my brother for our old high school, and I had to pretend like I was talking to my little brother for an interview, and I couldn’t keep a straight face. Neither could he. We both just died laughing for some reason and had to start over so many times. Small, funny moments are the things my little brother and I will remember forever.”
Don’t you think Joseph O’Brien sounds like an incredibly fun of a person to hang out with?!
Next to having a funny personality, Joseph O’Brien also has a deep side and shared what life means to him and what brings him the most satisfaction.
“Whoa! Deep question. Life is most meaningful when you don’t live for the glory of yourself. The greatest purpose in life is to live for something higher. We’re all short breaths in time, so living for something that has eternal value is of the uttermost significance. As the Westminster Catechism states, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” That’s what I’ve held on to ever since I was a kid.”
That’s inspirational and thought-provoking. I agree that “living for something that has eternal value” is very important in life.
O’Brien then shared a little about his favorite childhood memory, movies, and his favorite food!
“Playing tennis with my brothers was always so fun. Sometimes we would go to the park and play ‘King of the Court’ for 4 to 5 hours in the heat of summer. Sports in general, with my brothers, were always my most fond memories.”
We dug a little deeper and asked Joseph O’Brien him what people likely don’t know about his personality.
“I really like chick flicks. Particularly, BBC movie/series chick flicks… Things like Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, Jane Eyre, etc… I mean, I love my superhero movies, yet honestly, I have no shame right now. They are really good movies.”
On his favorite Movie:
On his favorite food:
“Chilighetti (Pour chili on top of spaghetti noodles).”
That’s awesome! And yum, if I might say so myself.
Did you guys catch his audition performance? If not you can check out his first audition and second performance. And don’t forget to let us know what you thought in the comments below!