Local musician is ‘America’s Got Talent’ standout


From the moment 22-year-old Kodi Lee walked on the “America’s Got Talent” stage with his mom, he won the crowd over. Kodi is a blind and autistic musical prodigious savant, one of only approximately 25 in the world today who possess his extraordinary abilities.

On NBC’s May 28 episode of “America’s Got Talent,” Kodi received a standing ovation at the end of his performance. Judge Gabrielle Union was so awestruck with Kodi that she gave him the “Golden Buzzer,” advancing him straight to the live shows in Hollywood later this season.

The video of his performance has been viewed on YouTube more than 26 million times. Kodi was particularly excited about a tweet from Oprah Winfrey after the show. “Loved this moment so much! Stood up and cheered in my living room,” said the tweet.

Kodi has been singing and playing the piano for many years. He currently performs locally at a variety of venues and was invited to perform at the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Canyon Lakers may remember the Lake Elsinore resident from his performance during Canyon Lake’s annual Tree Lighting event last year or his performance with Canyon Lake resident Makayla Phillips, an “America’s Got Talent” semi-finalist, when she opened for the Missing Persons concert in February at the lodge.

Kodi’s musical repertoire ranges from rock to jazz, to R&B and pop and he has mastered such classics as Bach, Chopin and Mozart. In addition to his singing talent, Kodi plays five instruments and tap dances. He loves performing in front of a crowd, its where he loves to be, it’s where he shines.

Kodi’s story is one of triumph. Born with optic nerve hypoplasia, surviving a life-saving surgery at five days old and being diagnosed with autism at an early age has never stopped Kodi from reaching for his dreams.

Kodi’s mom, Tina Lee, said that performing has allowed her son “to be able to withstand living in this world, because when you’re autistic, it’s really hard to do what everybody else does. It actually has saved his life, playing music.”

Kodi continues to pursue his musical career and his dream to be a “rock star,” performing for thousands of fans. Any opportunity Kodi has to perform is a good day for him. For more information about Kodi, visit Kodileerocks.com.