‘Golden Buzzer’ for GR woman on ‘America’s Got Talent’

A promotional photo from NBC of Sharon Irving on "America's Got Talent." (June 9, 2015)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Grand Rapids woman appeared on Thursday’s evening’s episode of “America’s Got Talent” on NBC.

Sharon Irving grew up on the south side of Chicago but has lived in Grand Rapids for the past few years.

“I grew up in a musical family. My father is a jazz musician. He musical directed for Miles Davis for many years. My mother a gospel singer. My grandfather sang with Dr. King and marched with him. So music was always a big part of our family,” Irving said in an interview with 24 Hour News 8.

Irving said her dad has video of her singing in their living room at the young age of 5 years old.

“It’s always been my escape and just a major outlet for me,” she said. “Growing up in the inner city of Chicago, there is a lot that goes on, and singing was my outlet. I grew up singing in church.”

Irving said she auditioned in front of the “America’s Got Talent” judges in New York City in March.

“The judges — I haven’t gotten to know them all yet — they are amazing. Of course, I’m a normal person. I’m up there star struck: Mel B, oh my gosh, Mel B,” she said. “I want her to be like my big sister. She doesn’t know it yet.”

For good reason: In this year’s competition, each judge gets one shot at hitting the “Golden Buzzer,” which sends a contestant directly through to the live rounds later this summer at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

Mel B pressed it for Irving.

“I was very surprised and I mean, just shocked, shocked is a good word. Mel B running on stage and giving me a hug. They don’t know me, but I think they could sense it was a turning point for me. Finding my voice, I’ve always said I want to be a voice for the voiceless, but it was a moment of finding my voice up there and just bearing it in front of all these people insecurities and all and just going for it,” Irving said.

She said being just one of only four contestants throughout the entire audition process to get a golden buzzer is surreal.

“If feels good to be able to have this opportunity to share my heart and my passion on a larger scale because for me,” she said. “It’s so much about inspiring people, inspiring women to be comfortable in their own skin, inspiring people to be them and be themselves, so I hope that this audition conveyed that.”

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