Revision 1--down from 411 words to 206! Great job!
In 1995, a handsome, up-and-coming tenor, performing with the Welsh Opera was out cycling when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver. Suffering only cuts and bruises, Donald Braswell, described as “the next Pavarotti,” was relieved until he realized the accident stole the irreplaceable – his voice.
Doctors told the Juilliard graduate he might never sing again, yet Braswell, a life-long Christian, never lost faith. His journey back to a professional stage took thirteen years of menial jobs, one musical miracle and a 2008 audition on America’s Got Talent. That first AGT performance almost ended before it began as a restless, tired crowd heckled the “Texas Tenor” before he sang a note. But, after he finished Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up,” the jeers became cheers and Braswell’s improbable ride to the Final Four was underway.
Today, Braswell, 49, is again a full time entertainer with an annual schedule that includes many charitable concerts to further his goal of “paying it forward.” An inspirational story of perseverance and chance, it is no wonder then-judge Piers Morgan once called Braswell, “The Rocky of our show.”
A former journalist and current blogger, I am co-writing REVIVAL: THE DONALD BRASWELL STORY. The 67,000-word memoir is complete and polished.*###
(*Imagine it’s Feb. 2013 :)
In 1995, a handsome young tenor, performing with the Welsh Opera was cycling when a hit-and-run driver struck him. Suffering only cuts and bruises, Donald Braswell, described as “the next Pavarotti,” was relieved until he realized the accident stole the irreplaceable – his voice. New York doctors confirmed the million-to-one throat injury. The Juilliard graduate was told he might talk, but would never sing again. An immediate $50,000 payday was lost, as was the long-term career of “the American Corelli.” Braswell refused to quit. He relearned speech, rediscovered song and regained self-respect in the following years. Working as a plasterer’s assistant, he also sold insurance, pools and used cars, anything to provide for his growing family.
In 2004, Braswell met Walter Lucas at the car dealership, and agreed to the homeless-looking man’s request for a test drive. Hearing Braswell’s story, Walter, a former musician, told him to contact a local, Grammy-winning music studio. Executives said producing a CD would cost $50,000. Could Braswell contact a trusted client to bankroll the project? Calling his first sale at the Jaguar dealership, the woman was shocked – but not due to Braswell calling – she’d just bought that music studio. Struggling for nine years to regain a toe hold in the world of opera, Braswell inked his first record deal just two weeks after what he dubbed “The Miracle of Music.”
Overall, Braswell’s journey back to a professional stage took him thirteen years and a first audition on America’s Got Talent (2008.) During his first performance, the restless crowd heckled even before Braswell sang one note. After finishing Josh Groban’s You Raise Me Up, the jeers became cheers. Eliminated in the next round, the “Texas Tenor” was voted back on the show following an emergency Wild Card round. A fan favorite, Braswell sang his way to the AGT Finals, where he placed fourth overall. Today, Braswell, 49, is again a full time entertainer with three CDs and much more to his name. Blessed with this second chance, his annual schedule includes many charitable and Christian concerts to further his goal of “paying it forward” to those less fortunate. (His most recent lead role was Cornelius in a June 2012 charity musical, The Centurion.)
A former journalist, current blogger (and an ex-Irishman living in Hawaii,) I am co-writing REVIVAL: THE DONALDBRASWELL STORY. The book proposal for this memoir is complete and 47k words are“in the bank.” The 67,000-word ms will be ready by Jan. 15, 2013.