Erin Jensen / USA Today / June 27, 2018
Brody Ray took the "America's Got Talent" stage during Tuesday's episode ready to share a piece of himself.
The Nebraska native who sang Jordan Smith's "Stand in the Light," explained to the judges that the lyrics mirrored his own life. Elaborating on his "struggles and battles," Ray explained, "I actually was born female. I'm transgender."
Ray's performance visibly touched judge Mel B and moved audience members to get up from their seats.
"This is who I am inside, this is who I am, and I'm not going to hide," he belted out. "'Cause the greatest risk we'll ever take is by far to stand in the light and be seen as we are."
At the end of his song, Ray received a standing ovation from the judges and crowd.
Ray reflected on his performance Tuesday night on Twitter. "This song made me cry the moment I heard it," he wrote. "And today it helped change my life forever."
On Instagram, he reiterated the lyrics' message for followers. "Stand in the light and be seen as you are. Don’t let your differences cause you to hide. Don’t be ashamed," Ray wrote in the caption of an image from Tuesday's show. "Don’t let it tell you what you can and can’t do with your life. Be proud. Be strong. Be out."
Brody Ray on His Emotional 'America's Got Talent' Audition: 'It Was So Validating for Me'
6/29/2018 by Stephen Daw
For singer Brody Ray, being seen for who he is has always been the goal. Based in Nashville, Ray decided that if he wanted to take control of how he wanted the world to see him, he was going to find a platform to declare his truth proudly.
When Ray appeared on Tuesday night’s (June 26) episode of America’s Got Talent, the judges asked him why he chose to sing a cover of Jordan Smith’s “Stand in the Light,” allowing Ray to live in his truth. “It kind of applies to my life, to overcoming struggles and battles,” he said. “I actually was born female. I’m transgender.”
What followed was a stunning rendition of “Stand in the Light” that got Ray a standing ovation from the crowd, had Mel B in tears, and got everyone on the judges panel to offer him a yes vote, moving him forward in the competition.
Billboard caught up with Brody after his audition, and he talked about making it through to the next round, his transition process and finding a community to call home in Nashville.