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‘America’s Got Talent’ winner performs Valentine’s Day weekend show in Baltimore

Andrea Blackstone | 2/9/2015, 5:54 a.m.
Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. will perform at Baltimore Soundstage February 13, 2015. The vocalist from Logan, West Virginia, who has ...
Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. will perform Friday February 13, 2015 at Baltimore Soundstage located at 124 Market Place in Baltimore. Murphy won season six of “America's Got Talent,” along with a $1 million dollar grand prize and a Columbia Records contract. (Courtesy Photo)

Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. will perform at Baltimore Soundstage February 13, 2015. The vocalist from Logan, West Virginia, who has been singing and dancing since age three won season six of “America’s Got Talent,” along with a $1 million dollar grand prize and a Columbia Records contract.

“It’s a fun show. If you love great American songs, you’ll have a great time and you get to see my personality on stage,” Murphy said.

Four years ago, the 36-year-old who won America’s heart entered “America’s Got Talent” without the help of a vocal coach, before competing onstage while singing Frank Sinatra’s music. Many opportunities fell through before Murphy’s singing career materialized. Nevertheless, Murphy continued to push past obstacles.

The singer's parents went their separate ways when he was about 10 or 11 years old. As a young adult, Murphy was homeless for nearly a year.

“I ended up losing my job due to a basketball injury. I started sleeping in my car when I was 19 years old, just parking under bridges, or going to the park and just sleeping in the dark. God gave me a gift to keep money in my pocket. It was cutting hair,” Murphy said. “It kept food in my belly and gas in my car to keep me warm. I was thankful for that.”

Pride reportedly stopped Murphy from reaching out for help from his two sisters who lived in Detroit.

“They were married. I just didn’t want to be bother to them,” Murphy said.

The humble singer worked as a concrete finisher and flagger on a construction crew, until the business folded. His next employment stops included Shoney’s and washing and detailing cars. Murphy put a band together that gained popularity. It fell apart. Onlookers encouraged the budding entertainer to work in a coalmine when he experienced great financial hardships. Along his journey, his father-in-law died.

“I had to go stay with my mother-in-law a couple of days. While we were away, someone broke into our house and stole all of the copper, all of our clothes and all of the furniture out of our house. So that is the point where I went back to my mother-in-law’s house and sat on the edge of the bed and just cried. I was just so mad. Right at the moment, God spoke to me and said, ‘All you need is a bigger stage. Everything is out of your way now. You have nothing to stop you from getting what I have set aside for you.’ I kept wondering what that meant. While I was sitting in the room, Howie Mandel came on the television screen,” Murphy said.

An “America’s Got Talent” commercial captured his attention. Friends and family members reportedly discouraged Murphy from auditioning for the TV show, informing him that he was a fool for wanting to sing Frank Sinatra on stage. Murphy’s love of big band music that began when he saw a clip of Nat King Cole performing in a Motown 25 Tribute prevailed.