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Blessing Offor: Stepping Into the Spotlight As a Blind Musician on NBC's "The Voice"

Blessing Offor wearing dark glasses sitting on a piano bench in front of a piano looking at the camera

Singer, songwriter, and musician Blessing Offor has the courage it takes to step into the spotlight as a visually impaired performing artist. Best known as a contestant on season seven of NBC's The Voice, Blessing's stunning sound and persistence is calling our attention to his growing career.

Blessing was born with congenital glaucoma, which affected the vision in his left eye. In pursuit of better medical and educational opportunities, Blessing and his family moved from Nigeria to the United States when he was five years old. A few years later, Blessing was in an accident and lost vision in his right eye. Today, he is legally blind, but that hasn't stopped him from pursuing his career goals.

VisionAware Peer Advisor, Empish Thomas, had the opportunity to sit down with Blessing and ask him about his experience as a young musician.

Interview with Blessing Offor

Empish: When did you realize you wanted to be a musician?
Blessing: I think it was when I was seven years old and listening to music. I realized that I wanted to create what I was hearing. When I was 12, I wrote a song that my school used, and I knew this was what I wanted to do as a career.

Empish: How did you get into the music industry?
Blessing: The music industry is funny. Who knows how anyone actually gets into it per se. When I came to Nashville after high school, I did sessions and played for people’s shows. I was a side man, helping other musicians. These types of opportunities help you get connected and get your name out there. When you can pay the bills with music, you have arrived, but when you have the publishing and record deal, that is when people feel they have really made it. That is where I am now. I have reached a certain level in my career where I have really learned my craft. I can play the keyboard, saxophone, guitar, and drums. I also write songs.

Empish: How did you get onto NBC’s The Voice?
Blessing: The first time I tried to audition, the line and the audition process was too long. I had some sessions to do, and I just couldn’t stand in the long lines. That was in 2013. The next summer, I went back again and got a personal invitation for an audition. I got to skip the line and do a camera audition. When I was on season seven, I was on Pharrell Williams’ team and then Adam Levine’s team. I got to be mentored by Alicia Keys and Taylor Swift, which was a very fun experience. On the show you start off with a lot of people, and they have to cut it down from 100 to about eight people. I was on the show for about a month and a half. I got up to the top 20 in the last round.

Empish: Once you were on the show, what was the experience like being a visually impaired contestant?
Blessing: I brought a sighted friend to help with my accommodations for the show. The show flew us both to Los Angeles from Nashville.

Empish: How do you work the stage as a visually impaired person? How do you know where the mic is, where others are on the stage with you, or which direction to face?
Blessing: By nature, I am an entertaining person. I tend to like to be the center of attention. I like to be silly and make people laugh. I like singing and performing in front of people, so being on a stage is very comfortable for me. But I do work with a sighted choreographer.

Empish: Since appearing on The Voice, what are you doing with your music and singing?
Blessing: People say, "Oh, being on The Voice must have really helped you?" And yes, this is true. People do know a little more about me. I am grateful that happened. But at the end of the day, you still have to fall back on your skills. You still need to be practicing because you never know when the opportunities might come. So, I do private concerts when people request me to come and perform. I still write songs and rehearse my music.

Empish: What are your future plans?
Blessing: I want to tour the world and get a platinum record. I especially want to write songs that outlast me.

Empish: What advice or words of wisdom would you share with others who are blind or visually impaired that want to break into the music industry?
Blessing: Whether you are visually impaired or not, all the things are the same. You have to decide where to draw the line with your integrity. You have to decide how you will sell yourself. For me, I don’t sell blindness or pity. I wake up each day super blessed to be myself. You have to know where you stand with yourself.

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