If you haven't been keeping up with season 14 of America's Got Talent, there's one important contestant you need to catch up on. Kodi Lee is a 22-year-old autistic and blind singer from Southern California who earned the golden buzzer with a breathtaking performance of Donny Hathaway's "A Song For You."
From his first audition Lee took the world by storm with his soulful voice and wicked piano playing. Now, whenever he hits the AGT stage, judges and audience members look forward with excitement to the magic he's guaranteed to bring. Most recently, he had the crowd in tears with his cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water," a performance that earned him a spot in the semi-finals.
While his AGT adventure is helping to boost his music career tremendously, this isn't his first rodeo. Lee has been performing publicly for nearly a decade, on his own and with his band the Midnight Satellites. Billboard did some digging and took a look back at some of the pre-AGT gigs that helped make him a serious contender for this season's crown. Check them out below.
Kodi Lee & Midnight Satellites - "I Don't Want to Be" (Gavin DeGraw Cover)
Oh yeah, you bet Lee has a band. They're called Midnight Satellites and here they are smashing a cover of DeGraw's signature 2003 hit "I Don't Want to Be." They're clearly having a great time and it shows through their performance, which is filled with soul and energy.
Midnight Satellites - "Mr. Brightside" (The Killers Cover)
Here's the band again, this time performing the 2004 rock classic to a whole room of party people. As guests dance and revel in the cover, Lee performs with absolute confidence.
Midnight Satellites - "Everybody Wants To Rule The World/Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (Tears For Fears/The Beatles Cover)
It's no secret Lee and his band have great taste in music. Here they are performing two classics from Tears For Fears and The Beatles and once again, effortlessly hitting it out of the park.
This solo Collins cover had the internet freaking out, with one person commenting, "As a father of a child with autism you an inspiration to my family." Another person commented, "You're making me cry and I'm a grown man."
Lee played at a winery not too long ago with his band, covering James as well as Sublime, David Bowie, and more. "Wineries are one of my favorite gigs because I love to listen to all people having a good time and dancing there butts off," he wrote in the caption.
Not too long before AGT, Lee was performing for young kids in schools. "Heck yeah... I love performing for kids!! Thank you Mrs. Becca and Tony Tobin Elementary for inviting me!! The kids are awesome," he wrote.
Before the performance, Lee's bandmate talked about the artist, saying, " three years-old, sat down at a piano and started playing Stevie Wonder and Alicia Keys and all of that. He is one of 25 in the world with the abilities he has." Afterwards, the crowd cheered uncontrollably.
A duet with his brother - "Happiness" (Rex Orange County Cover)
Lee has a younger brother who also sings, Derek Lee, and the two got together for a rendition of Rex Orange County's 2017 song "Happiness." "This is definitely happiness when your bro performs with you," Kodi shared.
"Sound of Silence" (Simon & Garfunkel Cover)
His latest AGT performance wasn't the first time he covered a Simon & Garfunkel song. Turns out he's been covering their timeless tunes for years.
"Ruin" (Shawn Mendes Cover)
Looks like Lee is a big Shawn Mendes fan, too, as he's covered him more than once. This time it's a killer rendition of "Ruin" at Rock the Oaks back in January 2018.
He's a classical musician, too
In December 2017, Lee uploaded a video of him playing Franz Schubert, "Impromptu in E flat, op. 90, no. 2," and it just might be one of the most impressive clips on the world wide web.
Facebook Live series
Lee also did a number of Facebook Live sessions from Sept.-Oct. in 2017, where he played music for about an hour or so for those watching. Back then, he'd go live with Salvatore Spinelli at Riff's Music in Murrieta, California, every Tuesday.
With a different backing band in Oct. 2017, Lee performed this 1965 R&B standard at Zabber Thai Fusion.
Festival of Children 2017
The musical prodigy uploaded a clip of him singing with the Hi-Tops during the closing ceremony of the Festival of Children in 2017.
Festival of Human Abilities 2017
It doesn't just stop at singing and playing piano -- Lee is also a fantastic tap dancer. In one clip he uploaded in 2017, he's seen tap dancing his heart out for the Festival of Human Abilities at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific. In the other clip, of course he's performing.
At only 17-years-old (the clip was uploaded in May 2015), Lee was already nailing a perfect cover of Legend's signature 2013 ballad "All Of Me" at home.
Festival of Children 2014
Lee didn't just make one appearance at the Festival of Children, he also performed at the event all the way back in 2014. Donning a classy suit and bow-tie, he sang the Broadway tune, "This Is The Moment," from Jekyll and Hyde for the closing ceremony.
In this clip, Lee is seen singing Psy's 2012 viral hit "Gangnam Style" alongside the Rainbow Coalition once again at the Festival of Human Abilities, in 2013.
The National Anthem
The singer had the honor of performing the National Anthem at the 2012 Elsinore High School Pep Rally. It was his first time performing it since he was nine years-old.
Lee's first "drama show"
This clip from Jan. 2011 shows Lee performing his first musical theater/drama class presentation in front of a class of 40 other high schoolers. He was nervous about having an audience, but he still did a great job.