A piano prodigy, a nineteen-year-old college grad, a Marshall scholar, and an American Idol finalist. This guy had it made. He could sing. He could ski blind. What couldn’t he do?
Even if you saw him in concert, you might not believe that Scott MacIntyre is blind, and you’d never guess that at nineteen, he faced a diagnosis that rocked his family and nearly took his life.
So how did he do it? How did he overcome the odds?
This is Scott’s story, but he’d be the first to tell you that it’s not really about him. This is the story of how God used a dedicated family, a selfless acquaintance, hardship, and a host of characters to give him life, faith, determination, and experiences most can only imagine.
Peek behind the scenes to see how Scott learned to overcome his disability, how he made it in the music industry, how he found the love of his life, and how God taught him that in all things, we can truly achieve our dreams By Faith, Not by Sight.
From By Faith, Not by Sight by Scott MacIntyre
“I don’t feel very good.”
I dropped the cup, spilling the water on the floor. The nurse tried to help me, but I had become unresponsive. When I couldn’t respond to her questions, she began frantically pushing buttons on the machine and trying to adjust the tubes. It was immediately apparent to my parents that she couldn’t figure out what to do. They could tell something was terribly wrong as they watched the nurse’s demeanor grow more panicked. Another nurse came over to help.
“He’s coded,” the first nurse said.
Mom, who was already standing close to my bed, moved in closer. She didn’t know exactly what had happened, but she knew it wasn’t good.
The nurses continued to talk amongst themselves.
“Check his vitals.”
“I can’t get a reading.”
Mom started praying out loud. A social worker suddenly appeared by her side, as if she had been notified of an impending crisis. Mom looked to Dad for help. He was sitting about ten feet away from her on the other side of the bed. With all of the medical people moving around, she couldn’t see his face at first, but as more people rushed toward the bed and Dad stood up to make room for them, she finally got a glimpse of his face. He was staring at me with horror in his eyes.
By now, loud alarms were beeping and everyone in the room knew something terrible was happening.
The nurse in charge of the ward rushed around the corner.
“His blood pressure’s falling and we can’t stop it,” one of the nurses told the charge nurse.
“Lord, protect him!” Mom prayed out loud. “Please protect Scott.”
The charge nurse took my vitals and then adjusted some of the controls on the dialysis machine. Using a syringe, she inserted medication into the lumen. A tense minute passed while everyone waited to see what would happen.
Four years later.
April 8, 2009
I knew what was at stake.
I was in the bottom two. After the commercial break, Ryan Seacrest would announce which one of us had the lowest votes and that person would be going home.
The commercial break ended and it was time for the announcement. America had cast 34 million votes for their favorite idols, and I had the lowest total. The difference in votes between the next closest contestant and myself was infinitesimal—less than one-tenth of one percent. But standing on the American Idol stage, I didn’t have the luxury of worrying about the difference in votes. I was going home.
Unless . . .
Season eight of American Idol was the first time the “judges’ save” had been introduced. The save gave the judges veto power over the votes. Regardless of the vote total, the judges could use the save to keep a contestant in the competition for at least another week.
Singing was the only thing that could possibly save me now. I needed to give my last song everything I had in hopes that the judges would use their one and only save. My fate was in their hands. If they chose to use it, I stayed. If not, I was headed home.
I would be singing for my life—my life on the show, and the future of my life in music.
Even Ryan Seacrest, the ordinarily enthusiastic Idol host, seemed subdued as he handed me the microphone. I took it from him and licked my dry lips. Everything was riding on the next two minutes. Ryan introduced the song, and as the first notes of my music played, I decided to just let go of everything I’d been thinking about and be present in the moment.
On cue, I opened my mouth and started singing.
Immediately I realized there was a huge problem—the sound in the monitors wasn’t working! If I couldn’t hear myself sing, I had no way of knowing whether I was on key or in time with the music. How could this be happening? Everything I had was riding on this performance.
As the song continued, I chose to do the only thing I could—keep singing. Instead of worrying about what I couldn’t hear, I decided to focus on the meaning of the lyrics. I sang with all the depth and passion that burned inside of me. I sang like no one was listening and everyone was listening. By the time I finished, I had no idea how well I had done or how it sounded to the audience, but I knew I had given it everything I had. It was an emotional performance, and I felt like I had laid my heart on the line.
Now it was up to the judges.
From By Faith, Not By Sight. ©2012 by Scott MacIntyre. Published in Nashville, Tennessee, by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scott MacIntyre captivated the nation as the first blind finalist on American Idol. As an acclaimed singer-songwriter, he has toured in arenas across North America, headlined concerts in Japan, Austria, England, Canada, and the US, and written and released his latest CD, Heartstrings, debuting at #18 on the iTunes Pop Album Chart. As an in-demand inspirational keynote speaker, Scott has shared his unique and dynamic life story with many different audiences—including Women of Faith ONE DAY events in 2012.