Welcome to our livestream series, Music to Our Eyes. In each episode, we sit down with various artists to discuss their experiences with vision loss and discuss their commitment to creating music that celebrates diversity and belonging.
Blind Boys of Alabama – December 16, 2021
The Blind Boys of Alabama are recognized worldwide as living legends of gospel music. In a career that has spanned over 70 years, the Blind Boys have racked up five GRAMMY Awards (plus one for Lifetime Achievement), have been inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, and have collaborated with a long list of music royalty, from Mavis Staples and Stevie Wonder to Prince and Lou Reed. Praised by NPR as “pioneers,” the group has transcended race and genre barriers to become one of the most acclaimed and celebrated groups in modern music.
The performance by the Blind Boys of Alabama featured some of their top hits including, I Can See, Soldier, Down in the Hole, and Amazing Grace. Jason Menzo, chief operating officer at the Foundation Fighting Blindness, joined the Blind Boys in Memphis to discuss the group’s individual experiences with vision loss and their shared inspirational determination.
Lachi & Apl.de.Ap – September 16, 2021
The 50th anniversary special of Music to Our Eyes debuted the world premiere of Dis Education, an original collaboration by Lachi and Apl.de.Ap. Lachi premiered a music video for her original song, DNA, and Apl performed a medley of songs, including Bebot, Where’s the Love, and soon-to-be-released song, 2 Proud. In between music, Jason Menzo, chief operating officer at the Foundation Fighting Blindness, interviewed Lachi and Apl about their personal experiences with vision loss and how they embraced their creativity during the pandemic and the collaboration.
Grace Potter – June 30, 2021
This time around, the series features Grammy-nominated rocker Grace Potter. The exclusive conversation and concert is presented in partnership with Two Blind Brothers — founded by Bradford and Bryan Manning, who created the apparel company to create ultra-soft clothing, build community, and donate 100 percent of profits toward research curing blindness. Grace Potter is a two-time, Grammy-nominated artist that burst onto the scene in the early 2000s both as a solo artist and with her band The Nocturnals. A bluesy, roots rock specialist with a powerful voice, Grace is a multi-instrumentalist and acclaimed songwriter and performer. She has released four solo albums, including 2019’s Daylight, which was nominated for both Best Rock Album and Best Rock Performance at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards.
Grace’s Music to Our Eyes performance features some of her top hits and covers, including Empty Heart, Every Heartbeat, Stars, and Amazing Grace. In between sets, Jason Menzo, chief operating officer at the Foundation Fighting Blindness, interviews Grace about her personal experiences with vision loss and how she embraced her creativity during the pandemic.
Kodi Lee – December 17, 2020
In partnership with Two Blind Brothers, this special holiday edition of Music to Our Eyes featured Kodi Lee on Thursday, December 17, 2020,
Kodi Lee is a 24-year-old blind and autistic musical prodigious savant who can recall any music he hears after only one listen. Born with optic nerve hypoplasia, Kodi survived a life-saving surgery at only five days old. He rose to fame after participating and winning Season 14 of America’s Got Talent.
Kodi’s Music to Our Eyes performance will feature a wide variety of covers from his musical repertoire, including You Are The Reason by Calum Scott and Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me by Elton John. Kodi will also perform holiday favorites, Winter Wonderland by Johnny Mathis and Santa Claus Is Coming to Town by Michael Bublé.
X Ambassadors – August 20, 2020
X Ambassadors’ keyboardist, Casey Harris, was born with the rare genetic disease, Senior-Loken syndrome, which affects his kidneys and retinas. The acoustic performance by brothers Sam and Casey Harris will feature their top hits including, Renegade, Unsteady, Hold You Down, and Belong.