AL native, 'America's Got Talent' contestant Jaycob Curlee looks - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

AL native, 'America's Got Talent' contestant Jaycob Curlee looks to give back to foster kids

Jaycob Curlee talks with WSFA 12 News anchor Tonya Terry during a visit to the station (Source: WSFA 12 News) Jaycob Curlee talks with WSFA 12 News anchor Tonya Terry during a visit to the station (Source: WSFA 12 News)

Daphne, Alabama native Jaycob Curlee visited the WSFA 12 News studios Friday where he shared details of the childhood struggle being an orphan, the climb to prominence as a contestant on NBC's hit show America's Got Talent, performed a favorite song with his guitar and even spoke on a way that he's helping give back to the community.

Curlee, 18, grew up in south Alabama and spent three of his early years moving to different foster homes with his sister because their biological parents were in and out of jail on drug charges.

"It was really tough growing up," Curlee admits of growing up with sister Josie,"because it wasn't like I was her brother. I was her mother and her father, and I had to watch out for her and make sure that everything was ok and that people wouldn't take advantage of her."

Both he and his sister where adopted and now live with mom, Katherine, and dad, Stephen. He admits mom is his No. 1 fan. "The fans understand that, the girls do," he says. "So every time they're like, "I'm your No. 2 fan," because they know my mom is No. 1. She's been that way since the beginning." 

In overcoming his childhood challenges, Curlee discovered at age 14 his talent for singing and playing guitar. He stood in line for hours with thousands of other show hopefuls, waiting to perform in front of show producers of America's Got Talent. Now, he's a quarterfinalist who has performed in front of a 6,000 person audience at the famed Carnegie Hall in New York City, and to millions of viewers who tune in weekly to watch on television.

Out of thousands who've tried out, Curlee says he's blown away to have made it to the top 24, and he hopes to continue the rise. "It gives me confidence to see so much support from the community," he explains. "I wouldn't be where I am if it wasn't for everybody who voted and took the time to watch and listen to my story."

"To have all the blessings that God's blessed me with, I think that people see that," he says, "and it just shows that you should never give up and don't your past define what you're going to be like in the future."

Curlee's focus on the future goes beyond the show and its opportunities. "I get fan mail saying that I've inspired people not to commit suicide." It's great being on the show, he admits, "but to inspire people, that's something I really strive for. And at only 18-years-old, I can say that I've inspired people to strive for more. That's incredible."

The inspiration continues locally. Friday, the talented singer is lending his time to a fundraising effort for foster children in Autauga County called "Maggie and MyLee's Lemons to Lemonade Stand." The event raises funds to give foster kids a gift at Christmas.

"If I become big, or even if I don't, I really want to give back and help with kids who are in foster care systems," Curlee says, "and let them know it's not the end of the world. There's somebody out there who loves you."

America's Got Talent airs on NBC each Tuesday at 9/8 central.

Watch Jaycob tell his amazing story to the America's Got Talent audience here.


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