Nightbirde Discusses Life Since ‘Golden Buzzer’ Performance on AGT
By Movieguide® Staff
Nightbirde made waves after receiving a golden buzzer from judge Simon Cowell on AMERICA’S GOT TALENT.
Since then, Jane Marczewski has discussed her intense battles with cancer and the hope she finds in Jesus and expresses through her music.
“This has been the whirlwind of my life,” Nightbirde told PopCrush of AGT. “This is way beyond anything I expected, it’s been insane.”
Before her June 8 audition, Nightbirde, 30, revealed to the judges that she only had a 2 percent chance of living through her current battle with cancer. Despite her pain, Nightbirde encouraged fans to look beyond her circumstances.
Her supernatural optimism and outlook on life and her heartfelt lyrics and beautiful voice propelled her original song, “Its OK,” to No. 1 on the iTunes all-genre chart and No. 4 globally as an independent artist.
“I would have never thought [this could happen] in a hundred years, especially [with] that version of the track. It’s barely even produced. It was just one take. I just sang it through in somebody’s house and did not even expect to put it up for streaming, it was supposed to be a video. I am completely mind-blown over all of it,” Nightbirde said.
Despite her family’s support, Nightbirde revealed that she did not initially tell her parents about her plans to audition on AGT.
Listen: Movieguide® Staff discuss Nightbirde, the Olympics and more in their new podcast!
“My family has been really worried about me for obvious reasons, because I’ve been sick for a long time and just this spring started recovering,” she said. “I was doing really well and I didn’t exactly know what their reaction would be if they found out that I was gonna audition for America’s Got Talent. I think if it was up to them, they would say come home for a while and just chill out and take your time to heal. That’s not exactly my personality but I understand why that’s what they would want from me.
“I didn’t want to cause a stir if it wasn’t going to be anything, because I didn’t know how it was going to happen or if they would like me or if I would get on TV, so I just thought, I’m going to do it and then if it becomes something then we can discuss it,” she continued. “I did the audition in April and I was planning on moving from L.A., where my home base is, to Ohio for the summer, to just rest and chill out. I did the audition and the next day drove cross-country with my little brother back to Ohio and as soon as I got home I sat in the kitchen and I tried to say it as casually as possible, but clearly it’s not casual news. So everyone was thrilled and completely over the moon but honestly, I only told a couple of them about the buzzer. I just told them that I was going to be on TV.”
To earn a golden buzzer is an impressive feat on its own, but to earn one from the often deadpan judge Simon Cowell made it that much more special for Nightbirde.
“He was so incredibly encouraging and sincere to me… I try to have realistic expectations. This is reality TV, so anything that they say to me on camera, good or bad, is for television; I’ll take it with a grain of salt… I said, ‘I’m not going to take any of it too seriously because it’s on camera, but if somebody says something to me off camera, I’ll know that they meant it,” she said. “After my audition, I got to talk with Simon backstage and he gave me some incredible encouragement and feedback and positive thoughts about my writing style and my voice. I would have never expected or anticipated for him to go out of his way to come talk to me, especially off-camera where I know that he had no obligation to say anything to me. I can’t even describe how much of a compliment [that was].”
Although Nightbirde has had an unimaginably difficult fight with cancer, the artist revealed that the new diagnosis shows positive signs.
“I’m not doing any chemo right now. I did chemo earlier in the year—the cancer treatment that I do now is alternative and like, functional-holistic. I did a type of a form of chemotherapy that’s not very intense, hence why I still have hair. I should have lost it by now but I didn’t, praise God. But I did some functional holistic treatments about two weeks ago and there’s very little showing it [the cancer] active in my body,” Nightbirde said. “So with what we just did, we’re pretty sure it’s all gonna be gone next time. We [will] check in a few months. Yeah, so, I’m feeling amazing. With the treatment that I’m on, there are very few side effects because it’s holistic, so I can work on all the music I want.”
Aside from her performance on stage, Nightbirde is also candid on her website. She shared her attitude towards life, music, and faith.
“The blog originally wasn’t intended to be a blog, but when I was in Nashville, I was part of a really cool program that went into prisons and spoke to women and encouraged women and helped them prepare for life outside,” Nightbirde said. “Nobody goes to prison for a simple reason, it’s always complicated. It comes from family trauma and family history—nobody turns out that way just because. I was invited to write pieces for this monthly publication that goes out to them because, [due to] COVID, we weren’t allowed to go in anymore, so the only way we could speak to them was to write. I wrote it for these women who have suffered unbelievable trauma, who [were] handed a terrible deck of cards in life.”
She continued: “It is hard for me to share these really traumatic pieces of my story and it is hard to admit things like feeling unlovable or feeling abandoned. It is still hard to admit [to] still loving somebody when they left you like that. But you know what? I have seen enough in my life to know that if one person is brave enough to talk about it and heal from it, then there are 100 others who just need a little spark of permission to be honest with themselves too. It’s a little bit of a sacrifice for me because it is a little heart-wrenching to put it out there, but it’s an honor to give that gift of permission to other people to say how bad they’re hurting too.”
Nightbirde said that her faith began at a young age, as did her love for music.
“I was raised in a super conservative family and so my music was very Christian. There [was] a lot of like, contemporary Christian ’90s music … a total ’90s throwback. It’s total ’90s jams, like… give me a cassette and let me drive down the road and really get into it. I think it was a little bit of a gift to not have grown up with a lot of musical influences, because I wasn’t aware of the rules I was supposed to be following as a writer and as a singer,” she said.
Movieguide® previously reported:
Although Nightbirde continues to fight, she revealed that mercy and thanksgiving mark her heart as well.
“I see mercy in the dusty sunlight that outlines the trees, in my mother’s crooked hands, in the blanket my friend left for me, in the harmony of the wind chimes. It’s not the mercy that I asked for, but it is mercy nonetheless. And I learn a new prayer: thank you,” Nightbirde wrote in her blog post. “It’s a prayer I don’t mean yet, but will repeat until I do. Call me cursed, call me lost, call me scorned. But that’s not all. Call me chosen, blessed, sought-after. Call me the one who God whispers his secrets to. I am the one whose belly is filled with loaves of mercy that were hidden for me.”
She concludes: “Even on days when I’m not so sick, sometimes I go lay on the mat in the afternoon light to listen for Him. I know it sounds crazy, and I can’t really explain it, but God is in there—even now. I have heard it said that some people can’t see God because they won’t look low enough, and it’s true. Look lower. God is on the bathroom floor.”
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