As a 54-year-old man with long, blondish-white wavy hair stood before the judges on America’s Got Talent, the panel of five had no clue that the formerly homeless man clutching a saxophone in front of them was about to blow them away. Herbie Russ approached the microphone for his performance with the confidence of a man who has nothing to lose.
He begins his astonishing performance by blaring out the beginning notes of a famous song “With a Little Help from My Friends.” The song originally was written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, then performed by the Beatles.
But the song has been recorded by dozens of artists including Joe Cocker, which is who many think Herbie sounds like. He has a bluesy, gravely voice that draws you in and reveals his raw emotions lurking underneath.
Herbie’s voice definitely is distinguishable from others and he gives this classic ‘60s hit his own twist. Before he segues into the second round of the chorus, Herbie pauses to push out more notes on his saxophone.
Guest judge Laverne Cox shouts out “woohoo” for Herbie as he pours his heart into his gritty performance. When Herbie wraps up, Laverne and regular judge Heidi Klum give him a standing ovation, as does the audience.
Panel judge Mel B. said, “You just sing with so much passion and soul. Oh my gosh, you’ve just got it.”
Then Simon spoke and described Herbie’s voice as “unbelievable,” likening his talent to none other than the legendary singer Joe Cocker. Herbie’s newfound fans screamed and cheered for him as the judges lavished him with praise.
Herbie accepted the compliments and positive critique of his performance with a smile and twinkle in his eye. He was thrilled to know that his performance had been so well received by everyone.
Listen for yourself to Herbie’s raspy, distinctive voice in the video below and watch him fully immerse himself in his performance. You’ll be blown away.