STAR/TRACK

STAR/TRACK - Doc Watson dies at 89 years. Doc, along with Chet Atkins is considered to be one of the greatest country and bluegrass guitarist's of the 20th. century. At the beginning of the Electrofied Era , 1941, he began playing on the radio. Doc Watson is on our Top Forty. You can read more about him at #18 on our list.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Top 40 Blind and Visually Impaired American Musicians

1. Introduction
This is a list of the greatest blind and visually impaired American musicians of the Electrofied Era*. These musicians, in performance style, range from Operatic to Bluegrass and from Blues to Hard Rock.  Many of them as American blind songwriters stand among the nations elite in that field. Half of them attended a School for the Blind. For those interested in the great blind and visually impaired musicians of the last 70 years this site is a starting point for further research. Many of these artists are covered in other sites I have put together and links are listed with the artists to those sites.

You may also find this site helpful and of interest - CLICK
Musicians With Disabilities Top 25 Americans

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2. Site Directory
All information is on this page.  Scroll down to desired location.
1. Introduction
2. Site Directory
3. Definition - Electrofied Era
4. Top 50
5. Top 40 Artists with Videos
6. Electrofied Era - History and time periods
7. Honorable Mention
8. Rising Stars

For more information on Musicians with disabilities CLICK

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3. Definition
 *The "Electrofied Era" is the result of the profound impact of electricity and electronics on the writing, creation, performance, recording, dissemination, and storage of music. It transcends all  genres by encompassing them.  The Eectrofied Era spans the years 1940 to the present.
  

4. Top 50



50. Ken Medema - Light Perception (Nearly Totally  Blind)
He was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is a white pianist and singer/songwriter with a tilt towards Christian themed music.  His music is also social justice oriented. He has two dozen albums to his credit and performs throughout North America and Europe.



49. JP Corwyn - Legally Blind
There are several degrees of legal blindness and his falls into the more severe range. He and his band (Power House Band) are into Indie Rock/Alternative Rock.  Their sound has been compared to to Pearl Jam, Creed and 3 Doors Down, but there is also a hint of Puddle of Mud.  His album titles (In Plain Sight & White Cane Conspiracy)  point at his willingness to battle the stereotypes within the blind community and those outside looking in. He gives of his time and talent to help others.


48. Blind "Willie" McTell  (1898 - 1959) - Blind 
He was a Black American born blind and attended the Georgia School for the Blind.  He was a singer/songwriter of the blues. He was also a Gospel singer.  In 1940, the beginning of the Electrofied Era, he made a series of recordings for the Library of Congress. He made other recordings in 40's and 50's for record companies. His music influenced Bob Dylan, the Allman Brothers Band and Jack White among others. 
For more on Blind "Willie" McTell Click 
Musicians With Disabilities Top 25 Americans


47. Rod Clemmons - Blind
He is a Black singer, songwriter, arranger, producer and founder of Verdict Records. His popular music influences come from the Disco/Funk/R&B music of the late 1970's and early eighties. The Commodores, Earth, Wind, and Fire, and The Stylistics were just some the artist that moved him. Authors Note: If you listen carefully to his music you can here the influence of Stevie Wonder. He believes in helping his brothers and sisters in blindness and gives his talents to raising money to fight blindness and he also performs at schools for the blind. He is originally from Pine Bluff, Arkansas and is a graduate of the Arkansas School for the Blind. While there he studied classical piano.  He continued his studies at the internationally renowned Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.  He graduated with honors from IU in classical piano performance.  While at Bloomington, Indiana he developed a deep interest in R&B and Pop. He tours throughout the United States and performs in nightclubs. 


46. Scott MacIntyre - Multiple Ailments - Legally Blind
He is a White pianist, Singer/songwriter born in California.  He has tunnel vision and has had a kidney transplant. He not only sings but can play several instruments.  He competed on the eighth season of American Idol finishing eighth.  He has eight albums with three being classical and one being a Christian-Pop set.  Two of his albums are compilations. He has a degree from Arizona State University and a Masters degree from London University, London England..  Laura Bush invited him to the White House.  


45. Michael Gerber - Blind and Hearing Impaired
Michael is Blind and Hearing Impaired  He was born in St. Louis and attended the Missouri School for the Blind located in the same city. He studied Braille, Music, and Travel Training along with the normal school curriculum  He wears hearing aids and has been blind since birth.  His talent lies with the piano and composing.  Michael is a graduate of the University of Miami. He has been compared to Art Tatum. His musical forte is Jazz but he has interest in Classical Music and Broadway Musicals.  He is best known in South Florida and the Miami area in particular. Michael has worked with some of the biggest names in Jazz, Dizzy Gillespie, Pat Metheny, Art Blakey and others. He and his wife, Atlanta, have a music ministry in Miami. In addition to that he teaches music as well.

44. Johnny Hiland - Legally Blind
He was originally from Maine. He has worked in Nashville as a session musician with some of the biggest names in Country Music.  His talents do not just rest with Country.  He plays Blues, Jazz and Hard Rock/Heavy Metal. His forte is the electric guitar but he also plays a variety of string instruments. He is also an author and motivational speaker. He has more than a handful of credits on albums with a variety of artists. 


43. Laurie Rubin - Blind
She is from California and is an Mezzo-soprano. Her forte is Opera, but she has been known to belt out pop hits as well. She is Blind, Gay and Jewish.  Like Sammy Davis Jr., she feels as if much of her life has been an effort to dispel stereotyping. She was born Blind and raised in the greater Las Angeles area.  With a  determined and vigilant family she attended public school. It wasn't seeing but rather experiencing "Phantom of the Opera" that turned her musically onto Opera as an art form. She is a rising Opera star traveling across the country appearing at the most prestigious locations for Opera including Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. She has also performed beyond the United States and has at least one album.  Like Kim Wickes she is also an author.


42. Raul Midon - Blind
Like Elvis Presley he was born as a twin.  Unlike Elvis his brother survived and is now an engineer.  They were both born blind in New Mexico. He attended a school for the blind and the last two years at an elite academy.  He has a degree from the University of Miami.  He was a session man for the likes of Shakira, Jose Feliciano, Jennifer Lopez, Christina Aguilera, and Julio Iglesias. While his musical influences run the gamut his forte is without a doubt Jazz. Musically he is a triple threat.  His vocal imitations of instruments, singing vocals and his excellent guitar playing skills makes him a one man band. He has a strong since of individualism and does not like being pigeon holed musically or stereotyped.  Blindness is just another hurdle to cross to being a success. He has appeared on several late night TV shows including The Late Show with David Letterman.  Letterman's interest in and support for the blind dates back to his college days at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Raul has at least six albums to his credit and his music has been featured in two films, Still Bill and She Hates Me. He has his own home recording studio and tours nationally and internationally.


41. Kim Wickes - Blind
Kim is a Korean/American, blinded at the age of three from an explosion during the Korean War. Depression and desperation led her father to attempt to drown her and her sister.  Kim's mother pleaded for him to save the two girls.  He was able to retrieve Kim from the river but not her sister. She was left with an orphanage and at the age of ten she was adopted by George and Eva Wickes of Dayton, Indiana.  Unlike Blind Melon's, Shannon Hoon also from Dayton, Indiana Kim did not get into drugs and die from an overdose. She found faith while attending a Billy Graham Crusade in Indianapolis at age twelve. She accepted Christ.  She attended the Indiana School for the Blind.  There she studied braille and music. Her junior and senior years were spent at the college preparatory school, Wheaton Academy.  She earned two degrees with honors from Indiana University and won a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Vienna, Austria. She has published two books and has several albums to her credit. Kim also has appeared on a Billy Graham compilation album. Her music is faith and inspiration based and she has an excellent soprano voice singing in an operatic style. Her singing is clearly influenced by her studies in Vienna. She travels the world singing as an evangelist. Her audiences are not only enthralled with her life story, but are amazed that a person of such petite stature has such a powerful voice. She has been seen on national television as a soloist with the Billy Graham Crusade. She has performed at the international Congress of World Evangelism in Europe. She has sung for members of Congress and appeared on C-Span. While there are other Christian based musicians on this list she is the only one who performs in the Operatic style. She is the President of Kim Ministries of West Memphis, Arkansas.


5. TOP 40 Artists with Videos



40. Fred Lowery - Blind (1909 - 1984)
Video/Audio - Fred Lowery - Indian Love Call
He was born in Palestine, Texas. Blinded by Scarlet Fever he attended the Texas School for the Blind in Austin. He was one of the nations best known professional whistlers. He had a a major hit with the song "The High And The Mighty" and also scored a hit with "Indian Love Call". He had a small part in the 1941 film "Pot of Gold". He performed at Carnegie Hall and the White House.  In his later years he turned to performing Christian Music. He has over a half dozen recordings to his credit





39. Jimmy Pruett - Blind
White blind Country session man and pianist for the Country music show "Town Hall Party" during the 1950's out of Compton California.  He has recorded with a multitude of Country artists.  He is best known as a piano player but was also excellent on the guitar. 



38 Robert Glen  A.K.A. Bobby Doyle (1939 - 2006) - Blind
Video - Jazz Minds Featuring Bobby Doyle on Piano
He was a White piano player, gutiarist and singer who was born and died in Austin Texas.  He attended the Texas School for the Blind and McCallum High School. He was skilled at Rock-a-Billy, Doo Wop, Rock and Jazz. In the late 1950's and early 1960's he led the Bobby Doyle Trio. Kenny Rogers sang harmonies and played standup base. Rogers would go on to become one of Country musics biggest stars.  Bobby Doyle would perform briefly with Blood Sweat and Tears as a replacement for David Clayton-Thomas and appeared on the Album "New Blood" He also worked for awhile with Phil Spector


37. Blind Willie Johnson (1897 - 1945)- Blinded by lye?
Video - Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground
He was one of several great Black blind blues musicians. He was a Texas Blues/Spiritual guitarist and singer. He is believed to have been married several times most likely as Common Law marriages. His music has become influential during the Electrofied Era.  Moist of his recordings were made before 1940 and those made after 1940 were of songs and material he did prier to the Electrofied Era. His music has influenced Eric Clapton, Peter, Paul and Mary, Bob Dylan, Grateful Dead, Bruce Springsteen, and Nina Simone to name just a few. He spent his life in poverty working as a street preacher and musician.



36. Lennie Tristano (1919 - 1978) - Blind 
Video - Tangerine
He was born in Chicago and was one of the nations leading Jazz educators.  He acknowledged fellow brother in blindness, Art Tatum, as influential in his music.  He also credited Charlie Parker and Nat King Cole. Unlike those who influenced him, he is White. Watch the video and you can see he was clearly, in the 20th Century, one of the great jazz pianists. He had more than a hand full of recordings to his credit.



35. Patrick Henry Hughes - Multiple Physical Impairments - Blind
Video - The Today Show Story & song Somewhere Over The Rainbow
He was born in Kentucky and graduated from Atherton High School and from the University of Louisville with honors. Dispite being unable to walk from birth he was a member of the University of Louisville Marching Band. with the help of his father. He is best known for his skill on the trumpet and piano. He has performed with Country Music giants Faith Hill, Lonestar and Pam Tillis to name just a few.  He has also appeared on The Grand Old Opry.  He has traveled the world giving inspirational talks and performing. He has two CD's to his credit.
For more on Henry Patrick Hughes CLICK
100 American Pop Standards see songs 15 & 2



34. Rahsaan Roland Kirk (1935 - 1977) - Blind
VIDEO - Rahsaan Roland Kirk - Pedal Up
He was an American of African decent who performed as a multiple instrumental artist.  Jazz was what he performed and was famous for his stage antics and the ability to play more than one instrument at a time.  He left a legacy of over a dozen albums.



33. Jessica Callahan - Blind (Light Perception)
Video - Superhero
Jessica has been blind since birth. She has light perception and can see some shadows if the lighting is just right. She is comfortable in her skin and being blind.  Much of her music is about those things she cares about or has experienced. She is a Pop singer/songwriter who is also proficient on the keyboard.  She is truly a rising talent in the Pop music genre.  She has two albums under her belt and more on the way.  She is best known in the Las Angeles area but her music is gaining recognition across North America and in Europe. Also see
Musicians With Disabilities Top 25 Americans


32. Joe Mooney - (1911 - 1975) - Blind
Video - Joe Money - Have You Meet Miss Jones
He was blind by the age ten.  Joe was a famous keyboardist must noted for his skill on the Organ and accordion. The genre of music he preferred was Jazz. His recording career was in the Pop Standard Era and it also the straddled the Pre-electrofied Era and the early Electrofied Era. Some of the people he worked with were Les Brown, Paul Whiteman and the Modernaires. He has at least four albums to his credit that were recorded during the Electrofied Era.



31. Blind John Davis - (1913 - 1985)- Blind
Video - Blind John Davis - Summertime
He was a Black Blues/Jazz/Boogie-Woogie piano player and singer.  At age nine while living in Chicago he lost his sight. Like several other artists on this list his recording career straddled the Pre-electrofied Ear and the Electrofied Era.  He was at first a session musician playing the piano for other recording artists.  He began recording on his own in the mid 1930's and continued to record through the 40's and into the fifties. Like The Ventures, The Runaways, Jose Feliciano and other Electrofied Era artists he found greater popularity outside the United States. For him it was Europe.  


30. Bryan Lee "Braille Blues Daddy" - Blind
Video - Braille Blues Daddy
In 1943 he was born in Wisconsin. He attended the Wisconsin School for the Blind at Janesville.  He perceives blindness as a disability and as a handicap.  It is a handicap because the blind are not able to drive or do other essential things.  He does not see it as an excuse to fail. It is a challenge that must be faced and over come.  Bryan is a guitarist and singer of the blues and Country singer Bryan Lee should not be confused with him. He was inspired to get into blues music while attending a  Ray Charles concert. Before Katrina he worked in New Orleans playing Chicago and Delta style blues. He now tours the United States, Canada and Europe as Bryan Lee and the Power Blues Band. Being a White blind musician has not stopped him from finding success in a music genre dominated by Black sighted musicians. His music is smooth and he is certainly comfortable while playing. He loves his art and it is clearly audible. His music is Blues with a hint of Rock and the Blues Brothers would feel at home doing his material. He has over a dozen albums to his Credit.


29. Kevin Kern - Legally Blind
Video - I Love You
Kevin was born in Detroit  He is a composer/performer of New Age Music. He started playing the piano at a very young age.  He was inspired and mentored by Sir. George Shearing OBE. who also is on this list. He has over ten CD's to his credit. He has more than a handful of TV and film credits here and in Korea. As with the other legally blind musicians on this list, he is neither totally blind or fully sighted. He works in a grey no-mans land that is unfathomable to most. This is most apparent when he works with people who are unfamiliar with his abilities and limitations.


28. Lee Garrett- Blind
Video - You're My Everything
He was born in Mississippi.  He is co-author with Stevie Wonder on the song "Signed Sealed and Delivered".  He and Stevie met at the Michigan School for the Blind.  They worked together on a number of hit songs for other artists on the Motown family of labels. In addition to Stevie Wonder and other Motown artists, Eddie  Money and Frankie Vali recorded his songs.  He is still active with his band Bommerband and the Boomettes. Lee's songs have appeared in over a dozen television shows and films.


27. Lachi - Legally Blind 
Video not available
She is a singer/songwriter from New York.  As America has matured musically it has become increasingly difficult to classify artists because, or inspite of the plethora of genres and sub-genres that have evolved out of our national experience. Lachi falls into that circumstance.  She clearly has strong Jazz ties and yet she often has a strong Alternative Rock sound and then she can have a Pop Standards feel. Her sound might be described as East Coast Pop or more accurately New York Pop. Her influences range from Mozart to Ella Fitzgerald to the Smashing Pumpkins.  A recent single "Time Heals" has all of its online sales going to help  the victims of the recent disaster in Japan. She writes from life's experiences but is not afraid to draw inspiration from others. She has three albums to her credit, but her career is just getting up a head of steam.  There is certainly more to come from Lachi and her band Meridian Gold. Also see
Musicians With Disabilities top 25 Americans


26. "Sir" Charles Atkins - Blind 
He began at four years of age to sing on the radio songs of faith.  He attended the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind and the New York Institute for the Blind and Florida State University. It was at FSU he earned a degree in music education. The Florida School for the Blind residence hall had a piano.  It was in the dorms that blind musicians could practice what they learned in classes.  What's more important Charles was was able to play what he loved and to share with his fellow students and vise versa.  These impromptu Jam sessions permitted him to learn from others and to hone his craft. While attending school in New York he met Dion of Dion & The Belmonts. While Dion is famous for his Doo Wop Rock and Folk  music he is also a fine performer of the Blues. Charles is famous for his Blues styling.  While in Florida he worked with Sam and Dave world famous R&B artists. He has made his own mark as an artist and is currently performing with his own band "The Charles Atkins Band.  He has worked with Bobby Blue Bland, Roger Williams, Ashford & Simpson, Percy Sledge and many others. It was during Governor Jeb Bush administration that Charles was given the title "Sir" and designated as a treasure of Florida. He teaches music at Florida State University. He currently has four albums out. For more Click
Musicians With Disabilities Top 25 Americans


25. Leon Payne (1917 - 1969) - Blind
Audio - They'll Never Take Her Love From Me
He was born in Texas and died there.  Leon attended the Texas School for the Blind.  He was a an extraordinary song writer His career began in the early Electrofied Era and ended with his death in 1969. His most famous songs were the Pop Standard hit for Al Martino "I Love You Because" and the Country hit "Lost Highway" by Hank Williams.  People who have recorded his songs are a list of the who's who in the Electrofied Era.  They include but are not limited to  Hank Williams, Elvis Presley, Jim Reeves, Johnny Cash, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Willie Nelson, Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, and George Jones.




24. Tom Sullivan - Blind 
Actor, author, composer and musician. He had a recurring role in the television series "Highway to Heaven". He sang on the show and on other nationally televised events including performing the "Star Spangled Banner" at a Super Bowl and Indianapolis 500 events.  He is the recipient of the American Foundation for the Blind's "Helen Keller" award. He also has at least one album sold nationally The film "If You Could See What I Hear" is based on his college life. For more Click
Musicians With Disabilities Top 25 Americans


23. Marcus Roberts - Blind 
Video - What Is This Thing Called Love
He is one of America's great jazz musicians who happens to be blind and Black. Marcus lost his sight by age five and was self taught on the piano, well almost. His mother also was blind and a gospel singer helped him learn to play the piano.  The family spent a small fortune to buy a piano for the home. He attended the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, the Alma Matter for two other great musicians, Ray Charles and Charles Atkins. He went on to college at Florida State University. His has been influenced by the likes of Duke Ellington and Stevie Wonder.  He believes strongly in the traditions of the great Jazz artists. Marcus is a perfectionist and very tradition minded when it comes to his art.  Yet, he believes the artist needs to play for the audience and not for themselves.  He believes the music needs to have emotion played into it. He has a clear vision on how music should be performed.  You might say he has 20/20 Blind Sight. He is a highly regarded Jazz pianist and was Keyboard player with world famous Jazz artist, Wynton Marsalis. On his own he has made well over two dozen recordings. He is an Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies at Florida State University. For more Click
Musicians With Disabilities Top 25 Americans
100 American Pop Standards see songs 188, 83 and 58




22. Gordon Mote - Blind
VIDEO - Thank You Lord For Blessing Me - Gordon Mote(Piano and Vocals) & Jason Crabb
Gordon is a blind white male Country, Christian singer and piano player. He was one of the early blind students to mainstream in public schools. He graduated from Belmont University with honors in music. He is a sought after keyboard session man in Nashville.  He has performed on stage as a keyboardist with some of the biggest names in Country. He has at least two albums under his own name. His first solo album "if You Could Hear What I See" was  nominated for a Dove award. While he may be best known as an instrumentalist he is also an excellent singer. He was honored with an Academy of Country Music award as Keyboardist of the year. He has been married to his wife Kimberly for more than twenty years with three children.    


21. The Blind Boys Of Alabama - Blind 
One of America's leading Gospel groups.  They formed in 1939 during the segregation era of American History  The Blind Boys formed at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind.  In building a career they had to over come segregation as much as their blindness. They have had a lasting impact on R&B , Rock and yes, even Country. They have performed or recorded with some of the biggest names in the Electrofied Era. among the people they have recorded with are, Bonnie Raitt, Randy Travis, Vince Gill, Peter Gabriel, Willie Nelson, Solomon Burke, Marty Stuart, and Hank Williams Jr. For more
Musicians With Disabilities Top 25 Americans


20. Alec Templeton (1909 - 1963) - Blind 
Video - Moonglow
He was a Welsh/American.  He was born blind.  He immigrated in 1936 to the United States.  Alec hosted several national radio shows and recorded for several large record companies.  His music was Jazz and the Classics.  
For more on Alec Templeton Click
Musicians With Disabilities Top 25 Americans


19. Sonny Terry (1911 - 1986) - Blind (Light Perception)
Video - Easy Rider (Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee with Pete Seeger)
He lost most of his sight by age 16 from injuries.  His vision was little more than light perception. He was a harmonica  and Juice Harp (Jaw Harp) player who played varying forms of the Blues and Folk music. Sonny also performed vocals. He made his first recordings in 1940 at the beginning of the Electrofied Era. He worked with Woody Guthrie and Moses Asch. He has over a half dozen albums and has been inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.
For more on Sonny Terry Click
Musicians With Disabilities Top 25 Americans




18. Paul Pena (1950 - 2005) - Blind
Video - Jet Airliner (Live on Conan O'Brien)
He has a history in Jazz, Folk, Blues and Rock 'n' Roll. He graduated from the Perkins School for the Blind and attended Clark University.  He is best remembered for writing the song "Jet Airliner" which the Steve Miller Band turned into a mega hit. He recorded with stars like Bonnie Raitt and Jerry Garcia (Grateful Dead) among others. The Documentary film "Genghis Blues" revolves around Pena's travel to Tuva (central Asian country) to study and perform Tuvan Throat Singing. Paul was an internationally respected practitioner of the art. For more on Paul Pena Click
Musicians With Disabilities Top 25 Americans




17. Reverend Gary Davis (1896 - 1972) - Blind
Video - If I Had My Way
He lost sight very early in life.  He was highly regarded for his Ragtime, Blues and Gospel guitar work. He was equally capable on banjo.  In the mid thirties he converted to Christianity and became a Baptist minster.  He backed away from playing the Blues.  When the Electrofied Era began in 1940 he was performing Gospel in Churches and on streetcorners in New York.  In the 1950's he began to seriously record.  There have been three dozen albums produced of his music. From the fifties to near the end of his life he also taught guitar.  Some of the greatest names in Rock studied with him.  His influence on American Folk music, Blues and Rock is astounding.  Those who have been influenced and or recorded his music are, Bob Dylan, The Grateful Dead, Ry Cooder, Taj Mahal, Donovan, and Peter, Paul and Mary.
For more on Rev. Gary Davis Click
Musicians With Disabilities Top 25 Americans





16. Johnny Winter - Albinism - Legally Blind (Photophobia)
Video - Mojo Boogie - 1991
He like his younger brother Edgar are White (Caucasian) who have Albinism.  This is the loss of pigmentation of the skin, hair and retinas of the eyes. Johnny is an outstanding guitar player. He and Edgar played in bands around their home town of Beaumont, Texas. He was faced with the problem of over coming the fact that his skin was pure white and that he was legally blind. Discrimination and being ill at ease around him by people of all races was a problem. He did not let this stand in his way. He became one of the nations best Blues/Rock guitar player. He has over forty albums to his credit as primary performer, guitar play or producer.




15. Doc Watson - Blind (1923 - 2012)
VIDEO - Deep River Blues by Doc Watson (guitar and vocal)
Arthel Lane "Doc" Watson was a White guitarist who was a musicians musician. He is an eight time Gammy award winner. This includes the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. He has over 50 albums to his credit.  He is not well known outside of the South and by Folk and Bluegrass fans except in professional musicians circles where he is highly reguarded. He is considered to be one of the greatest flat-pickers of the 20th. century. Like fellow brother in blindness, Art Tatum, who played piano with incredible speed, Doc did the same on the guitar. Even other great guitarists were intimidated by his abilities. He has helped to keep popular, American Southern music art forms. He is most famous for his guitar styling and his work in Bluegrass, Country, Gospel and the Blues. Doc has been seen on several nationally televised events. One such event was the "Prairie Home Companion" Video - Just A Little Lovin'  He attended the Morehead (North Carolina) School for the Blind. He is the recipient of the National Medal of Arts, presented to him by President Bill Clinton. For more on Doc Watson Click
Musicians With Disabilities Top 25 Americans


14. Ginny Owens - Blind 
She is a White Contemporary Christian/Gospel singer. Ginny has a degree in music education from Belmont University.  Her music has been featured on the television series "Felicity" and "Roswell". She has over a half dozen albums to her credit with sales surpassing a million recordings. President George W. Bush asked her to sing at the Whitehouse. The Christian music industry has awarded her three Dove Awards. For more Click
Musicians With Disabilities Top 25 Americans


13. Art Tatum  (1909 - 1956) - Blind (Light Perception)
Art was not totally blind.  His vision was little more than light perception. At a very early age he taught himself to play the piano. Both parents were skilled musicians. During his high school years he attended the Ohio School for the Blind.  He studied braille and music. He has over four dozen albums to his credit.  His piano styling has had a lasting impact on Jazz musicians. The bulk of his recordings took place during the early years of the Electrofied Era.  The songs "Tea for Two" and "Tiger Rag" are his two best remembered songs. Great musicians he influenced are Oscar Peterson, Lionel Hampton, Charlie Parker, and Herbbie Hancock  He is noted for his impressive speed playing of the piano. He has been inducted into the The Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame  He has been called  "The Greatest Jazz Pianist of all time". He was honored after his death by being given the prestigious Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. For more on Art Tatum Click
Musicians With Disabilities Top 25 Americans
Drugs, Booze, Death - American Musicians

    
12. Clarence Carter - Blind
Video - Looking For A Fox
He attended the Alabama School for the Blind and earned a degree in music from Alabama State College. Like the Blind Boys of Alabama, he had to contend with segregation and racial discrimination early in his career.  He gained his fame in the Blues genre. He had the hits "Patches", "Slip Away" and the mobile DJ favorite "Strokin". The 1989 "Strokin' was not a true blues song.  It was much closer to Disco which is ironic in that some believe that Disco nearly killed Carter's career. Carter is often credited with being the inspiration for a Southern night club dance, Wing Ding Doodle. The songs "Patches" and "Strokin" clearly have musical influences beyond the Blues.  These and other recordings by him show that, like other great artist of the last seventy years, he is willing to do genre integration. Carters presentation is strong, mature and earthy. While critics of the Blues have called the genre "wallowing in self pity". One can certainly say that Carter's Blues performances are generally more "introspective joy".
For more on Clarence Carter Click
Musicians With Disabilities Top 25 Americans


11. TERRI GIBBS - Blind 
Video - Tell Me That You Love Me
Terri was born in Florida and the family moved to Augusta, Georgia. She comes from a family steeped in Gospel music. She was taught braille at the tender age of five by Helen Ferar. All of her schooling was in the public schools. She began playing the piano at age three with guidance from her great aunt, and began performing at an early age. She did take music lessons to help improve her understanding of the art. Like Ray Charles, Ronnie Milsap and other great artists from the South she grew up listening to Country, R&B, Rock 'n' Roll and Gospel. When the Country single "Somebody's Knockin" was released it became a huge hit.  The song crossed over to Pop and Adult Contemporary radio. The album of the same name found broad based success. She had several other Country hits.  Terri worked and performed with some of the biggest names in the music industry  Video - Terri Gibbs & George Jones - You Win Again   By the mid to late 1980's she felt a need to record Gospel and Christian themed music.  Today she is still recording faith based music. In 2010 she released her fifth Christian themed album "Your Grace Still Amazes Me". Like so many blind musicians, she does not think of herself as a blind singer, but rather as a singer that happens to be blind. For her, faith in herself and, more importantly, faith in God has made blindness an inconvenience not a roadblock. 
For more on Terri Gibbs Click
Musicians With Disabilities Top 25 Americans



10. Diane Schuur - Blind 
Two time Grammy award winning, White woman, Jazz singer. She was a student at the Washington State School for the Blind. While she was self taught on the piano, at the school she got a formal education in music and on the piano. She was influenced by the great Sarah Vaughn, Dinah Washington and brother in blindness, Ray Charles to name a few. She has had several hit albums in the Jazz genre.  She has played at Carnegie Hall and performed at the White House during the Reagan administration. She has 20 albums to her credit and has performed or collaborated with some of the biggest names in the industry,  B.B. King, Barry Manilow, Stan Getz, and Quincy Jones are just some of the people. While Jazz is her forte, she has performed in nearly every popular genre. For more Click
Musicians With Disabilities Top 25 Americans
100 American Pop Standards see songs 122, 92, 87. 15, 12 & 10. 



 9. AL HIBBLER - Blind (1915 - 2001)
Video - He
He was born in Mississippi. Al attended the Arkansas School for the Blind. He studied music and sang in the choir. He developed an interest in Jazz.  In the early 1940's he became a member of the Duke Ellington Orchestra as its only male vocalist. He also did some work with Count Basie and other bands to Ellington's chagrin. He and Duke Ellington had several large hits during the forties. The alliance with Ellington lasted until the early 1950's when he went on his own.  By the mid fifties he had several hits that were million sellers. His biggest hits were "Unchained Melody", "He", and "After The Lights Go Down Low".  The country was moving into the Civil Rights Era and Al joined the movement getting  arrested several times during demonstrations.  Record companies were scared off, all except one.  Frank Sinatra, who was a founding member of Reprise Records signed Hibbler. This association had limited success primarily because Rock 'n' Roll by this time had all but destroyed the Pop Standard and light Jazz Hibbler performed. There are those that claim his involvement in the Civil Rights movement killed his career.  That is not quite true.  While it makes for a nice story of martyrdom for Civil Rights, he was actually sacrificed at the alter of youthful change.  The tsunami of teenage baby boomers was in full swing. To paraphrase Bob Dylan, they did not trust or like anybody over thirty. thus they had no use for the old crooners of the Pop Standard.  Unlike members of the "Rat Pack" he did not have acting and comedic skills to help keep his career afloat. While a few  Pop Standard singers survived, like Frank Sinatra, most passed into oblivion. The arrival of a new generation of singers, Ray Charles, Bobby Darin, Paul Anka, Pat Boone, Bobby Vinton, The Righteous Brothers, and, yes, even Elvis Presley, doing Pop Standard style music pushed nearly all of the Pop Standard vocalist from the 40's and early 50's out of the picture. He was a part of the wholesale massacre of the Big Bands, Jazz, and Pop Standard vocalists from the Swing Era. For more on Al Hibbler click
1. Musicians with Disabilities Top 25 Americans

2. 100 American Pop Standards songs 60 and 5.


8. Sir. George Shearing, OBE (1919 - 2011) - Blind
Video - Lullaby of Broadway
He is a world renown Anglo/American, Jazz composer and musician.  He was born in England. He spent four years at a school for the blind in England. Being blind did not exempt him from other health issues.  He battled stomach ulcers. George became involved in the Jazz scene in the greater London area.  He emigrated to the United States two years after the end of World War II. Within less than ten years he became a naturalized citizen.  He has over 300 songs to his credit as a composer.  His biggest hits are "Lullaby of Birdland" and "September in the Rain". His unique personal perspective musically helped in the creative process of his music.  Being born and raised in the United Kingdom he had been profoundly influenced by the great orchestras of the U.K. and Europe.  When he immigrated to the United States he was swept into the New York Jazz world.  He had Jazz experience in England, but New York introduced him to a wider and some what different Jazz community.  He melded the two worlds of classical orchestra music with Jazz. He was awarded honorary Doctorate degrees from three schools of higher learning, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Hamilton College in New York and DePauw University in Indiana. He performed for three United States Presidents, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.  He also performed for Queen Elizabeth II. It was at Buckingham Palace in 1996 that Queen Elizabeth made him "Officer of the Order of the British Empire". Then in 2007 he was Knighted by the Crown and given the official title of "Sir". It is the highest honor given by the Queen. This puts him in with the likes of Sir Elton John and Sir Paul McCartney. He has two Grammy's to his credit and well over 100 albums. His music has been heard in more than a dozen films and TV shows. While touring, if geographical circumstances and scheduling permitted, he would visit schools for the blind, such as the Indiana School for the Blind, to inspire blind youth to pursue their dreams in music and other fields of endeavor.
For more on George Shearing CLICK
100 American Pop Standards  see songs 188, 134, 130, 119, 94, 65, 50, 42, 41, 23, 22, 15, 11, 3, & Honorable Mention


7. SAMMY DAVIS Jr.- Blind in one eye 
Video - Mr. Bojangles (Live)
His dad, Sammy Davis Sr. was a well known vaudeville entertainer. Davis never attended school and was self taught through the school of hard knocks. The decade of the 1950's was a tumultuous one for Davis.  It was during this time he converted to Judaism and his career was endangered by Rock 'n' Roll.  Then there was the 1955 car accident that cost him his left eye. He wore an eye patch until actor Humphrey Bogart told him to ditch it. He had a glass eye after that. His music was very traditional in Broadway, Light Jazz and Pop Standard vein.  His life was very eclectic.  He was a strong advocate for Civil Rights and asked the Academy Awards President (Gregory Peck) to post pone the awards following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.  He was successful in his endeavor.  When he dated film star and sex symbol Kim Novak a murder contract was put out on him for $10,000, but was called off after Frank Sinatra intervened.  He also campaigned for Richard Nixon. On one occasion he took the future Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, for George W. Bush to see Elvis Presley.  Sammy Davis and Elvis were friends. Davis was a regular attendee at Elvis concerts in Las Vegas. Davis is seen in the DVD version of Elvis' "That's The Way It Is". Morton Stevens (wrote TV theme song "Hawaii Five-O" huge hit for The Ventures) became his music director. Stevens would also work with Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. He joked calling himself "a one eyed Jewish Negro"  Yet, discrimination was not his biggest hurdle.  The one he could not overcome was his four pack a day addiction to cigarettes.  He died at age 64 from throat cancer caused by smoking. He could belt out a Pop Standard with the best of them. He was a member of the notorious "Rat Pack".  Frank Sinatra, Joey Bishop, Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin  plus Elvis Presley and Liberace (neither a member of the Rat Pack) set the standard for entertainment on the Las Vegas Strip. Davis was famous for his stage presence, acting ability and singing style. He had more than a hand full of big hit songs, "Love Me Or Leave Me", "The Candy Man", "That Old Black Magic", and "What Kind Of Fool Am I" to name just a few. For more on Sammy Davis Click.
Musicians with Disabilities Top 25 Americans


6. EDGAR WINTER - Albinism - Legally Blind (Photophobia)
Video - Harlem Nocturn - Edgar on Sax and Leon on Keyboards
Edgar is a performer/songwriter who blends different genres.  His strength lies in Rock with at times a heavy list toward Hard Rock. He is an multi-instrumentalist who plays keyboards, the saxophone, and drums. His music interests are broad ranging from Jazz, blues, Rock to Pop. During the 70's he formed the Edgar Winter Group.  One of the members was Dan Hartman who wrote the hit "Free Ride" and would go on to make his mark in Disco. Edgar has one and half dozen albums to his credit.  He has a following in Europe and Japan beside a loyal fan base in the United States. His music has been in nearly two dozen films and television shows. Like his older brother, Johnny, he has Albinism. Johnny in many ways helped to cut the path for Edgar. It is not easy making it in show business with Albinism and Johnny showed the way. Albinism is the lack of pigmentation in the skin and hair.  This also means in the Retina of the Eye resulting in legal blindness and photophobia. People with photophobia usually need less light. Edgar Winter performs on stage with intense light aimed at him and his band.  People in the audience are flashing cameras. This can be very painful to the eyes and usually causes additional loss of sight (white out) on a temporary basis lasting moments to many minutes.  Edgar is credited with having come up with the idea of putting a strap, like a guitar strap, on an electronic keyboard.  This idea gave the keyboardist more flexibility when it came to being a stage entertainer. For more on Edgar Winter Click
1. Musicians With Disabilities Top 25 Americans

2. Top 100 American Instrumentals


5. JOSE FELICIANO - Blind
Video - Light My Fire
Born a Puerto Rican/American and blind, Jose has become one of America's best known entertainers internationally. He has a strong following in Europe and especially in Latin America.  When people think of great American guitar artists they think of Duane Eddy, The Ventures, Jimi Hendrix, Eddie VanHalen and others, over looking one of the truly great guitar artist, Jose Feliciano.  He belongs in the upper echelon of the great guitarist of our time. His version of the national anthem performed at Tiger Stadium in Detroit in the late 1960's was controversial at the time but has become recognized as one of great interpretation's of the song.  In the United States he is best known for his million selling hit "Light My Fire" and the Christmas classic "Feliz Navidad"  He helped to mainstream Latin music influence on Rock 'n' Roll. Click
Musicians with Disabilities Top 25 Americans

Top 100 (United States) Songs of American Patriotism see song 1


4. RONNIE MILSAP - Blind 
Video - Any Day Now
Born with a visual impairment Ronnie soon lost all vision and  like "Doc" Watson he attended the Morehead (North Carolina) State School for the Blind.  Ronnie believed excessive disciplinary measures left a lasting impact on him, but the school promoted the development of his musical talents. He learned the basics of music theory by studying classical music.  He listened to Country, Gospel and R&B radio.  Ronnie attended college briefly before leaving to become a full time professional musician. He worked with some of the biggest names in music, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and Elvis Presley.  He played piano on Elvis Presley's hit song "Kentucky Rain". Despite coming from abject poverty and blindness he has succeeded. Most people don't know that his first recordings were in the R&B/Soul music field.  Finding little success there he turned to Country, where he found a home. It is no secret that it was as difficult for a White artist to break into Black dominated R&B/Soul as it was for a Black artist trying to break into White dominated Country. Whether race played a role is unclear, what is clear he made it big in Country. He had a string of blockbuster Country hits with several crossing over into Pop/Rock. He is very versatile.  Ronnie released an album of Pop Standards "Just For A Thrill" which included great versions of "Teach Me Tonight" and "I Don't Want Nobody To Have My Love But You".  His hit "Lost In The Fifties Tonight" displayed his ability to perform Doo Wop styled Rock. He did not let poverty, blindness, his mothers desertion of him, or music stereotyping keep him from finding his full musical talent. For more on Ronnie Milsap Click
Musicians with Disabilities Top 25 Americans


3.   apl.de.ap (Alan Pineda Lindo Jr.) The Black Eyed Peas - Legally Blind
VIDEO - Boom Boom Pow
He is a Filipino/American, an Amerasian, half Black and half Filipino. His music career is centered around being a performer of Rap/Hip-Hop and as a producer.  He is also involved in the development of Jeepney music company. His Black American father deserted him and his mother shortly after his birth. His stepfather and mother understood his being a Black Amerasian and severely visually impaired were conditions the local society was ill equipped to handle in a positive way. Alan's visual problem stems from nystagmus. The eyes move in an uncotrolled manor preventing the person from being able to focus clearly on reading or any other thing. The Pearl S. Buck Foundation found an adoptive family in the United States.  He has forged ahead to be the successful Rapper for one of the most successful American bands in the last fifteen years. He is the first from the Philippines to receive a Grammy.  He has three to his credit as a member of the Black Eyed Peas. He has five albums with the Black Eyed Peas and is making a solo album. Alan is proud of his heritage and has recorded several songs using, Tagalog, the native language of the Philippines. For more on apl.de.ap Click
1. Musicians with Disabilities Top 25 Americans

2. Top 100 American Recording Artists see artist 98


2.  RAY CHARLES  (1930 - 2004) - Blind
Video (Country Song) - You Don't Know Me
Ray began life with sight but in poverty.  At the age of five he watched helplessly as his brother drowned in a large tub. Two years later he was blind due to Glaucoma.  He attended the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind.  It was here he received a formal education in classical music.  It was a common practice among students at residential schools for the blind to have impromptu jam sessions usually around a piano in the residence hall. This allowed students to personalize in a jazz forum what they were learning in school.  With this base and his growing interest in Jazz and Blues he began to develop his musical style.  Much of the South may have been segregated, but the radio dial was not.  He listened to Country, Blues, Gospel, Pop and Jazz.  While attending the school he did some performances on a local St. Augustine radio station. His father had died when he was ten and his mother when he was fifteen.  After school he traveled in several differant bands performing in the panhandle area of Florida. He developed a style based on the great Nat King Cole.  The 1955 hit "I Got A Woman" departed from his Jazz and Nat King Cole imitations.  It was all Ray.  in 1960 a man from Florida,Ray Charles, (Yes, Ray was born in Georgia, but grew up in Florida.) recorded a song by a man from Indiana, Hoagy Carmichael, that would become the state song of Georgia, "Georgia On My Mind".  Ray had a dark side.  Following a performance at Anderson, Indiana in 1961 he was arrested for possession of drugs at an Indianapolis area motel. This was the first of several arrests that culminated in an arrest at the Boston airport in 1964 on possession of Heroine. His drug problem nearly ended his career and his life. He had a dozen children by nine women of which only two had ever been his wife. Neither one of these two failings contributed to his greatness.  If anything they were a hindrance, and otherwise scared an illustrious career. Ray never let his blindness stand in his way. He went on to become one of the greatest recording artist of all time. In the era of Rock and Pop Soul he still belived in the Big Band and Pop Standards.  His recording career included Big Band, Pop Standards, Jazz, R&B and Country. One of his most daring feats was the recording of the album "Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music".  His friends and advisers thought it was commenting professional suicide. It gave him his biggest hit, "I Can't Stop Loving You".  He proved them wrong.  It was one of the most brilliant moves in his career. He loved how music allowed him complete freedom of expression. The so called biographical film "Ray" is less than accurate but is entertaining and somewhat informing.
For more on Ray Charles click 

2. 100 Most Important American Songs see songs 38,31, and also 68, 58, 33, 28.





1.  STEVIE WONDER - Blind
Video - I Just Called To Say I Love You                                   
 He was born blind in 1950 and would become a world famous singer/songwriter. His family was fractured. His mother had been a prostitute, but not of her own choosing and she and Stevie's father split. In the eyes of many, Stevie's own personal life has been less than exemplary. What is remarkable, he over came poverty, a dysfunctional family and blindness to become one of the world's most popular entertainers. At a very early age he began to master the piano. He would later master the harmonica, drums and bass. He attended the Michigan School for the Blind where he studied classical music. Perhaps, what might have been more important were the impromptu jam sessions in the dorms at the school. Ronnie White of the Miracles discovered Stevie which led to him being signed by Berry Gordy of Motown and Tamla records.   Some of his album titles and songs referenced blindness.  His albums, "Talking Book", "Innervisions", and the single "Fingertips" all reference his lack of sight.  "Innervisions" was an album with some political commentary. Marvin Gaye, Micheal Jackson and Paul McCartney are just a sampling of the giants in the industry who have recorded with Wonder. He has two dozen Garmmys, a Golden Globe, plus an Oscar for best song in a film.  One of his Grammys is the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award. While there may be some question about his personal life there is no question about his generosity when it comes to organizations who reach out and touch the underprivileged.  He has almost from the beginning donated to organisations helping the poor and the disabled. His compositions and performance style has had a lasting and indelible impact on American music. He has won nearly every award possible. He has also been a Civil Rights and political activist. For more on Stevie Wonder click
1. Musicians with Disabilities Top 25 Americans

2. 100 Most Important American Songs see songs 38 and 28.

3. 100 American Pop Standards  see Honorable Mention

4. Top 100 American Recording Artists  see artist 6




6. Electrofied Era
     The "Electrofied Era' began in 1940 the beginning of a decade that saw the recording studios not just capturing sound but also altering it. It is also based on the development of Les Paul's, "Log Guitar", and his early attempts at multi-track recordings. The decade saw a  maturing of electric media.   Recordings, Jukebox, radio play plus use in motion pictures began to have a broader impact on music popularity than sheet music sales, live performances, and Broadway. The word "electrofied" is coined to point out the artists, record producers, sound engineers and inventors did much more than just add and use electricity in the music industry. They unleashed a whole new creative spirit, an "Oh Wow" effect. Electrified cannot be used to define the new studio production capabilities or the diverse means of how music is disseminated. Electricity added new dimensions to live performances from the size of the audiences to the creative nature of the productions, to the instruments and the music itself.  To say the music is electrified is neither appropriate or enough.
     The dissemination of popular music has changed and continues to expand since the beginning of the Electrofied Era.  The advent of television, (Black and white TV was invented before 1940 and color TV in 1940, but did not find general usage until after World War II) the satellite, and the Internet changed how music is created, stored and disseminated.  Technology has changed when, where, how, and even who use popular music.  New art forms sprung out of the technology bringing us Rock'n' Roll, modern Soul, Disco, and the Music Video to name just a few.  It has also impacted how, where, and size of space we store our music.  The transistor radio, 45 and 33 1/3 RPM recordings, CD's, television, computers, the Internet, the Walkman, mp3 players and i-pods are just some of the changes impacting the music industry.


Time periods related to Electrofied Era

  Pre-Electrofied Era
     1. 1877 - 1926  Conception Period -  (Phonograph, Silent Motion Pictures and early Radio)
     2. 1927 - 1939  Gestation Period - (Motion Pictures with Sound & Early electrified Instruments)
     
  Electrofied Era
     3. 1940 - 1955  Early Electrofied Era - (Log Guitar, Sound recording alteration and multi-track recording)
      4. 1955 - 1990  Established Electrofied Era - (Stereo, electronic special effects, synthesizers, Computer/Digital Recording, Distribution & Storage)
     5. 1991 - Present  The Electrofied Era - Cloud Period - (mp3 internet download and cloud storage)



7. HONORABLE MENTION

Laurel Jean - Blind
She is a singer/songwriter and pianist. Like Kim Wickes and Tom Sullivan she is also a motivational speaker. Her music is Christian centered.  She has ten CD's to her credit.

Sandy Bond - Blind
Sandy is a female American blind Christian singer/songwriter.  She performs with a strong country flavor.

John Kameaaloha Almeida - Blind (1897 - 1985)
Born in Hawaii he was totally blind by age ten. His music skills were most appreciated by the people of the State of Hawaii.  He has been called, "The Dean of Hawaiian Music". He played traditional Hawaiian Music. He performed at the funeral for Hawaiian Queen Liliuokalani. He has been inducted into the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame.  He died of (hardening of the arteries) arteriosclerosis.  He has one album in print.

Henry Butler - Blind
Blind since birth this Black American Jazz pianist and vocalist does Blues, Jazz and Funk, He has found success primarily in the South and the New Orleans area in particular. He attended the Louisiana State School for the Blind in Baton Rouge.  He studied music at Southern  and at Michigan State Universities and has a Masters degree in Vocal Music. He believes in promoting the education of his brothers and sisters in blindness.  He has conducted a summer Jazz camp at the Missouri School for the Blind.  Following Hurricane Katrina he left New Orleans and lives in New York.  One of his influences was the immortal blind Jazz pianist, Art Tatum. 

Sam Lane - Blind
He is a Black blind pianist who has been sightless all of his life. He is a Christian and serves as the music director of his church. He is a classically trained pianist.  He plays Pop Standards and covers tunes by Ray Charles.  He has at least one album to his credit.  He and his wife Anita provide time and talent to help raise money for Audio Bibles for the Blind.

Justin Kauflin - Blind
He was born with a disease which left him totally blind by time he was 11 years old. He did not attend a residential/state school for the blind.  He excelled in his academic and music studies. He graduated with honors from William Paterson University. His music forte is in Jazz from the keyboard. He currently leads the Justin Kauflin Trio

Justin Trevino - Blind
Born in Brownsville Texas and raised in Austin.  He lives and generally performs in and around Austin, but has ventured out of Texas. He is a leader in the Neo-Traditionalist Country movement as a singer/songwriter and producer. He has been influenced by the likes of Johnny Bush, Ray Price, Hank Williams, Hank Snow, Ernest Tubb and Ferlin Husky.  He has recorded eleven albums and produced other albums for a number of Traditionalist Country artists.

Mac Wayne - Legally Blind
At age 17 he was blinded by a self inflicted gunshot wound to the head.  This Everett, Washington resident was given a second chance at life.  He can neither read or write braille and this makes it more difficult for him to do his music. As a blind White rapper he faces an up hill battle in a music genre that is dominated by Black sighted musicians. He comes from the Seattle-Tacoma area that is rich in music history producing the likes of The Ventures and Nirvana.  His Rap/Hip-Hop style is greatly different than the fore mention artists. His own hype praises himself as the "Ray Charles of Rap".
  Authors Note - * - Authors Note - * - Authors Note   
After allegedly stealing a car at knife point, Mac Wayne, with the help of a girlfriend fled Washington for California. during the time he was on the run he released a new rap song "Catch Me If You Can,' Still On The Run". The police did catch him. The charges on car theft were dropped when the accuser recanted her story.  Wayne was however convicted of drug possession because at the time of his arrest police found he had narcotics. He was sentenced to three months in jail.  This would all be laughable, but wait there is more.  There was a shooting outside his recording studio with no evidence to suggest that he was involved and in a separate incident he is suspected by police of having intimidated a witness in a homicide case.

Nathan Beaugard (189? - 1970) - Blind
He was a Blues legend, born blind in Mississippi. He was a singer guitar 
player.

Brother Ali - Albinism - Legally Blind (Photophobia)
He was born in Wisconsin and schooled in Michigan and Minnesota.  He is a Hip Hop artist and has several albums to his credit.  He has appeared on several national late night talk shows. He is a controversial artist and in the Hip Hop world that is not necessarily bad.  He is very political with a strong bent to the left side of the political spectrum. He is a practicing Muslim and proud of it.  He is Caucasian by birth but is pure white by Albinism also from birth.  The lack of pigmentation to the skin and the retinas of the eyes has left him in a world apart from others.  He has expressed his frustration with this in his music.



8. Rising Stars

Emmanuelle Lo - Blind
She is from New Buffalo Michigan which sits on Lake Michigan near its southern tip.  She was born blind and at the age of eleven was presented with a guitar.  She wrote her first song, a Christmas tune. By age twelve it had been recorded. As a singer songwriter there is great potential for her as she matures.


Blind Fury - Blind
Steven Norris is Blind Fury a blind Rapper/Hip Hop artist. He was born in South Carolina and raised by a his mother. Like many other blind youth he has overcome to find success.  He is an East Coast Rapper, but he has his own style and approach to his music.  He is best known in the New York City area.


Bree Noble - Legally Blind
She is from California and is a singer/songwriter.  Her music is strongly faith oriented but she also performs patriotic songs and Electrofied Era Standards mostly from Broadway.  She is capable of performing in a variety of genre styles but has been compared to Christian singing sensation, Ginny Owens. She has at least three albums to her credit and like Kim Wickes, Patrick Henry Hughes and Tom Sullivan she is also a motivational speaker