In 2017, 27-year-old Kechi Okwuchi made news after she made it into the finals of the twelfth season of America’s Got Talent.
She left judges and the audience awe-stricken with her voice, as she sang Estelle’s ‘Conqueror’. However, what most people didn’t know was that before the 2005 air mishap which Kechi survived, she couldn’t sing so well.
Kechi, in an interview with Punch, said that it was a miracle, one of the good things that she took out of the accident and that it helped her cope with all the problems she experienced after the mishap that killed 60 of her schoolmates and 47 others.
“My voice after the plane crash is one of those miracles I can’t explain. My voice became significantly better than it was before the plane crash. I remember when I was still in the hospital; my mum will always put a music player by my bed. There was a time she was playing one of my favorite albums, and I was singing along; I can still remember the moment when my mum and I were surprised that my voice sounded better than it used to before the accident.
“We just saw it as something positive in the midst of all the ugly things that happened after the accident. I just ran with it, my voice really changed. It was an escape for me, and I was able to sing my sorrows away. It was very strange, I still can’t explain it.”
Before the transformation, the most she had hoped to do with her voice was singing in the church choir, but after excelling on one of the largest entertainment platforms on the globe, she now travels the world speaking and singing to various audiences.
“The truth is that I never thought I would get to this level. I have always loved music and singing but I never dreamt of what I have become today.
“The extent of what I had always wanted to do with my voice was just to join my church choir. The truth is that I never felt my voice was good enough to be on the television. However, everything happened suddenly and it turned out to be a pleasant surprise.”
Kechi Hails from Imo state, Nigeria, and was a 16-year-old student of Loyola Jesuit College, Abuja when the ill-fated Sosoliso Flight 1145 crash landed at the Port Harcourt International Airport, bursting into flames. The last thing she remembers from the incident is holding the hands of her friend in the seat beside her.
She was one of the two people who made it out alive, although with severe burns. She received medical treatment in South Africa and Texas, where she underwent over a hundred surgeries to reconstruct parts of her body that were severely damaged. It was during this period at the hospital that she and her mom noticed the transformation that had occurred in her voice.
Having graduated with a first class degree from the University of Saint Thomas, in Texas, she intends to continue her education up to doctorate level and maybe one day get a job working at the United Nations.
Featured image source: mb.ntd.tv