It’s faith that grounds one of the newest contestants competing for a spot in Britain’s Got Talent.
A son of two preachers, 19-year-old Paul Gbegbaje was the latest performer to wow the judges in the recent episode, with his self-penned piece that he “brilliantly” played on the piano.
Though he was incredibly nervous about playing before a celebrity panel – including David Hasselhoff, Michael McIntyre and Amanda Holden – and a crowded auditorium, Gbegbaje shared with The Sun, “I knew God was with me.”
His audition piece was made up of three distinct parts beautifully weaved together, with the first and last portion of the song self-composed, and the mid section borrowed from Bella’s lullaby from “Twilight,” he told Phillip Schofield on This Morning.
Whether it was his prayers backstage or his hard work ethic that got him through, or perhaps a combination of the two, all three judges voted "yes" and pushed him to the next round of auditions.
“[God] really came through for me,” the young pianist expressed.
In an interview with TV Biz, Gbegbaje shared a little bit about his personal story, revealing some of his difficulties during grade school.
“I was different because of what I believed in,” he relayed. “I didn’t swear, didn’t smoke, didn’t drink, didn’t bunk.”
“In year eight I would bring my Bible for reading time and [other students] would bring Playboy and stuff like that. They would call me Jesus Freak.”
While many of his peers were listening to things “in the charts,” he listened to the piano.
Spending most of his lunchtime in the music room, composing and writing music, Gbegbaje, of Dagenham, East London, told the cameras that he used music to express himself.
“I’m not a good talker, but I do it through music.”
“What I like from playing the piano is the feeling you get from it. It’s like a high. As soon as I got a piano, I’m just happy.”
Without any keys of his own before, Gbegbaje would spend hours and hours at his church practicing, sometimes for 10 hours back to back.
The talented teen worked long hours improving his skill, having started playing the piano at a late age of 14.
Though he did receive some basic formal training at first, learning how to play notes and chords, it was his creativity and passion that fueled his rapid improvement.
“I used to imagine the music in my head or hear the notes and it got to the point [where] I actually drew a piano on a piece of paper and I played it.”
“People didn’t understand my passion and they saw it as strange and weird,” he told The Sun. “But now I am so glad I stayed true to myself.”
He also revealed that some of his past bullies were even emailing him now on Facebook, saying things like “Well done.”
“I feel like I’ve had some form of victory. I had the last laugh,” Gbegbaje commented.
While two of the three judges found his performance “sensational,” “amazing” and “brilliant,” Hasselhoff wasn’t as enthusiastic, stating that it was really nice, but not great.
“Come back and show me up,” the former “Knight Rider” actor remarked.
Gbegbaje hopes to make it through to the finals and concludes that his ultimate dream would be to wake up every morning, knowing that he’s doing what he loves.
“That’s just it for me.”
The first live semi-final show will air May 30th with Simon Cowell set to judge on the panel with the other three judges.