Singer Ben Waites from Ball, Louisiana has achieved worldwide fame after appearing on America’s Got Talent. He recently performed at a local church and shared his message of hope and love as well as some good ol’ southern gospel music. ABC 31 News’ Joel Massey was there and has more on how fame.
Ben Waites said, “It has been overwhelming and not in the sense of chaos or too much it’s been overwhelming with the support and the love.”
Ball Louisiana singer Ben Waites is now a local celebrity following his appearance on America’s Got Talent July 12. He performed and shared his story with Pineville Church Christian Challenge on Sunday. He tells me how his trip to AGT all got started.
“Last year I took one of my new songs ‘Real as I Believe’ out on the road with me someone videoed me and put it on Tic Toc it got Like 600,000 views in 24 hours and then a week later AGT reached out to me and said would you please consider auditioning for the show.”
Waites got three yes votes from judges Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum and Sofia Vargara with Sofia becoming unusually emotional.
“Sofia the tears just started running down her face and Simon and Heidi both looked over at her and said Sofia does not cry she does not cry, I had one of the crew members even tell me that they’ve been there working at the show for eight years and had never seen Sofia cry.”
The 33-year-old Southern Gospel singer has been performing since he was 11 first with the Pine Ridge Quartet and then on his own.
“I expect to keep doing what I’ve always done to keep singing keep ministering to people, keep telling people about hope love and God and all those things. That’s my plan that’s my goal.”
Waites was born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita.
“It’s like if you poured concrete on my joints so all of my joints are locked in place, but I tell people I’m not paralyzed or anything so if you kick me I’ll kick you back.
Ben’s mom Sonya Waites Dryden on what it was like to raise Ben.
“It was a blessing it’s had it’s moments when he was younger, going through with the questions and things about ‘Why me?’ But we always knew that he was going to be special… there was something else about Ben that was awesome that was great. That I knew that he had a special plan, a special purpose for him in God’s kingdom.”
Ben’s grandmother on his newfound fame.
Leona Waites said, “I love it. I’m rejoicing in it. I think he will do well with all of this.”
A.J. Richard is a Christian Challenge member who spoke about seeing Waites.
“He brought a great message today and it spoke to a lot of people’s hearts. A lot of folks need to hear this stuff and even people who are regularly in church, it’s something that can go a long way with what he’s singing about what his message is and, in my opinion, just his struggles and everything he’s been through.
Christian Challenge member Janet Carter: “It was a refreshment to my soul, his spirit filled love for Jesus and how God uses his musical talent to touch the live of others. It was just phenomenal.”
Pastor Nathan Martin attests to the fact that fame hasn’t changed him or his music, and Waites says while AGT has opened doors for him he remains steadfast in his lifelong mission.
“If it goes to worldwide fame than that’s where it goes if it doesn’t than that’s fine too I don’t need it I’m not looking for it. I just want to do what I’m called to do.”
Ben received some additional recognition after the service. Ball mayor Gail Wilking declared July 31 Ben Waits Day and gave him a key to the town. Pineville Mayor Rich Dupree who is a member of the church also gave ben a key to the city.