Trumbull resident makes splash on ‘America’s Got Talent’

Photo of Amanda Cuda
Amanda Mammana, 19, of Trumbull, performed on the NBC reality show "America's Got Talent."

Amanda Mammana, 19, of Trumbull, performed on the NBC reality show "America's Got Talent."

Photo by Trae Patton/NBC / Trae Patton/NBC

TRUMBULL —When Amanda Mammana signed up for her first talent show at age 10, she was filled with dread.

The Trumbull resident had recently developed a speech impediment, and she worried that her stutter would be an obstacle in performance.

“After signing up (I thought) ‘I don’t know if I’m going to be able go up there and sing,’” said Mammana, now 19.

She needn’t have worried.

“As soon as I started singing I didn’t have a problem getting out what I was trying to say,” she said. “That was the first moment I discovered that singing could be my outlet.”

It has become more than that. On Tuesday, July 19, the Christian Heritage School graduate made her debut on the NBC competition show “America’s Got Talent,” and quickly wowed the judges with both her musical talent and her personal story of triumph in the face of challenge.

In the episode, Mammana sang an original composition and accompanied herself on guitar. Before performing, she tentatively introduced herself at the prompting of judge Howie Mandel and explained why she was so hesitant in her delivery.

“As you can probably tell, I have a bit of a speech impediment and it was definitely something that caused me to shy away — to hide — but I found that I don’t stutter when I sing,” she said.

Mandel then asked if the song she had prepared was a cover or an original composition, and Mammana said it was something she had written herself, about her own experiences.

“It’s about some hard times and if I could go back and change those things, I wouldn’t because they made me me,” she said.

Mammana then performed her song, titled “Back to Life,” to a rapt audience. When she concluded, she began to get emotional, which Mandel noted. Mammana told him the experience was overwhelming for her.

“There were times when I was a kid when I was like, like I can never do anything like this,” she said. “Like, I’m not good enough.”

Mandel quickly disabused her of that notion.

“Good enough doesn’t explain what we just heard,” he said. “It’s not only good, it’s great and look how you’re moving this audience. I believe you’re moving millions of people right now.”

Mammana received “yes” votes from all four judges, meaning she avoided elimination and moved forward in the competition. Even the notoriously tough judge Simon Cowell had kind things to say about her.

“Your voice is so pure and so beautiful,” he said. “And also, you’re a good songwriter. I’m so happy you came here.”

During a recent interview, Mammana said she made the decision to audition for “America’s Got Talent” during a difficult time in her life.

“I hit kind of a road block going off to college,” she said. “I started to fall into a depression and anxiety and I started to doubt who I was. I was sitting in my dorm room and was on the computer and saw the AGT auditions portal. I was like ‘I’ve got really nothing to lose at this point.’”

Mammana said she didn’t think she’d get far in the audition process, and was stunned to make it to the stage and get acclaim. She can’t say how far she’s gotten in the competition, but is pleased by the outpouring of support she’s received for her performance, from those in Trumbull and beyond.

“The support now that I’ve been getting has absolutely encouraged,” she said. “I’m just hoping to put myself out there more and end up with a big enough platform to use my music to encourage people and make people feel sane and heard.”