John Lennon’s Imagine… sang perfectly in honour of International Peace Day. This kid is one of the faces as to why we need to end war.


Emmanuel Kelly has always dreamed of becoming a professional recording artist. This inner spirit of determination and courage together with a beautiful voice and performance moved demanding judges and many of the 6000+ audience to tears and a standing ovation on The X Factor’s opening night on 29th September 2011.

Emmanuel wowed judges Ronan Keating, Spice Girl Mel Brown, Natalie Bassingthwaighte and Guy Sebastian with his heartfelt performance, Ronan Keating said, “I don’t think I’ve ever been as moved as I was by that performance ever!”

Emmanuel was born into war torn Iraq and abandoned by his parents as a baby, he was raised at an orphanage ran by the Mother Theresa nuns, before being rescued by his now mum Moira Kelly and brought to Australia for life changing surgery.

Over the last 14 years being in Australia Emmanuel has had over 6 surgeries and has had to step over huge hurdles to try and achieve his goals. he has always had his eyes set on huge dreams.

In his words: “You have to dream to achieve the greatest goals in life.”

Emmanuel has melted the hearts of millions around the world. Within days of his X Factor audition Emmanuel’s YouTube video received over 12 million views; in 6 months he generated an amazing 50 million hits, today Emmanuel is estimated to have over 100 million views all over YouTube.

Emmanuel’s rendition of Imagine even touched Yoko Ono so much that she tweeted “Thank you, Emmanuel. You sang beautifully! Thank you. John would have been proud of you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Love, Yoko”.

Check out the amazing performance below… but get the tissues ready.

Since his Appearance on X factor Emmanuel has released 3 singles, one dedicated to mothers called A Song For Edis, which charted in the top 100 in Australia whilst having very limited marketing and no radio air play,

Dream Big which is featured in the U.S movie Crooked Arrows as the end title track and Let love find you which went on to chart in the top 40 in Australia and top 100 in 4 different countries. Despite the fact of again having very small limited marketing, no budget and mainstream radio refusing to play the track Emmanuel still was able to beet the odds.

He has also produced, recorded and written with U.S and Canadian writers. performed concerts, toured and spoke around the USA and Europe, in 2012 Emmanuel Performed in front of a crowd of over 8,000 at the famous MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, he has performed at main platform events around the world to audiences of over 10,000 and has even auditioned for the hit program Glee.

There is nothing ‘ordinary’ about the extraordinary Emmanuel Kelly, neither his start in life nor growing up.


However, Emmanuel says that his damaged limbs have not held him back and never will. He is not looking for sympathy. “I have actually been through nothing compared to some of the other kids I have met.” Emmanuel’s sheer passion for singing, for life, for ‘dreaming big’ in the face of HUGE obstacles is a much needed message for our troubled times.

It is a message with mass appeal that transcends boarders, boundaries, countries, cultures and religions and ages. In a world consumed with all too often insignificant worries or stress, Emmanuel is an immediate wake-up call with the innate ability to touch, move and inspire young and old alike to their very core.

In Emmanuel’s words; “I may not have the greatest voice or looks but I do have a passion and that is to sing and entertain for world.”

“My dream is to make people smile through my music, and to show young kids that it is ok to strive for your dreams. My ultimate dream is to become the first artist who is different to be recognised in the comercial world, so then I can show young teens and also the older generations around the world, that it is never to late to dream big and it doesn’t matter what you look like, what religion you are, or where your from, you can still achieve your dreams!!”

“At the end of the day we are all born with gifts and talents, mine is to inspire you to achieve through my words, to make you smile, dream, imagine through my entertaining, to be passionate through my music, and most of all to never give up!!

Check out his more recent single & music video… Dream Big.

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Brent Lindeque
About the Author

Brent Lindeque is the founder and man in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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