Disabilities, both visible and invisible, hold many back from living to the fullest potential. But for some, disabilities push people to go above and beyond what anyone has ever imagined. For one Miami musician, Alex Lacamoire, his hearing loss was a large part of his success with Tony and Grammy Awards under his belt.
Childhood Hearing Loss and Musical Prodigy
From a very young age, Alex Lacamoire was already a budding talent. He began to play piano at age four, with a natural affinity for music. Around this same time, his parents discovered that his love of music was accompanied by childhood hearing loss. He was diagnosed with at least 15% hearing loss and wore a hearing aid in one ear. He often chose not to wear it because it made him feel self-conscious among other children.
But despite the difficulties, hearing loss didn’t hold him back. In an interview, he states, “I often wonder if my handicap is actually an asset. My hearing loss makes me listen a little harder. It allows me to live in my own bubble. I can really focus in on music and tune out the world around me.”
From Prodigy to Professional
Lacamoire’s family, originally from Cuba, recognized his love for music and supported his education with music lessons, and eventually music school in Miami. Lacamoire gained performance experience playing at hotels, cocktail receptions and community theater events. From these experiences, Lacamoire was empowered to pursue music professionally. [x_blockquote type=”left”]“My hearing loss makes me listen a little harder … I can really focus in on music and tune out the world around me.”[/x_blockquote]
Lacamoire’s piano teacher recognized his potential, saying, “He was absolutely phenomenal from day one. You know the ones that have it. When you’ve seen and taught thousands of kids, the great ones rise right to the top.” By the time he finished high school, he was accepted on to Berklee College of Music in Boston on scholarship.
Professional Success on Broadway
Lacamoire went on to be a music director, arranger, orchestrator and a conductor for musical Broadway performances. He teamed up with Lin-Manuel Miranda, and together they developed the score for the award-winning In the Heights, which gathered four Tony Awards. After this collaboration, they worked together again to create music for one of the biggest Broadway hits in history, Hamilton, which was nominated for 16 Tony Awards.
Lacamoire has received praised from his collaborators and colleagues for his work. Tommy Kail, director of Hamilton, states, “I don’t even know how to imagine how the show would be without [Lacamoire]. There’s so much of Alex’s spirit and heart in the show. He’s part of the DNA of the show. It is full and complete because of him.”
Based on the life of founding father, Alexander Hamilton, this rap musical set itself apart from other Broadway performances with its hip-hop style songs and multi-ethnic cast. Music from Hamilton even made it to the top of the Billboard charts – both musical and hip-hop!
Lacamoire’s hearing loss, he believes, helped him hone in his talent. He admits that he is hard of hearing but believes that, “It’s about overcoming a disability to the point where you don’t feel it’s a disability anymore.”
The struggles he might have had throughout his early years and his career also became the same motivators that helped him be the creative, musical maelstrom he is today. To Lacamoire, his family, and now to the rest of the world, his hearing loss wasn’t just a disability but also a gift.
Do you, or someone you love, experience hearing loss? Don’t let hearing loss stand in the way of your passions and dreams. Contact us at Preferred Hearing Solutions for a comprehensive hearing test.
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