How Tyra Banks Helped Amazing 'AGT' Violinist Boost His Confidence Before Mind-Blowing Audition (Exclusive)

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As electric guitarist Brian King Joseph proved with his amazing performance on Tuesday's America's Got Talent, he's not going to let anything keep him from his dream.

The talented performer hit the AGT stage, where he wowed the judges with his amazing performance and his powerful personal journey that led him to audition for the reality competition series.

As a child, Joseph began playing violin, but several years ago he was diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy, a rare nerve disease that leads to the deterioration of nerves in the fingers, feet and spine. The ailment left him essentially bedridden throughout the end of high school and his early college years.  

"Anything physical just kind of was out of the door for me. I kind of felt that that was the end for me," Joseph recently told ET's Denny Directo. "Around the age of 22, after just constantly being in bed, constantly being in pain, I realized that I was so sad and the only thing that could make me happy, that would always make me happy, was my violin. And I hadn't been able to bring that back into my life."

After years of pain, Joseph said he one day reached a point where he refused to let his condition dictate the value of his life, and decided to fight back using his love of music.

"It turned out the violin was the thing that actually helped me," Joseph said, crediting the "adrenaline" rush he feels when he makes his own music and plays it for others.

Playing the violin also gave him a new reason to live when he "started to notice it made other people feel better as well."

"I found a purpose. A totally new purpose, and it gives me that drive, it gives me that power and I feel like I can just get through whatever I'm going through because I'm creating something that can make people happy," he said. "And, in a way, it's like I'm healing myself."

At the depth of his darkest days, Joseph said he found himself feeling like he was "garbage, trash, not worth being used," but finding peace through music, and getting to pursue his dream on America's Got Talent, has allowed him to come back from the brink and he's now "in a completely different space."

However, that doesn't mean he wasn't nervous when it came time to audition. Joseph said the experience was "more than nerve-wracking," due to the intimidating presence of the judges.

"Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel and Mel B are sitting right in front of you. I mean, like, you can see them. They are immediately, as soon as you're on that stage, looking at you and taking it all in," the violinist recalled. "I think for me it was unreal to just hear them speak my name. That's something I think stuck with me this whole time."

"It was a humbling experience," Joseph added.

However, he got a lot of help from host Tyra Banks, who proved to be an source of real emotional support for the artist before taking the stage.

"Tyra, to me, is the representation of everything good about beauty and happiness and smizing," he said, smiling. 

Recounting the moments before his audition, Joseph, who admits he's "a little bit of a fanboy" for the model, said Banks gave him that extra boost of self-esteem that powered him through his performance.

"I'm like, 'Hey.' And she turns around, waves back and says, 'Hi cheekbones,' Joseph recalled. "She gave me a huge boost of confidence right there. She's the queen. She made me feel amazing, and she's honestly one of my favorite things about this show."

The inspiring young artist certainly won over the judges and the audience when he walked out, where he gleefully admitted that being there was "a dream come true," and that he planned to give the audition everything he's got because every time he performs, he doesn't know if it's the last time he'll be able to.

From the moment he played the first frenetic note in his cover of the EDM hit "Lean On" by Major Lazer and DJ Snake, the audience was absolutely enthralled, and his mind-blowing performance earned him a standing ovation that brought Joseph to tears.

"I think this is my favorite audition today," Cowell praised, after Joseph received a hug from Klum. However, it was Mandel who shared the kindest words. 

"You are not only a lesson in great talent and great spirit, you're a lesson in how each person watching in this moment should be living their life right now. It is you," Mandel marveled.

Joseph easily blew away the judges and earned four 'Yes' votes, moving him on to the next round of competition. Now he's looking forward to continuing to pursue his passion in the future -- which is one of the reasons he's hoping to earn the $1,000,000 that comes with winning AGT.

"If I'm able to take care of myself properly, then I can continue to make music for as long as I possibly can. That's what I'm hoping to do now," Joseph said, explaining that one of the things he plans on doing with the money is explore medical options to help treat and regulate his medical condition.

However, the musician says his own health is actually "kind of secondary" to his main goal, which is to use the money to "create opportunities for people like me."

"I feel very, very lucky, and I just know other people need that break. I'm so lucky to be on that stage doing what I do, and to be able to share that with people has changed my life," he shared.

"A lot of this world is negative. They say, 'No, no, no.' I just feel like I broke out of something that people would definitively say, 'You can't do this, just no.' Turns out that's not true," Joseph added. "And if that's not true for me, then it's not true for anyone else. They can do it as well. I think that's the coolest thing."

America's Got Talent airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.


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