By Faith, Not By Sight: The Inspirational Story of a Blind Prodigy, a Life-Threatening Illness, and an Unexpected Gift
Scott MacIntyre – the acclaimed singer, songwriter, pianist, and American Idol Season 8 finalist – has released his first book called By Faith, Not By Sight. In the inspirational book, Scott tells how he started playing the piano by ear at 3 years old, began composing music at age 5, started college when he was 14, and at age 23 become the first legally blind person to audition for American Idol. Scott also talks about how he overcame his disability and how he never gave up, even when faced with overwhelming obstacles and serious health issues. “It was a challenge having to compete on Idol without my sight, but I was just grateful to be on any stage, let alone the American Idol stage, after having almost lost my life.”
Scott was homeschooled from kindergarten through high school, so Homeschooling Teen was a huge supporter of Scott during his season on American Idol. A brief look at Scott’s resume will show that he is not the typical “Hollywood wannabe.” To describe him as being incredibly gifted and talented is almost an understatement! Scott is a remarkable guy who accomplished more great things in his youth than most fully sighted people do in their whole lives!
Scott was born on June 22, 1985, in Redondo Beach, California, to Douglas and Carole MacIntyre. The family lived in Toronto, Canada, for four years and then moved to Scottsdale, Arizona where the family attended Scottsdale Bible Church. Scott has a younger brother, Todd (born 1988) and a younger sister, Katelyn (born 1991). Visually impaired since birth, Scott has only a two-percent field of vision, which is like viewing the world through a straw. “Because of my lack of vision, I was drawn to sound,” he told PEOPLE magazine.
Though classically trained since age 6, Scott has written and performed in genres spanning pop, rock, punk, jazz, and classical. In addition to piano, Scott learned to play the organ, guitar, bass and drums. Scott’s other interests while growing up were performing in community theatre and musicals, hiking and skiing with a sighted guide, computer programming, and law. He participated in the YMCA “Youth in Government” program in elected positions as President of the Senate, Senate Majority Leader, and was honored to receive the “Outstanding First Year Senator” award at the Arizona State Capitol for excellence in debate.
As if that’s not enough, Scott and his whole family traveled around the country as the MacIntyre Family Singers. Scott, his mother, and two siblings performed four-part harmonies in various styles ranging from acappella jazz and classical, to Southern gospel and Christian pop, as well as Broadway show tunes. During this time, Scott received many local and national awards for piano, composition, and vocal performance. He performed as guest soloist with several symphony orchestras and played at the Kennedy Center. Scott independently produced his first CD when he was 11 years old.
At age 14, Scott enrolled in Arizona State University’s Barrett Honors College and Herberger College of the Arts. In 2005, he graduated summa cum laude from ASU at age 19 with a bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance. He was nominated “Outstanding Graduate” by the College of Fine Arts, and was named by USA Today as one of the top twenty undergraduate seniors in the nation. The following year, Scott was invited to the White House by First Lady Laura Bush as one of three national Reading for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFB&D) scholarship winners.
As a Marshall Scholar and Fulbright Scholar, Scott continued his education in England where he obtained a masters degree in Performance from the Royal College of Music and Royal Holloway University of London in 2006. He was accepted to both Oxford and Cambridge for further graduate-level studies. However, Scott’s world was rocked by a life-threatening illness that severely hampered his capacity to perform and travel. “I found out I had stage-four kidney failure, and pretty soon I was too sick to even play the piano in my own living room.” After spending ten months undergoing dialysis, in August 2007 Scott received a kidney transplant. The kidney was donated by the wife of one of his piano professors at ASU.
Scott’s career took a dramatic but positive turn when in January 2009 he auditioned for the eighth season of American Idol in Phoenix, Arizona. “I lived and breathed classical music… but pop music was rapidly becoming my fantasy….Was it even plausible to think that I could take on a new musical identity and be successful at it?… my professors and classical piano peers… believed there was a clear fork in the musical road and you had to choose which path you were going to take. I believed I could do both.” Scott was right; he gained many adoring fans during his time on American Idol, and finished in eighth place on April 8, 2009.
Scott continues to captivate listeners around the world, and enjoys bringing his music to all types of audiences. He has performed with many notable acts including Alice Cooper, Jason Mraz, and Queen to name a few, and has headlined concerts in Japan, Austria, England, Canada, and the United States. Scott’s “Christmas Angel” song was one of the top holiday indie singles of 2010, and his Heartstrings CD debuted at #18 on the iTunes Pop Album Chart. “I’ve poured my heart and soul into all 12 original songs,” Scott told PEOPLE. “What you won’t hear on my CD is an over-produced overly-sanitized sound. What you will hear are honest, believable songs delivered with solid conviction. I’ve stayed true to myself in every song.”
While Scott performs professionally, he has also presented hundreds of charity concerts and donated performances for conventions, churches, and athletic events. Scott is also an in-demand inspirational keynote speaker, and has spoken before many different audiences including corporations, health care and education institutions, non-profits, and churches across North America and beyond. Scott was a special guest on Robert Schuller’s “Hour of Power” show at the Crystal Cathedral in California. He has appeared on CNN, Headline News, FOX International, Global TV, Sky News Europe, TV Guide, TBN, and local news affiliates across the country. With his contagious spirit of optimism, Scott is an inspiration to all who hear his music and story.
Scott credits God for his success: “It was my dependence on him—and not in my own strength—that helped me progress toward my dreams.” He also says that all of his awards and honors “validated Mom’s hard work as much as they did mine. Throughout my life she had always been my primary teacher and advocate.” The flexibility of homeschooling allowed him to practice for hours at the piano each day. He was able to progress at his own pace and fine tune his God-given abilities, while learning to work hard and with persistence in spite of his disability.
According to the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), “Scott can easily be considered a success by anyone’s standards. But as a homeschooled graduate, Scott is a shining example of a young person who is taking the education and training given to him by his parents and using it to make a difference in the culture…. Scott stands out not just because of his incredible talent, but also due to his character and Christian testimony.”
As for Scott’s personality, he is kind-hearted, likeable, charismatic, has a great sense of humor, and is not the least bit arrogant. No wonder he moves audiences to laughter, tears, and standing ovations all over the world. On August 18, 2011, Scott married the love of his life, Christina Teich, who he calls “my beautiful soul mate.” They met in a community theater production of The Music Man back in 2003. Scott composed all of the music played at their wedding, and performed a special dedication to his bride during the ceremony. Now instead of Scott’s mother accompanying him as his sighted guide, Christina will be traveling on the road with him. This spring and summer, Scott is performing in cities across the U.S. as part of the Women of Faith One Day tour.
Visit Scott’s website at www.scottmacintyre.com and check out the video of him buying his own book at Walmart! He’s also on Twitter @ScottDMacIntyre and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ScottMacOfficial