Vocalist/Musician Michael Korins
Diagnosed with autism at age three, Michael Korins has struggled in just about every area of his life — except one: music. Michael has perfect pitch, is an accomplished vocalist, and also plays the piano.
“When you ask Michael a question,” says his dad, Dan Korins, “he may delay his answer until he has processed what was asked. He may pause as he tries to find the words he needs. But when he sings, the sky is the limit.”
“So many things are so hard for me to do, but because I am so good at singing, I feel better about myself and I work harder.”
Michael’s musical ability was evident early in his life, and by fourth grade he began performing vocal solos for NYSSMA (New York State School Music Association). Dan explains that the NYSSMA program helped Michael use his natural talent to focus on increasingly difficult musical pieces. In the fall of 2011, Mike was one of only three vocalists in his Long Island, NY, school district selected to perform at the prestigious NYSSMA All-State Conference. “One of Mike’s greatest joys is inspiring others through his singing,” says Dan, noting that he often performs at local disability awareness events.
James Durbin, who received international recognition for his appearance on American Idol, has been one of Mike’s role models. Mike remembers hearing James say once, “I have autism, but autism doesn’t have me.” Dan comments, “Mike strives to live by those words.”
- Hear Michael’s performance of “Up to the Mountain” on YouTube. The performance took place at Adelphi University on October 6, 2012. The occasion was the New York Giants Superbowl Legends fundraiser for the Police Athletic League. The song was originally dedicated to Martin Luther King; Michael chose to dedicate his performance of the piece to the struggle to achieve equality for all people with special needs.
- Another great performance: Michael sang “When You Believe” in August 2012 at the Usdan Music and Visual Arts summer camp. At the time this article was published, it had over 22,000 YouTube views. Dozens of people have posted comments to let Michael know they’ve been inspired by his singing.