No one knows how easily everything can change in a minute better than Jacksonville’s Sylvia Witte.
Six years ago, Witte was involved in a car accident where the driver was drunk. She was the only sober person involved in the crash, and also the only one to suffer significant injuries. The crash resulted in a broken spine and permanent paralysis; Witte, formerly a promising young dancer, was heartbroken.
“It was difficult,” Witte says of the experience. “I would dream that I was walking, then wake up and I was in a wheelchair or in the bed. I would see people on TV, and they’re all walking.”
Witte was not defeated by the disability, though. She was convinced by a friend to sing karaoke at a nearby bar, where she impressed the crowd as well as the owner. Soon, she found music to be her new method of expression.
Pursuing Her Dreams
Witte decided to try to take her singing talents, and her unique perspective, to a national audience by auditioning for the upcoming new season of “The Voice” this fall. Witte submitted her audition recently, which included an interview, two songs, and two music videos, and expects to hear back from producers sometime in the summer. She’s done all of this while working a full-time job in the financial services industry.
Previously, she had competed in “Jacksonville’s Got Talent”, where she was a semifinalist. She lost to a friend, but says she doesn’t hold any grudges.
“He danced like Usher, he deserved it,” she adds.
Witte has lived in Jacksonville since she was 9. Before her accident, she was a member of the dance team at Fleming Island High School. She’s performed at karaoke nights all across the city, and has been involved with the Walk of Hope Foundation’s local operations.
Having a contestant on “The Voice” from Jacksonville with such a compelling backstory would certainly make the city proud.
While waiting to hear back from “The Voice”, Witte continues to work on her first single, “Stronger”, which according to manager and producer Don Beliakoff should be out sometime in the next few weeks or so. The song focuses on a message of resilience in the face of adversity, a subject with which Witte is all too familiar, and is described as “country-pop”.
Witte hopes to use her newly-forming music career to be an advocate for those who face difficult situations like the one she found herself in six years ago.
Hopefully, “The Voice” will choose to let her spread her message and make Jacksonville proud.