‘America’s Got Talent 2019-2020 with Olean High School
It was mostly fear that held the 1971 graduate back, but eventually fear of the spotlight turned into fear of regret.
“I was afraid of getting 20 years down the road and saying, ‘Boy, if I had just gotten enough courage to get on stage,’” Bolden says. “It would be very painful to feel like I could have done this if I had had the courage. That pain is kind of what moved me to say, ‘OK, I’m going to try it.’ And I did.”
Now, a few decades after he started singing professionally, Bolden is having what he called a “once-in-a-lifetime experience” while competing with the 160-voice Angel City Chorale on “America’s Got Talent.”
After earning the show’s coveted “golden buzzer” to send them straight to the live rounds of the reality show, Bolden and Angel City Chorale will appear in the quarterfinals tonight at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Those back in Olean can watch them when the show airs at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.
Speaking by phone Monday night from Los Angeles, where the Olean native has lived since 2001, Bolden discussed his experience competing on national television with the L.A.-based choir community he has been a part of for six years
Bolden was the soloist for Angel City Chorale’s performance of “Baba Yetu” that earned the group its golden buzzer from guest judge Olivia Munn, although he downplays his role in that.
“I wasn’t about me,” he says. “It was really about how cool it was to have this group and we all work so hard and it’s paying off for us.”
Plus, he has he and his wife’s adoptive 5-year-old daughter to keep him humble. During a viewing party for the golden buzzer episode a couple weeks ago, someone asked his daughter if it was cool to see her dad on TV.