How a Homeless Boy went from Street to Centre Stage

In 2011 Choi Sung-Bong was 22 years old when he auditioned on Korea’s Got Talent. Believing he had no real talent other than the enjoyment of singing, he took a chance and brought the judges and audience to tears. His dulcet tone was mesmerizing but it was his life story that captured and melted the hearts of the audience.

Struggle on the Streets

Choi’s struggle from street to stage was no easy passage. Left in an orphanage at the age of 3, he was mistreated so ran away. The next 10 years he survived selling gum and energy drinks in the local nightclubs, sleeping in stairwells and in public toilets. Living on the streets, he had no heating, electricity or water. Criminal gangs disliked him, he was beaten and on one occasion they took him to the mountains, dug a hole and buried him. Choi tried to kill himself several times, believing his life was worthless. He never envisaged a different future and thought he should never have been born.

Finding Music was the Turning Point

Despite the hardship, Choi found enjoyment in music. It was one evening in the nightclub when he witnessed a singer on stage sing with sincerity that he realized he was moved by the music. Choi started singing and searched the internet for someone who could teach him, eventually finding an opera singer, Park Jeongso who was willing to instruct him. After hearing Choi’s struggles, Park Jeongso said he could not even consider asking Choi for money. Park Jeongso recommended an arts school for Choi and helped him pass the state exams. For the first time at the age of 16, Choi attended high school.

Choi Wins the Heart of a Nation

Choi’s performance on Korea’s Got Talent moved the audience. After his performance, the hosts said that 50 million people in Korea would cheer for him and 6.5 billion people in the world would cheer for him. Choi did not win Korea’s Got Talent, he was first runner up and won the heart of a nation. Choi has since released his second album in April this year.

This is an incredible story of an orphan with no formal education, simply a love for music that catapulted him to center stage. Choi did not have any particular vision he just knew that singing made him feel good. Wanting to improve on his capabilities he sought a teacher however no one could have anticipated the success Choi received. Often in life we have no idea where we will end up, stay true to your inner calling and the rewards can be huge!