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Christopher Duffley - A Talent and a Heart That Will Not Be Stopped

Christopher Duffley and Steven V. Taylor
(Photo : McCain & Co. Public Relations)
Christopher Duffley and producer Steven V. Taylor
Not many unsigned artists can say that they have had over 3.5 million YouTube hits. Not many indie artists can say that they have performed the national anthem at Fenway Park or a NASCAR race (much less both) or performed with Matt Maher, Paul Colman and Paul Baloche. Twelve-year-old singer and multi-instrumentalist Christopher Duffley can. The fact that he is blind and autistic doesn't stop him from giving his all to share God's vision.

Stop and let that sink in for a moment. This little boy is both blind and autistic yet he plays multiple instruments, sings with perfect pitch and is fearless in sharing his Savior through his gifts. Think about some of the people in your life that spend so much time complaining about what they don't have that they don't seem to give a second thought to what they do have. Now dig a little deeper and look at your own life and walk. How many things have you missed because you were too busy lamenting what you didn't have? Christopher Duffley has no sight, yet he sees the gift from a Savior and he gladly shares it. He is autistic, yet he knows the love of God and he invites everyone around him to enter into the gates and feel it.

And now, this amazing child is in the studio with veteran producer Steven V. Taylor (Kirk Franklin,Michael W. Smith, Natalie Grant) working on his first album, a project filled with both inspirational and patriotic songs. He is recording classics like "Amazing Grace" and newer standards like "Open the Eyes of My Heart" and "I Can Only Imagine." "God Bless the USA" and "Lean on Me" are also on deck

In a press release, Taylor talked about Christopher, saying, "I've been blessed to work with a number of extraordinary talents throughout my career, and Christopher Duffley now joins that list. Christopher's gift extends beyond his voice. When listening to him sing, you're actually hearing his heart and that is what has been touching audiences around the country and, through YouTube, the world. We're excited to be in the studio working on a new project so Christopher can continue sharing the talent God gave him with others."

The Story Behind the Story:

When Christopher was born at 26 weeks, weighing only 1 lb., 12 oz. and testing positive for cocaine, the doctors only gave him a 50% chance to even survive. He did survive, but by six months, was totally blind from retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), a disease that is not uncommon in premature babies. His parents were both drug addicts, so he was put into foster care when he was finally able to leave the hospital. When Christine and Stephen Duffley, his aunt and uncle, learned that he was in the system, they found him and took him home to New Hampshire to be part of their family. Raising a special needs child on top of four children between the ages of 8 months and 8 years wasn't easy, but the Duffley's gave each day to God, and He gave them the strength to not just get by, but thrive. When the diagnosis of autism came prior to Christopher's 5th birthday, it explained why he rarely spoke. However, Christine saw that he could make rhythmic noises, keep beat, and pick out songs on the piano, so music therapy was started to help him communicate.

His first grade music teacher heard his voice and knew that he was something special. She taught him "The Star Spangled Banner" and he started singing it at local sporting events. As news of his gift traveled, a cover story was written about him by the Union Leader. From there, his story was picked up by more news outlets. Soon, he was asked to sing the national anthem for the Boston Red Sox, followed by an appearance at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway for a NASCAR race. A video of him singing at the Capitol Center for the Performing Arts was what pushed him into the "viral" category on YouTube. The song? "Open the Eyes of my Heart."

A trip to Nashville to record a self-titled EP came in 2010 and the EP debuted in front of the packed 8,000-member World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. His performance that night led one listener to say, "Here's a little boy who's blind and autistic, and yet he's touching the world. So, what's my excuse?"

Yes, he's blind and he's autistic, but he is touching the world. What excuse do any of us have?

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