Nightbirde is dropping out of America’s Got Talent due to cancer, but she still hopes to ‘show people what is possible’ – interview
Update: Sadly, Nightbirde lost her battle with cancer on 19 February, 2022. STYLE conducted the below interview with the budding songstress in August 2021 after she made the shock announcement to leave American Idol.
If there’s anyone that exemplifies beauty both inside and out, it’s Nightbirde. The singer, born Jane Marczewski, flew onto the world’s radar when she sang about her struggle with cancer on season 16 of America’s Got Talent.
She soared through the audition having received the coveted “Golden Buzzer” from Simon Cowell, which took her straight to the quarter finals. She then made it through those and would have competed in the live semi-finals on August 10 if it weren’t for a devastating setback: Marczewski announced this week that she would be dropping out of the show as her health had “taken a turn for the worse”.
During her audition, the singer shared that she had a “2 per cent chance of survival” with cancer in her lungs, spine and liver. Nevertheless, she still managed to look on the bright side, saying “2 per cent isn’t 0 per cent. Two per cent is something and I wish people knew how amazing it is”.
I approached her to chat about her life for my Beautiful Inside/Out column, and she has a lot to say about her understanding of pain and well-being.
The It’s OK singer explains that she is so open about her pain because she does not want to lie to herself and others on social media.
“When you can show you are an ‘imperfect person’ to the world, then it does not matter if they like you or not, because you have already accepted yourself,” she says.
She points out that pain can often be attached to stigma and be associated with weakness and shame, but “it just takes one brave person to tell the truth”.
Marczewski has certainly shown ample bravery in her life so far. The 30-year-old singer-songwriter was first diagnosed with cancer in 2017, which was treated and pronounced medically cleared. By early January 2020, however, she was told that her cancer had returned and spread to her liver, lungs and spine. Two weeks after that, her husband asked for a divorce, which pushed things to the breaking point for her.
“I literally wished to be put to rest,” Marzewski says. With the help of loved ones, however, she altered her outlook on life, and has since discovered the importance of positive thinking. “Our thoughts have so much power over our body and our lives,” she says. “I do not know how this world works, but I know for sure the words that we say impact our reality.”
She explains that while she was searching for fame before adversity struck, pain has since taught her a valuable lesson about what matters the most to her: “Life does not owe you anything – anything you get is a gift. The ‘goals’ we seek out of life, all they are is just an attempt to fill up the emptiness in us.”
Today, she is the voice we didn’t know we needed in a tough world during tough times, balancing inner strength with self-awareness; a realistic outlook with a core of optimism.
“None of us are everything we wish we were,” she says. “The purpose of my life is to show people what is possible.”
Watch the video of the interview here:
- Jane Marczewski got the ‘Golden Buzzer’ from Simon Cowell, which took her to the quarter finals, but she’s leaving the reality TV show due to worsening health
- She has a ‘2 per cent’ chance of surviving cancer in her lungs, spine and liver, but hopes to destigmatise pain by opening up on social media