America’s Got Talent contestant found dead at 23

Former America’s Got Talent contestant Skilyr Hicks has been found dead in a friend’s home on Monday 6th December in South Carolina from what is suspected as an overdose. Skilyr appeared on the eighth season of America’s Got Talent and only being 14 at the time, she performed a song she wrote called Brand New Day which was about her dad’s death. Hicks shared unsettling comments about how music helped her to heal when no one else could in her very last Facebook post before she passed at age 23. The post consisted of her explaining how music ‘helped me cry the tears that I was holding onto for so long. It has showed me that I don’t have to put on this so called “metaphorical mask” that everyone seems to be putting on these days. Her mother had told TMZ that her daughter struggled with depression and previous substance abuse.

In 2017, Hicks had been charged with domestic violence after she had attacked her grandmother, sister, and aunt after a long night of drinking. When police had taken her BAC levels, she was drastically above the level of what is considered legal intoxication. She was also arrested again the next year for underage drinking and intoxication in Ohio.

Whilst on the show, Skilyr explained how she was a self-taught musician trying to cope with the loss of the father who had died a year prior to the audition. The song she performed was an original she had written for his funeral. She detailed how writing music about her father’s death helped her ‘let out all the emotion that was building inside’. 

The cause of her death is not completely clear however it is suspected that it was an accidental overdose considering her background with depression and substance abuse. Fans are remembering her beautiful vocals and soul by leaving heart-felt messages.

Aiysha Hussain