AGT winner Murphy earns high school equivalency diploma

LOGAN, W.Va. (AP) — “America’s Got Talent” winner Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. put his down time during the coronavirus pandemic to good use, earning his high school equivalency diploma 30 years after dropping out.

With his road performances eliminated by the virus shutdown, the singer took online classes during the spring and summer.

“My manager and a few close friends kind of teamed up and encouraged me to make this downtime really count for something, and I’m so glad I did,” Murphy, a Logan, West Virginia native, said in a statement.

Murphy dropped out of school in the 11th grade, a decision that haunted him for years. He worked numerous odd jobs and at one point was living out of his car.

In 2011, Murphy’s smooth renditions of Frank Sinatra hits helped earn him $1 million, his own Las Vegas show and a recording contract when he won the NBC talent show.

“Landau is a great example that determination leads to success”, said Mike York, an adult education instructor who helped Murphy prepare to take the equivalency test.

Now Murphy has become an advocate for adult literacy.

“You’ve got to do this for yourself, to give you a shot at creating a better life,” he said.