Reality show star coming to Idaho Falls this weekend has a message for young people

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Emmanuel Kelly Courtesy photo

IDAHO FALLS — Emmanuel Kelly is taking the world stage by storm and his next stop will be Idaho Falls.

Kelly first gained prominence when he appeared on the UK reality show “The X Factor.”

Kelly was born in Iraq with no limbs. He was found in a park in the middle of a war zone with no birth certificate, no form of identity. This created a challenge for the nuns who rescued him. There was no way of knowing how old he was. To this day, Kelly told he still is not sure exactly how old he is.

“I think the biggest challenge for me is I can’t rob a bank,” Kelly jokes. “To rob a bank without an identity would have been fantastic. No seriously, I used to have this perception that because I didn’t have a legal identity I didn’t know who I was, and that was very difficult.”

Kelly recalls being teased by other kids because he didn’t know his name. Kelly stayed in an orphanage for a few years until he was adopted by Moira Kelly in Melbourne, Australia.

During his time in the orphanage, Kelly remembers singing himself to sleep every night.

“It was more the melodies I learned than the words. So, I would hum those melodies. When I got sick of those melodies, I would create my own.”

After going to Australia, Kelly realized not everyone who sang sounded good. He discovered a talent and decided to pursue a singing career.

Kelly has since had a birth certificate created for him, and according to that, he is 22. He has also had multiple surgeries to give him prosthetic limbs.

Since appearing on “The X Factor” in 2011, he’s had the opportunity to share the stage with Coldplay. Kelly is currently working on an album and planning a tour throughout Latin America in 2019.

Kelly will be the featured performer at Every Life Worth Living, a benefit concert at Bonneville High School this Saturday for local charities. Event coordinator Rein Weil says the group planning this event first met Kelly in St. George, Utah.

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“Kelly gave a motivational presentation to them. They were really impressed with Kelly. So they decided to bring him to Idaho Falls to speak with some youth groups. We later came up with the idea of involving the entire community,” Weil says.

Kelly feels the obstacles he’s dealt with in his life puts him in a unique position to share an important message with the world.

“I’m not just a disabled artist. I am an artist. My aim is to have people recognize me as a human being who has the ability to inspire, to motivate, who has a responsibility to help young people believe in themselves,” Kelly says. “This Saturday, that’s the message I’ll be sending out to these kids.”

The event starts at 7:30 p.m. The event is open to everyone. There is no cost to attend, but donations are encouraged.