50th Post: Like Diamonds

What’s the origin of the phrase ‘A diamond in the rough’?

The phrase is a metaphor clearly referring to the original unpolished state of diamond gemstones, especially those that have the potential to become high quality jewels. It is more commonly expressed in the form ‘rough diamond’. So, these artists represented here typically have dramatically improved in their singing and/or playing instruments over time.

To date, we have included five artists: Davon Fleming, Donald Gould, Dorota Osinka, Barry Sadler, and Courtney Timmons.

Photo credit: INDIAmart
Dorota Osinska
Photo credit: kultura.onet.pl

Dorota Osińska (born November 12, 1978 in Wroclaw, Dolnoslaskie, Poland). She is a Polish musical theatre actress and pop singer. While Dorota is mostly self-taught, when younger, her vocal chords were to delicate for classical training. So, as a result, today she has an unusual wide range and pitch which produces a very strong emotional effect.

Her first solo album was recorded in 2004. Eventually, her greatest achievement was earning second place in the Voice of Poland talent show in 2013. During this Voice competition she sang “Calling You” (https://youtu.be/_LNcX1eS6qA) (RQ 10+). I believe this is one of the best auditions I have ever witnessed! This led to her second full-length album in 2014. All the while, she also had numerous guest appearances on many compilations with religious or poerty-based productions.

Davon Fleming
Photo credit: mjsbigblog.com

Davon Fleming (25 years old) recently was a contestant on The Voice Season 13 and a member of Team Jennifer. His blind audition of the Amy Winehouse song “Me & Mr. Jones”(https://youtu.be/0YYFTUBmTGQ) (RQ 10) turned all four chairs. He was instantly eliminated alongside Keisha Renee in the Top 8, after both contestants received the least amount of votes in that week.

Davon (hometown: Baltimore, MD) grew up in a rough neighborhood, experienced a lot of poverty and witnessed hustling on the streets, but he was never caught on the wrong side of the law. Instead, he was known as the singer in his neighborhood. Davon knew he wanted to sing at three years old after watching his mother perform in the church choir. Being a singer was always his mom’s dream before she had kids, but she had to give up that dream in order to support her family. Currently, Davon works as a worship leader and assists with the musical arrangements for the church choir performances.

Courtney Timmons
From: Georgia
Security Guard, to an Idols backdoor tryout, to pro
Idols (RQ 7): https://youtu.be/19BGjXQRth8
“Soulmate” duet with Billy Walker (RQ 10+)
https://youtu.be/L4j_dHjrbwo
Photo credit: YouTube screenshot
Donald Gould
“Yesterday”
https://youtu.be/PjYUODTUsvc
Photo credit: YouTube screenshot
Donald Gould “Today”
Photo credit: YouTube screenshot

Donald Gould (aka The Homeless Piano Man) is an American musician, composer and U.S military veteran. Originally from Michigan, Gould played the clarinet from an early age. When he served in the United States Marine Corps, he played for the Marine Corps Band. Once he left the Marines, he studied music education at Spring Arbor University but due to financial difficulties was unable to complete his studies.

When his wife committed suicide in 1998, Gould developed a substance abuse addiction and he eventually became homeless. It wasn’t until 2015 when he sat down at an outdoor piano in Sarasota, Florida and played ‘Come Sail Away’ by American rock band STYX that his musical talent was discovered. The performance video was recorded by a passerby and became viral overnight with millions of views on YouTube. He has signed with the independent record label Triple Pop and has released one studio album, “Walk On Water” (https://youtu.be/-aMJS6uNsX4) (RQ 8).

Barry Sadler – Green Beret (Viet Nam War 1964-65)
Photo credit: devianart.co
Barry Sadler
Photo credit: genius.com

Barry Allen Sadler (November 1, 1940 – November 5, 1989) was an American soldier, singer/songwriter, and author. Sadler served as a Green Beret medic, achieving the rank of Staff Sergeant. He served in the Vietnam War from late December 1964 to late May 1965. Most of his work has a military theme, and he is best known for his patriotic “Ballad of the Green Berets” (https://youtu.be/BugBwt2ESpo) (RQ 10) a #1 hit in 1966.