Though Darci Lynne Farmer has been successful, she said she has stayed grounded and made sure her faith is still a big part of her life.
The 17-year-old Oklahoma native won “America’s Got Talent” as a singing ventriloquist at 12 — the same year she decided to follow Christ. She came in second two years later on the “AGT: Champions” season.
Darci Lynne describes herself — as do her friends and family — as “an old soul.” She loves a variety of music genres a typical teen may never have heard — jazz, funk, soul and ragtime — and watching classic movies that include those styles.
Developing her skills
Before the quarantine she had been touring for four years and was rarely home, especially on weekends. When she wasn’t able to tour, she made time to hang out with her best friend and learn to drive, important to any teenager. But Darci Lynne also worked on her act.
“I was at home all day, every day. It was so weird,” she said. “So I took it upon myself to get into things that I usually wouldn’t be able to do when I was on the road. One was songwriting … which was just so fulfilling and super-fun to explore and to learn that craft,” she said. “This show is a lot of my ideas and my vision. I’m really proud of it.”
When she performed recently at Birmingham’s BJCC Concert Hall, she brought her puppets Katie, the yodeling cowgirl; Petunia, the operatic diva rabbit; Oscar, a shy mouse; Edna, elderly and outspoken; and her newest, Ivan, a one-eyed purple Australian. She also brought her amazing voice and new songwriting skill, performing three original songs with her live band.
After her first AGT win, a top priority for the $1 million in prize money was to give a portion to her church, Darci Lynne said, but she hasn’t yet been able to work her faith into her show.
“It’s just a matter of figuring out what that would look like,” she said. “Even outside of my shows, I want to think on opportunities and moments where I can share what I believe in with other people, especially the kids I inspire.
“But [my faith] is really important to me and if I’m home I go to my church. If I’m only home on Wednesdays, I go then,” she said. “It’s hard to be a Christian in this business. It’s very pressuring and it’s not that cool.”
She attends New Covenant Methodist Church on Sundays when she isn’t performing, though she’s able to be more consistent attending the youth program on Wednesday nights at Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City.
One of her favorite aspects of performing, Darci Lynne noted, is how she can inspire others to learn the fading form of comedy — ventriloquism.
“This happens every show — I always see kids who come into my shows and sit in the audience and bring their own ventriloquist puppets. It’s so cool. I see how their faces light up whenever I’m singing or performing. They have their puppets and their puppets are just nodding along. It’s the coolest thing to see.”
Her goal when starting to perform, even before AGT, was for “kids my age to know about ventriloquism more. I wanted to share this gift with the world because it was dying.”
She also loves the age-range within her audiences, from 3 to 83.
“This world needs something that is fun and entertaining and enjoyable for everyone to watch,” Darci Lynne said. “I think that’s super important, especially for kids. There’s songs of all different genres and a live band, which is a really important aspect to me, then the puppets, which bring the life and the comedy.”
Throughout the journey, Darci Lynne has learned that it’s okay to be unique, crediting her puppets for giving her confidence. Now she’s looking to the future. Though she loves ventriloquism, she has always been adamant that she’s more than a ventriloquist. She’s praying for clarity about what to do after graduation in 2023.