Dreams really do come true. Joshua Danial Johnson, 23, and Salvador Augustine Ling Jun An, 16, have always dreamed of showing the world what they can do. Finally, they have.
When the Malaysian duo made it to the finals of the Autistic Talent Gala 2017 – which was organised by the AnAn International Education Foundation – in Hong Kong in December, they couldn’t believe it.
They also managed to clinch the Best Duet Award and Appreciation Award, representing their country. The competition aims to promote social equality and integration as well as public understanding and respect towards autistic children.
“The boys did very well,” said Edwin Nathaniel, 59, their coach and manager. Nathaniel added that he hoped they would seize more opportunities like this in the future.
For the competition, the duo performed an original composition written by Joshua called Short And Sweet. Salvador sang the lead vocals and Joshua accompanied him on the guitar, as well as backed him up vocally.
“Everyone came up to me and told me how good my original composition was,” beamed Joshua, who was diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) when he was four years old. He was happy with his overall performance, and even managed to nail his guitar solo.
“We had loads of fun and even made some new friends,” shared Salvador, who has mild Asperger Syndrome. He loves meeting new people, and found new friends among his fellow contestants. While in Hong Kong, they had lots of fun exploring the city, taking in the sights and generally having the time of their lives.
Now that they’re back in Kuala Lumpur, Nathaniel has big plans for the boys to keep the momentum going, encouraging them to continue performing in front of large audiences. Joshua, who enjoys song-writing and has already penned quite a few, wants to ultimately release a single one day.
“They are true performers,” declared Nathaniel.