Nightbirde, Christian Singer Made Famous on ‘America’s Got Talent,’ Called Home

“You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy,” the singer told her audience.

“Empty Stage”
“Empty Stage” (photo: Stocksnap / Pixabay / CC0)

Former America’s Got Talent contestant Jane “Nightbirde” Marczewski died at 31 years old of cancer this week, four years after receiving her initial diagnosis in 2019.

“Her lasting legacy will be the gift of hope she gave to so many through her music and the strength she found in Jesus,” her family said in an obituary

A fan favorite on the show, having received a golden buzzer in 2021 from Simon Cowell for her song It’s OK, she’s remembered by her family and friends for her joyful personality and Christian faith. During her pre-performance interview with the judges onstage, she told them the cancer was in her back, lungs and liver, all the while maintaining a positive outlook.  

“She dedicated her high school years volunteering with the youth ministry at Cornerstone Church in Licking County, Ohio. She also spent many nights and weekends leading worship at Christian events throughout Ohio. It was during this time when she cultivated her love for music and ministry,” her family said.

“[During college], when she was not writing or singing, she shared Jesus with underprivileged youngsters in her neighborhood while providing them snacks after school.”

She led worship services at the Belonging Church in Nashville, Tennessee and also volunteered as a camp counselor and at the Davidson County Jail, according to the obituary.

“Many now know the Lord because of her evangelism and commitment to Christ,” her family said. “Those who knew her enjoyed her larger-than-life personality and sense of humor. She had a witty joke for every occasion — even if the joke was on her.”

After her breakout performance on America’s Got Talent, she had to withdraw from the show a short time later due to health complications. 

“That felt like the most authentic thing I have heard this season,” Howie Mandel said of her first performance on the show.

Despite the continued reappearance of her illness — she lived with three bouts with cancer — she remained in warm and hopeful spirits in the messages she shared online.

“You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy,” she said after her first performance.

Celebrities who met Marczewski during her singing career have reached out to share their affection and prayers for the deceased artist and her family. 

Cowell, the creator of America’s Got Talent, wrote on Twitter, “Heart breaking news to hear about @_nightbirde, she was an extraordinary person, so brave, so talented. She made a huge impact on AGT and the world. Her determination to fight this terrible illness was remarkable. Rest in peace, Jane. I am sending my love to her family. Simon.”

In November 2021, she published an Instagram post sharing her reflections on the last 20 months of illness. 

The miracles she has always expected, she wrote, she thought would let her skip to the end, spared of pain and scar-free.

“I did get a miracle — just not the one I wanted,” she wrote. “I get to look for light and find it. I get to see how much love can endure. I get to walk the journey with thousands of people like me, who can’t stop hoping, no matter how hard we try.

“If we only take the miracles that taste sweet, I don’t think we’ll ever taste one. If we wait until we have the perfect song, I don’t think we’ll ever sing. Don’t miss it — it’s now. We are in the miracle; we are in the dream.”