CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — 8News recently sat down with a blind Midlothian teen who hopes to inspire others as she prepared to hit the national stage for her debut on this season of ‘American Idol.’

Shayy Winn has been singing ever since she saw Anita Baker perform on ‘Showtime at the Apollo.’

“At first it didn’t come off as singing,” she admitted. “It was more so screaming.”

The 18-year-old singer, who attends the Center for the Arts at Thomas Dale, has never looked back.

She is heavily featured in American Idol’s promotional ads, where her story of losing her sight to a brain tumor a year and a half ago — combined with her angelic singing voice — appear to have the judges crying.

She’s never looked at her loss of vision as a drawback, either. Shayy says it’s helped her focus on her music and keep her dream in sight.  

“Instead of paying attention to whose in the audience, whose watching, since you can’t see them, it’s not as bad,” she said. “It helps you get into yourself.”

8News thought Shayy was a star from the get-go. We first met her when she was in line for the ‘Idol Bus’ when it rolled into RVA last Labor Day.

Since then, she’s been to Atlanta to sing for more producers and then moved on to sing in front of the celebrity judges.

“You don’t know what they’re looking for, what they’re thinking,” she explained.

She says the judges were down to earth, but she can’t tell us how far she goes on the show; she doesn’t even know what will appear on tonight’s episode.

She hopes her time on the show will be an inspiration for others who might be afraid of taking that first step because of a disability.

“I want to say, ‘don’t let anything stop you from doing what you love and what you dream to do,'” she says. “Keep on pushing on, you got this.”

Shay moved on to Hollywood after Wednesday night’s show, wowing the judges singing Andra Day’s “Rise Up.”