Brandon C. Leake is an African-American spoken word poet, artistic educator and motivational speaker. He won the 15th season of the talent show competition “America’s Got Talent,” which aired on NBC from May 26, 2020 to September 23, 2020.
Hosted by Terry Crews, “America’s Got Talent” Season 15 featured Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, Sofia Vergara and Simon Cowell as judges along with Eric Stonestreet, Kelly Clarkson and Kenan Thompson as guest judges. Runner-up to Leake was the singing guitarists duo Broken Roots while Cristina Rae finished third.
When Leake auditioned for “America’s Got Talent” Season 15, Mandel pressed his Golden Buzzer sending him directly to the quarterfinals. It made Leake the first spoken word poet act to receive the Golden Buzzer in the competition and he went on to become the first poetry act to advance to the finals and win the contest.
Leake is a native of Stockton, California, United States. Here are 13 more facts about him:
- He was born on May 12, 1993 in Stockton to Tyrone and Carla Leake-Gibson. He was raised in Stockton by a single mother who worked 15 different jobs to make sure he was provided for.
- He is 5’10” and weighs 79kg.
- His younger sister Danielle Marie Gibson was only 8 months old when she died in 1997.
- As a young boy, he wanted to try martial arts but he decided it was not for him after witnessing how a friend knock out a kid and break his nose in a karate competition. He then turned his attention to basketball.
- He attended Commodore Stockton Skills School in Stockton where he started writing poetry. His passion for poetry was reignited when he worked with Stockton Poet Laureate Tama Brisbane on an All-America City piece after his college graduation.
- He went to Edison High School in Stockton and Simpson University in Redding, California. He taught English at Edison High School. He had his first teaching job at Able Charter Schools in Stockton and became an academic advisor at Delta College in Stockton.
- He focused on basketball as a freshman on Simpson University’s NCAA Division II team. In 2012, he founded Called To Move with a small student poetry group in the university. It became an organization that enabled him to inspire others through poetry all across the U.S.
- In April 2014, he graduated from Simpson University making him the first college graduate in his family.
- In 2015, he joined a slam poetry team in Sacramento, California.
- In 2016, he released his debut album titled “In My Thoughts,” booked a performance tour for himself and performed 40 shows in 12 states. At a show in Stockton, he met Anna Leake who attended with a mutual friend.
- When he auditioned for “America’s Got Talent” Season 12 in 2017, the show’s screeners rejected him and his audition was not televised. He met his biological father for the first time on August 31, 2017 and he married Anna on September 2, 2017.
- He released a five-track extended play titled “The Classics EP” in September 2018 and “Deficiencies: A Tale From My Dark Side,” a full-length digital album with 14 tracks of spoken poetry, in November 2018. He promoted the album through “The Dark Side Tour,” which started on September 4, 2018 in Arcata, California and ended on December 13, 2018 in Winters, California. He performed not only in 36 U.S. states but also in Canada, Mexico and New Zealand.
- On February 29, 2020, Anna gave birth to their daughter Aaliyah James Leake. His wife and their daughter were at home in Stockton when he stayed in Los Angeles, California, USA to compete in “America’s Got Talent” Season 15.