“America’s Got Talent” Singer Nightbirde Lives On in Posthumous Album

Nightbirde’s family has honored her legacy and pleased fans like myself with an album beyond anyone’s expectations.


Official album cover of “It’s OK.”

Sarah Kueking, Managing Editor

Scrolling through my Google feed earlier this year, I stumbled across an article announcing the posthumous release of Nightbirde’s debut album, “It’s OK.” I had been a fan of hers ever since I saw her sing on “America’s Got Talent” in 2021, so I made it a point to listen to the album as soon as it came out. 

Nightbirde was diagnosed with breast cancer and passed away from it on Feb. 19, 2022. In 2021, she decided to audition for “America’s Got Talent” and earned Simon Cowell’s Golden Buzzer, which put her straight through to the live shows. However, she became too ill to compete and ended up passing away less than a year after her audition aired on television.

On the anniversary of her death this year, Feb. 19, “It’s OK” was available for pre-order. The album was officially released on March 10. Nightbirde previously released an EP called “Lines” in 2012 and another EP called “Ocean and Sky” in 2013 under her legal name, Jane Marczewski, but “It’s OK” is the only album ever released under the stage name Nightbirde. 

One aspect of the album that makes it unique is that it is a mix of 11 spoken word tracks, each spoken by Nightbirde and under one minute long, as well as nine songs. The spoken word pieces must have been necessary to fill space, but they were unique and moving for the most part.

Additionally, all of the songs, except one, have two versions on the album: a pop version within the first ten tracks, and another version, such as a live version or a remix, within the second ten tracks. This might seem a bit repetitive, but considering the limited amount of material available for the producers to work with, I think it works. 

The first track, “Nightbirde,” is a spoken word piece explaining how the artist came up with her stage name. She had a recurring dream about birds singing in the middle of the night for two nights in a row, but on the third night, she woke up, and there actually were birds singing in the tree outside her window at three in the morning.

“These birds were singing as if the sun had come up, but there was no proof of the sun yet,” Nightbirde explains. “I wanted to embody that, that I would hope even when there was no proof that I should.”

“Nightbirde” is an effective choice as the first track of the album. It introduces Nightbirde as an artist in her own words even though it is impossible to ask her to introduce herself anymore. The story about the birds is also intriguing enough to hold my attention for the full 43 seconds. 

Although the second track, another spoken word piece called “Don’t You Wanna See What Happens,” has a good message about not giving up, it’s too short to function as its own track, with the track only being four seconds long. When I listen to the album on YouTube, I sometimes get ads before or after it, which interrupt the flow of my listening far more than if I listened to a song for three minutes. 

The pop version of the song “It’s OK” marks the third track and first song of the album. The alternative track is a live version of the song, which sits at number nineteen on the album. The titular song is also the song that Nigthbirde sang at her “America’s Got Talent” audition, although the version later in the album sounds much closer to the rendition she sang that day. The song is about Nightbirde’s battle against cancer. However, I like it because it’s about so much more than cancer. Rather, it’s about getting through and staying optimistic during tough times, something that Nightbirde tried to teach the world and successfully taught me. My opinion may be skewed due to the number of times I have rewatched the audition, but the pop version does not do the song justice. The instrumentation is too upbeat and the tempo too quick to convey the struggle Nightbirde went through. However, knowing Nightbirde’s undying optimism, maybe she would prefer the happier-sounding version. Her family, who made the album, would know best.

Having already been a part of the genre from the beginning, “New Year’s Eve,” the fifth track, sounds much better in pop form, even compared to the remix that makes up the thirteenth track in the album. The song is much more lighthearted, focusing on wanting to be loved by someone and celebrating New Year’s Eve with that person. The upbeat instrumentation and quick tempo serve the flirtatious implications and lighthearted atmosphere of this song well. I love the fun vibes to the song, which contrast sharply with and are led up to perfectly by the song “It’s OK.” I also appreciated the theme of the New Year representing a fresh start, regardless of what happened the year before. I like how realistic the lyrics are as well. Nightbirde sings about how her year was tumultuous: “It’s been a hell of a year/But, no, I don’t really wanna talk about it/Been lots of joy, lots of tears/Lots of highs and lows but you know that’s how it goes.”

“Brave,” the eleventh track of the album, is the only song that only has one version on the album. It’s presented as the recording of a live performance. The song is about supporting someone no matter what. The instrumentation is minimal, and Nightbirde’s soft vocals reign supreme, highlighting the intimate meaning of the track. I love both Nightbirde’s vocals and lyrics in “Brave.” To start off the song, she sings, “I swear to you/That I won’t make you fake it/Say that you’re okay/If you’re wasting away.” I love how Nightbirde is assuring whoever the song is meant for that they can be themselves around her. She continues to assure the target of the song that she supports them no matter what, which I like. 

The final track is the spoken word piece “I Was Strong,” and it breaks my heart every time I hear it.

“‘Cause when I am gone, I hope they will say, I was strong,” Nightbirde whispers, her voice so weak that you wonder if she ever spoke again after that.

Although “I Was Strong” is only nine seconds long, it’s at the end of the album and does not affect the flow of my listening. It’s a tear-jerker, and the tone of Nightbirde’s voice makes me think those could have been her last words. 

Overall, I enjoyed this album, especially after thinking I would never see any more music from Nightbirde again. The spoken word pieces were a creative way to give the album more sustenance even though some of them were a bit short. As for the songs, having two versions of most of them was a good way to appeal to a wider audience, although I usually gravitate more towards one version than the other. However, if I had to pick between the two, I preferred the songs over the spoken word pieces. In general, I prefer music over listening to people talk. But when  Nightbirde was alive, I only listened to her songs on YouTube rather than her motivational posts on social media because I didn’t have any accounts. Therefore, I am more accustomed to her songs than listening to her talk.

A physical copy of the album “It’s OK” can be purchased here at The Official Nightbirde Store, or you could listen to or purchase it digitally on Apple Music, Spotify, iTunes, YouTube Music, deezer, or Soundcloud here. Proceeds will go to the Nightbirde Foundation, a group founded by the Marczewski family that helps women battling breast cancer.