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Biography

When you think your situation is hopeless, you may want to consider one of Louisiana's most inspiring stories of determination and courage. Ben Waites was born with arthrogryposis, and while his body may be bound to a wheelchair, his spirit is soaring through the gift of song. 

 

At a young age, Ben was inspired by his grandfather, Jim Waites, a talented singer and founder of the Gospel Tones Quartet. Ben knew he had to find his calling and to make something out of his life. His desire to spread the Gospel directed Ben to begin musical training.

 

Jim was glad to help, but Ben struggled with singing. He was tone deaf and had difficulty reading music as well. Finally, after three long months, something clicked in Ben’s mind.

 

“It baffled me at first because in my head were all these different colors,” said Ben. “When I sing ‘It Is Well’, there is a deep red, and some green. Through it, I can match the pitch and read the style of the song. It’s almost like a connection through that. That was really what helped me with music. I couldn’t read music or understand the technique; all I had was color.” 

 

In December of 2010, Ben graduated from Louisiana College with an interdisciplinary concentration of music, communications, and theater arts. He received several scholarships during his years at college, and was given the honor of singing at his own graduation. The entire auditorium was on its feet, cheering and applauding the seemingly unlikely student with the beautiful voice. 

 

“It was truly amazing!” said Ben. “Not because I was singing but it was an opportunity to show God’s faithfulness. Because of His grace and mercy, I’m able to push on see my dreams become reality.” 

 

Singing has become such a crucial part of Ben’s life and career, but music is not his whole life. Growing up, he had a happy, fulfilling life and supportive family. He says he did everything the other kids did, just with a little help sometimes. Ben chose to sing, but he knows that he will be fine with or without his gifted voice. 

 

“Music is my language but I can’t say it’s the most important thing in my life,” said Ben. “When I do a concert, it’s never about the music. God is my pilot, I’m just the co-pilot. I’ll sing as many songs as I can, but if I can’t communicate the message then I don’t need to be singing anyway. It’s just the tool, and I have the rest of my life to study and train. I do have the goals that I’d like to achieve, but they’re not mandatory or a necessity.” 

 

In 2010, Ben’s grandfather passed away, but his memory lives on. Ben has already accomplished so much and will continue to share his gifts to prove that anyone can succeed no matter the circumstances.

 

“That’s the key, nothing is impossible. If you set your mind to it, you can do it!”