WARNER ROBINS, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - National Broadway tours, vocal chops, and the backing of one of Whitney Houston's former producers--Warner Robins native LaTonya Holmes feels lucky. She's in L.A. now, but she started her career by accident.
"I played basketball, I was starting point guard..and someone told Mr. Gerald Ray Horne that I could sing, and he asked me to audition for the one act play, 'The Wiz,'" she recalls. She started pursuing her dream onstage at Northside High School.
That began a long journey, ending with two Broadway tour contracts with Little Shop of Horrors and The Color Purple.
But her yellow-brick road would have some potholes. It was on a much bigger stage and in front of a much bigger audience that a freak accident, changed her perspective, and her life. During a performance of The Color Purple, in an intense scene, things got a little too physical--LaTonya hit her head on a set piece, and lost sight in her left eye.
"I couldn't do anything I was totally declared disabled," she said. She was devastated.
"I gave up."
It was almost as hard on her parents in Warner Robins as it was her. "At one point she said 'Daddy, I guess I'll never act again...'" I never thought I'd hear that," says her father, Clifford Holmes. But in her despair, her father's voice came to her.
"I kept hearing my dad saying 'You're a Holmes, we don't quit, we fight!,'" she said with a smile.
So she fought...working with doctors, psychiatrists and therapists to restore her vision and her career. By nothing short of a miracle, two years later, she could see again. She says her belief in God, and herself is what healed her. Now, she's working with Grammy-winning songwriter Narada Michael Walden producing her debut EP.
"This is a dream has come true already," she says.
LaTonya's mother, Rosa Holmes, has a life-motto. "Dreams plus action equals reality...and we have taught Tonya you have to act on your dream." And for LaTonya, her dream never died, she just took a small detour--but like her character Nettie in The Color Purple, 'nothing but death could keep [her] from it.'
She needs your help to produce that debut album. Latonya has launched an Indiegogo campaign, which helps new artists kickstart their careers. To learn how you can pledge to her cause, click here.