Sal Gonzalez: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Sal Gonzalez: Wounded Veteran Inspires With Cover of "Ain't No Sunshine" – America's Got Talent 2014A wounded veteran who used music as a tool for his recovery sings an inspirational rendition of "Ain't No Sunshine" by Bill Withers. » Get The America's Got Talent App: » Subscribe for More: » America's Got Talent Tuesdays 8/7c on NBC! » Stream on Peacock: AMERICA'S GOT TALENT ON SOCIAL: Like…2014-07-02T01:00:01Z

Immediately following 9/11, Sal Gonzalez joined the Marines as a machine gunner under the 2nd Battalion. Two months into his tour, he lost his leg in an explosion. Since fighting overseas, Gonzalez has channeled his energy into music, and wowed the judges on Tuesday’s episode of America’s Got Talent with his cover of Bill Withers’ Ain’t No Sunshine.

Here’s what you need to know about the soulful singer.

1. He Describes His Disability As a Mild Inconvenience

Sal Gonzalez, sal gonzales prosthetic leg, sal gonzalez agt


Sal joined the Marine Corps in 2003 after graduating high school. He told WAFB last year that he doesn’t view his lack of a leg a a hindrance.

When a normal person looks at me, they think, ‘Oh, he’s disabled. He’s missing a leg.’ Honestly, it’s a mild inconvenience. It really is.

His good nature has certainly been contested, though. 10 of the 15 Marines killed during his tour were part of his unit. Gonzales added on that he tries his best to live for his fellow marines every day.

Life is too short not to enjoy every single aspect of it, and frankly, if I was out there drinking myself to death or doing drugs, or doing anything really badly, I would be dishonoring their memory.

2. He Spent a Week In a Coma

Sal Gonzales singer


Gonzalez lost his leg in a roadside explosion only two months after beginning his tour in Iraq. He spent a full week in a coma recovering from the accident, but describes that as being easier than the future he had to face. He told WAFB,

The hard part is getting lost in a bottle of whiskey or trying to fall asleep by drinking yourself to sleep or self-medication.

Gonzalez has spent his time away from battle working for the Wounded Warrior Project charity. The organization aims to raise awareness to the needs of injured veterans and service members.

In 2013, an article was posted at a local Baton Rouge news site detailing Sal’s experience overseas. Despite the obstacles he has endured, he maintains an unparalleled morale and positive attitude.

Life is too short not to enjoy every single aspect of it, and frankly, if I was out there drinking myself to death or doing drugs, or doing anything really badly, I would be dishonoring their memory.

3. He Practices Jui Jitzu

Sal Gonzales, Sal Gonzales war


Gonzales wears a prosthetic leg, and maintains an active lifestyle to keep his weight down. The veteran has practiced Jiu Jitzu for the past two years, and says it’s “a blast.”

4. He Wants the Show To Be Called ‘Merica’s Got Talent’

Gonzalez is playful with his tweets, and recently added a photo of himself in an American flag tank with the above caption. From his twitter account, we can see that he loves bowling and is very passionate about the Wounded Warrior Project. On Monday, WWP congratulated Sal for his wonderful performance, and commended him for everything he’s done to help the organization.

5. He Was Blown Up Seven Times In War

Sal Gonzalez war, Sal Gonzalez Wounded Warriors


In 2012, Gonzalez was interviewed at a performance by Yallwire to discuss his hopes of landing a record deal. He talked to Yallwire about his experience before the war, and how losing his leg shaped his songwriting.

Gonzales explains that in high school, he was part of a Spanish rock band, and relatively ignorant to country music. It wasn’t until he was stationed with men from Arkansas who grew up listening to the genre that he became well acquainted with the country sound.

When asked about losing his leg, Gonzales says:

I got blown up seven times total when I was in Iraq. In the two months I was there I got blown up seven times, and the last one, the seventh one, was the lucky winner– the one that got through and actually hit us.

You can watch the full video here.

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