Blessing Offor Reflects on Losing Sight at Young Age: 'If You Are Going Through Hard Things, Embrace It'

"You have to have something hard in your life to appreciate something beautiful in your life," he tells PEOPLE

As Blessing Offor continues his upward trek toward genre-less stardom, one question has continued to swirl around the multi-week No. 1 Billboard artist.

Could 'Blessing' be, in fact, his real name?

"I literally just got off the phone with my dad the other day and we were talking about exactly this," Offor laughs during a recent interview with PEOPLE. "He was saying, 'Yeah, we named you right. You are a blessing. We always knew you would be.'"

Indeed, the birth certificate of the Nigeria-turned-New York-turned Nashville native does in fact list the name 'Blessing Offor,' much to the delight of all those who have felt the virtual sunshine permeating off his voice since breaking onto the music scene back in 2020. During the past few tumultuous years, Offor has scored cuts on the albums of everyone from Chris Tomlin to Lee Brice and released his debut EP Brighter Days back in February.

Blessing Offer Reflects on Losing sight at Young Age
Blessing Offor. Caleb Shane

He did all this while completely blind.

"If you're going through hard things, embrace it," explains Offor, who lost the entirety of his sight when he was just 11 years old after an accident and on top of the congenital glaucoma diagnosis that he had already received as a young child. "And then after you go through those hard things, look for the fruit that comes from it. You have to have something hard in your life to appreciate something beautiful in your life."

Some of that beauty continues to come from the memories Offor holds close to his heart of his home in Nigeria before his sight was taken from him.

"I feel like when I left Nigeria, my brain did this thing where it put all my memories on some sort of hard drive or some sort of vault in my brain," he says. "In Nigeria, you could walk miles and miles under a canopy of literal trees. It would be a sunny day and you could walk in shade. You'd see little dapples of sunlight on the ground, but there's so much greenery and forest that you could just walk in the shade for miles and never really get hit by the sun until you decide to, you know?"

As a teen, that sun began shining brighter on Offor, as he moved to New York City, and then later to Nashville to study music at Belmont University. Flash forward to today, as Offor preps to release his full-length debut My Tribe in January.

"I feel like my music falls into what I call 'the genre of humanity,'" remarks Offor, who garnered a 2022 Dove Award nomination for new artist of the year. "I want anybody to walk into this record and find themselves within it. I want them to feel the honesty of it."

It was an honesty that was created mostly during the lockdowns of the pandemic and that now will forever be able to be heard in songs such as "Feel Good" and his current single "Won't Be Long Now."

"The world was so busy making all the noise it likes to make, and all of a sudden, this thing we all went through together made us all sit still," says Offor, who will head out next year on tour alongside Christian rock artist Zach Williams. "We got to realize that we're not in control. I think that freaked out a lot of people, because we live our lives based on the idea that we are in control. But the fact is that life can turn itself upside down anytime it wants to."

It's this phenomenon that is occurring as we speak in the professional life of Offor, who made his Grand Ole Opry debut back in October, a performance that resulted in multiple standing ovations following his renditions of his song "Tin Roof" and his top 5 hit "Brighter Days."

"You know what's funny is that I think being blind is a humbling thing for me," concludes Offor, who hung out backstage at the legendary venue with the likes of Dierks Bentley and Rascal Flatts' Gary LeVox. "When I'm on stage and I'm playing and people are having the reaction they're having — whether it's a standing ovation or what — in my mind I just have to think to myself that I think they like it. I hope they're smiling."

He laughs.

"I feel like if I could look out and see the standing ovation, it would feel really good. But what's even more cool is feeling it. That feeling is magical."

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