Will Breman aims to break the stigma surrounding autism by having honest conversations about his condition

By Darlene Aderoju
December 03, 2019 05:02 PM
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Will Breman is a man of many talents.

The Voice top 10 contender wowed fans once again with an incredible performance of the hit song “My Body” by Young the Giant during Monday night’s episode of the singing competition. The musician, 25, left audiences feeling impressed after he hit the stage — but he was left feeling some pain after he “threw out” his right knee during his rendition of the classic song. Luckily, he didn’t appear to be injured throughout the evening.

Breman is one of three remaining contestants on Team Legend, led by PEOPLE’s Sexiest Man Alive John Legend. The artist, who learned to sing when he was just 3 years old, is living with Asperger’s — a high-functioning form of autism. He says Legend knows exactly how to work with his unique learning abilities.

“He will go over everything with a fine tooth comb and break it down into ways that I can understand,” Breman tells PEOPLE. “That’s perfect for me,  being on the autism spectrum and having Asperger’s syndrome, and just being analytical by nature. So to have all that together… I couldn’t think of anyone better to work with.”

Will Breman
Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

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Of working with the singing sensation and EGOT-winner (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony), Breman says the pair are like two peas in a pod.

“First up, it’s weird calling him John on a first name basis because early on I was just like, ‘Hi Mr. Legend,’” the California native admits. “But it’s honestly like working with another musician. It feels like a conversation with two dudes every time I’m with him. He has an ability to really put me at ease.”

While Legend, 40, and Breman have found ways to navigate the singer’s diagnosis, he revealed that his condition does have some negative effects.

“I definitely have a propensity off-camera for anxiety and depression,” he tells PEOPLE. “It definitely affects me in certain ways, so being here has been a huge master class for me in establishing a good routine of eating well, exercising well, sleeping well and most importantly talking about it.”

“For me, it’s talking about the autism spectrum,” he continues. “It’s there to kind of break stigmas. I think the more we talk about it, the more we have an understanding of what’s going on.”

Will Breman, Marybeth Byrd, John Legend and Katie Kadan
Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

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The rising singer says working with Legend and making his way to the top 10 has been an amazing experience.

“It feels unreal. At the beginning, all I wanted to do was to prove that I could turn a chair and maybe showcase a little bit of what I do on a national stage,” he says. “But to see myself in the top 10 out of 40,000 thousand people is just so insane.”

“It’s been an incredible life-changing experience,” Breman adds. “I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

Learning under the mentorship of Legend has proven beneficial to the singer who says he has a tendency to “over sing” and “over project.” His coach has taught him how to use his voice masterfully.

Will Breman
Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

“He reminds me to treat my voice like sugar and just use it sparingly and tonight was an example of that,” Breman tells PEOPLE. “I wasn’t doing a lot of runs, I wasn’t doing a lot of scats. I was just focusing on the performance and focusing on the music and that was all because of him.”

Breman’s skillful use of his vocals on Monday night’s show left Legend’s fellow coach Kelly Clarkson in awe. “That was incredible,” she raved. “It was like this was your show and everybody opened up for you.”

The singer felt great to receive such positive feedback from the coaches. “It’s humbling to hear that and it’s so crazy that they see that much potential in me. I’m just so grateful to all of them,” he says. 

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