In Memory of Nightbirde | “IT’S OK” by Nightbirde


Image retrieved from Nightbirde’s Instagram

Katarina Keeley, Photo Coordinator

“Here’s the thing, just because you’re sad or grieving doesn’t mean that you’re not grateful and it doesn’t mean that you aren’t hopeful. It doesn’t mean that you still aren’t fighting for your life, that you still don’t have it in you to keep going. But sadness and grief and mourning and lamenting and crying and screaming, being angry, these are ways we honor what was lost,” said Nightbirde. 

Jane Marczewski, also known as Nightbirde, passed away on February 19th due to cancer. She had been battling it for four years. The artist was only 31. She died six months after finding out that the cancer spread to her lungs, spine and liver. Those words came from her on Instagram with a caption explaining that she passed away. 

Nightbirde appeared on the 16th season of the show America’s Got Talent in 2021. She sang an original song called, “It’s OK” and told the judges that it was about the last year of her life. She also mentioned her battle with cancer, but added, “It’s important that everyone knows that I’m so much more than the bad things that happen to me.” 

In honor of her memory, here are the lyrics to her song, “It’s OK.”

“I was a stick of dynamite and it was just a matter of time, yeah /

All day, all night, now I can’t hide /

Said I knew myself but I guess I lied /

It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay /

If you’re lost, we’re all a little lost and it’s alright /

It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay /

If you’re lost, we’re all a little lost and it’s alright /

It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright.”

She received a standing ovation and touched the hearts of the judges. 



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A post shared by Nightbirde ⚡️ (@_nightbirde)

Howie Mandel said, “That felt like the most authentic thing that I have heard this season.” 

“That was surprisingly beautiful. It was powerful. It was heartfelt and I think you are amazing,” said Sofia Vergara. 

“You gave me chills. Your voice is so beautiful to listen to. It was beautiful all the way around,” said Heidi Klum. 

Simon Cowell has been known for his notorious strictness and blunt attitude towards contestants over the years. However, this time was different. 



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A post shared by Nightbirde ⚡️ (@_nightbirde)

“Your voice is stunning, absolutely stunning. I totally agree with what Mandel said about authenticity. There was something about that song after the way you almost casually told us what you’re going through,” Cowell said. He even started to choke up. 

Nightbirde said, “You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy.” 

Cowell gazed away for a moment and said, “There are, however, there have been some great singers this year and I’m not going to give you a ‘yes.’ I’m going to give you something else.” 

Then he used his only golden buzzer on her and hit the button. He went up to give her a hug and said, “Everything about that was really special.”

At the end of her audition, she told the people at home, “I have a 2% chance of survival, but 2% is not zero percent. 2% is something and I wish people knew how amazing it is.” 

Terry Crews told her, “You blew us all away. You are the voice we all need to hear this year.”

After her audition, it was not long until that clip of her audition reached 42 million views and her song, “It’s OK,” reached #1 on the iTunes charts. She also gained more than 100,000 Instagram followers. Today, her instagram account has 1.1 million followers. She clearly made an impact with not only her message, but who she was as a person. 

Unfortunately, she pulled herself out of the competition due to her health issues. She discussed her reaction to her song being played and downloaded millions of times. 


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A post shared by Nightbirde ⚡️ (@_nightbirde)

“There’s no way I would have ever imagined that. It’s a song that I wrote for myself in the middle of the night when I needed those words so bad. It’s beautiful to see the world welcome that song into their own dark night. I’m overwhelmed by it,” said Nightbirde. 

Mandel commented, “The entire world is suffering adversity right now and you are the poster human for courage in the face of adversity, for poise, for beauty, and for fight. That’s what we all need to do.” 

Cowell said, “Your health is your priority right now. I know that the last time we spoke, you actually said that you feel like you let people down. I just want to say on behalf of all of us that you haven’t let anyone down. Even though you haven’t competed, you’ve already won. As Terry said, your clip had such an impact on so many people; your courage and who you are.” 

“I love you all right back and I cannot thank you enough for the opportunity to have a moment to share my story. I think we’re witnessing such a beautiful picture of the human spirit and the triumph of the human spirit. I think it’s restored my faith in humanity a whole lot. To see people come together, seeing we all hurt, suffer and all have the potential to overcome. This is the most beautiful thing that has happened to me in my life,” said Nightbirde. 

Nightbirde truly became, and always will be, an inspiration. Especially because not only did she have health struggles, but she didn’t always receive the support that she needed through hard times. 

“Soon after I had gotten that 3-6 month diagnosis, my husband let me know that he no longer wanted to be married. You can lie to yourself and say you’re fine. You can go down those dark roads and stay there because it’s so tragic. Or you can go down those dark roads and come back,” Nightbirde said. 

She even was told that she should speak to a death counselor. 


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A post shared by Nightbirde ⚡️ (@_nightbirde)

“When I got that diagnosis, my doctor didn’t ask me, she told me that I needed to speak with a death counselor and prepare, which is nuts,” said Nightbirde.

Despite the lack of compassion that the doctor had, Nightbirde still saw the light in that situation. 

“I don’t think anyone has bad intentions when they do that. Everybody’s doing the best they can. Sometimes they think you should just accept it, lay down, and die in peace. But, that’s not the person that I am,” Nightbirde explained. 

What some people may not know is where the name “Nightbirde” came from. 

She explained, “I had the same dream three nights in a row. I had woken up and heard birds singing outside in the middle of the night. The first two times really were just a dream. The third time I woke up, I heard it in real life. I saw the birds outside my window at three in the morning. They were singing like it was daylight and something about that hit me. It felt so poetic that these birds were singing as if it was morning, but there were no signs of it yet. That’s what I wanted to embody.” 

Many people looked at her as a light and were truly inspired by her. She definitely embodied that positive and beautiful soul that was bright enough to help her through the dark times. 

When Simon Cowell heard about Nightbirde’s passing, he expressed how he felt during an interview. 

“She was so determined to beat this illness and when she left I was just thinking I really really really hope she is going to get through this. When I heard the news, it was tough. It was so unfair. It hit all of us really hard,” he said.  



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A post shared by Nightbirde ⚡️ (@_nightbirde)

Nightbirde’s passing has impacted many people around the world. Her authenticity shined a light in lots of people’s lives. Her song, “It’s OK” became an anthem for many people who have felt alone and has helped motivate them to keep going despite the hard times.

In Nightbirde’s final words, she spoke about how it is okay to be sad. It doesn’t mean that you’re ungrateful, rather sadness can be an expression of how important that thing is to you. Hopefully, her final message that she shared on Instagram can help us grieve her death. 

“Sadness is the soul’s way of saying this mattered. You have to feel it. You can’t fake the rest of your life like nothing bad happened and whistle a happy tune all day. That’s not what it is to be human. Everybody who might be getting a dose of this toxic positivity, “just be happy,” you don’t have to do that. And you don’t have to feel guilty for being sad. That’s something that I struggle with a lot. I used to believe that if I was sad it meant that I wasn’t fighting hard enough or I wasn’t grateful enough and that’s not true. Be sad and be grateful. Look at the twinkly lights and feel your feelings. It’s all real, the joy, the pain, and you do not have to pick one or the other. Life is beautiful or life is garbage. It’s kind of both sometimes,” said Nightbirde. 

In honor of Nightbirde’s memory, please consider streaming “It’s OK.”