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It is the kind of Horatio Alger story TV executives probably dream about when they come up with new ideas for reality shows.

A humble car washer from a small town in West Virginia, owning little more than the clothes on his back, comes to New York City for a talent tryout. He must stand in line for more than 12 hours before he finally gets his chance.

Turns out, the young man has the voice of a polished crooner. There are comparisons to Frank Sinatra. The judges love him. The voting TV audience loves him. At the end of a summer of shows and a memorable duet with a legendary superstar, he wins the million dollar grand prize, gets a recording contract and a gig at Caesar’s Palace.

This is the washrags to riches story of Landau Eugene Murphy Jr., who will perform at the Sellersville Theater on Wednesday.

It has been a little more than three years since Murphy won the sixth season of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” during the summer of 2011, but the story is still being written.

His debut album, “That’s Life,” hit No. 1 on the Billboard Jazz chart. He has also just released a Christmas album “Christmas Made for Two” and a co written autobiography, “Landau: From Washing Cars to Hollywood Star.”

Now he is putting the finishing touches on a third album, which, like his first two records, will feature classics from the Great American Songbook, with Murphy singing in front of a big band.

The scheduled date in Sellersville is part of a brief Christmas tour that included a sold out show in San Francisco.

The concerts will feature a mix of the standards singers such as Sinatra made famous, Motown Records classics and Christmas songs. On tour and on stage in Sellersville, Murphy will be joined by Glenn Leonard, an R and soul singer best known for singing for eight years with The Temptations.

“It’s still amazing,” says Murphy, who still has not lost his sense of wonder at his three year ride. “It’s been nonstop since “America’s Got Talent.”

“I’ve been to China. I’ve been to Germany. It’s crazy,” he says with a West Virginia drawl in a phone call from his home in the Mountain State.

Asked what he has enjoyed most, he says: “It’s just that I’m being myself. I never lost sight of who I am.

“All I wanted to do is make West Virginia proud of me and better my life. Now I’m actually just living my dreams, earning a living with what I like to do.”

Singing initially was not a part of Murphy’s career plans. At one time, the 40 year old says, he thought he might play basketball professionally. But music always was a big part of his life and the singing just came naturally.

At home, his parents were music lovers who listened to Earth, Wind and Fire and all the Motown greats, including Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye,
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Michael Jackson and the Supremes. Exposure to pop culture, including Looney Tunes cartoons, helped him to develop an appreciation for older music and artists, including Sinatra and his Rat Pack compatriots Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., he says.

He developed a knack for sounding like Sinatra on the playground. He’d sing “Love and Marriage,” known by his friends as the theme song for the sitcom “Married With Children.”

“They thought it was hilarious,” Murphy says. “They’d say, ‘You really sound like that guy.'”

If he made a great play on the court, he’d sing “Fly Me to the Moon,” and “everybody would just crack up,” he remembers.

“Music just became a part of my everyday thing,” Murphy says. “People would always ask me to sing.”

He’d sing while he washed cars, he says. Co workers would ask him to come out for bar karaoke nights and he’d oblige. For a while, he says, he sang with a blues band, which mostly did charity benefits around his hometown.

But there were lots of hard times. His parents divorced when he was 8 and his mother packed up him, his two brothers and two sisters and moved to Detroit.

Church and basketball were the only things that kept him out of trouble, according to his website biography. Still, the adjustment to the big city didn’t come easy and Murphy ended up dropping out of high school in the 11th grade and was homeless and living in his car for a time.

After moving back to West Virginia and marrying a childhood friend, Murphy hit hard times again. While he and his wife were away caring for her sick mother, their home was burglarized, leaving them with precious few possessions.

It was in the aftermath of that trauma that Murphy decided to go to the “America’s Got Talent” auditions. He arrived in New York wearing the only nice clothes he owned: jeans, a striped button down shirt and a jacket.

At the time, Murphy says, he was just hoping to gain enough notice to get his family out of their dire circumstances.

“I figured if I sing on ‘America’s Got Talent’ and sing ‘the American Songbook,’ somebody’s going to put me on a cruise ship,” he says. “That’s as far as I thought about it. I didn’t think about winning it.”

But Murphy had enough savvy and confidence to believe he had a certain wow factor that would push him through the process.

“My wow factor was that I had dreadlocks and I’m a 6 foot 4 and skinny, black guy singing Frank Sinatra,” he says. “That’s what was going to get me through the door.”

After singing for producer after producer,
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Murphy was the last person standing at the New York auditions. His appeal continued as he impressed show judges and continued to survive round after round in TV audience voting.