He has performed in front of two presidents, sung with Jennifer Hudson, appeared in magazines, released a CD and become a national spokesman for sickle cell disease.
All before the age of 19. All while suffering from sickle cell disease.
AJ Green spent much of his childhood in Las Vegas doctors' offices and hospitals after being diagnosed with the disease when he was 2 weeks old.
Always in pain, he found transcendence in music.
"I get my voice from my grandma, and I get my feeling from my disease," Green says.
Sickle cell disease is an inherited, lifelong disease. Those afflicted experience pain and fatigue, and Green is no exception.
"I never know when the pain will come," he says. "Mostly my joints hurt, but right now it's my back. Sometimes I am in the hospital for weeks or months."
Sickle cell disease creates sticky, crescent-shaped red blood cells that block blood flow and cause pain.
"There's no cure, so it's just something you have to deal with," Green says. "You can lessen the pain by drinking a lot of water. So I stay hydrated, and every two weeks I have a blood transfusion. It starts around noon and finishes at about 3 a.m."
A life-threatening disease may be a curse to some, but to Green it has become a blessing.
"I don't want to be known for just my disease," he says. "I want my music to be about triumph over any situation. I want to show people that no matter what you may be experiencing, you will make it through."
Green started singing in church when he was 5 years old. Through his minister, the Rev. Alfonse McCloud, Green discovered the DeBlanc Music Academy and Billie Cole, whom he credits for guiding his development.
"I will never forget the first day I heard AJ sing," Cole says. "He was 11, and he sang Yolanda Adams' 'Open My Heart.' I cried as he sang 'I feel so lost 'cause I don't know what to do -- I'm so afraid of disappointing you.' I knew that I had been touched by something incredible."
Green always has dreamed of receiving a Grammy, and the path to his dream began when the Make A Wish Foundation granted his wish of recording with a producer. Through the foundation, Green met producer Rob Chiarelli, who brought together musicians and industry executives to produce Green's album called "Whatever You Need." The album, which includes pop, rock, R&B and contemporary Christian songs, was released online at www.ajsmusicroom.com and is distributed through Walmart.
Then known as the "kid who sings in the halls," Green graduated in 2010 from Agassi Preparatory Academy. When Las Vegas resident and tennis Hall of Famer Andre Agassi was looking for a student to showcase at his annual Grand Slam for Children fundraiser last year, Green was the overwhelming choice. Elton John headlined the event and David Foster provided musical direction. The surreal experience culminated with a surprise visit from Jennifer Hudson, who joined Green onstage for a duet, "The Grand Slam for Children Changed My Life."
Last season, the producers of "America's Got Talent" contacted Green and asked him to be on the show. After a review of contracts and commitments, Green dropped out of the competition. "I couldn't make it work with everything else I had going on," he says. However, one very special memory of the show will always remain. After nurturing a Mariah Carey crush for many years, Green called Cole from the show with big news: "I'm only one step from Mariah. Nick Cannon hugged me."
Green may have been a bit awestruck by the possibility of meeting Mariah, but he remained cool and collected while performing for political royalty. With former President Bill Clinton singing along in the audience, last year Green delivered the national anthem at a rally for Sen. Harry Reid. After that performance, the Reid campaign asked Green to sing at another rally with President Barack Obama in attendance.
"I wasn't nervous about the president," Green says. "I was just worried I would forget the words."
Green on Oct. 15 unveiled the results of his most recent collaboration with Cole. Invited to perform at the Denim and Diamonds event benefiting children with autism, Green wanted to try something new.
"I didn't want to do the same thing I always do," he says. "Billie is developing a new girl group called Mozaiq, and we collaborated on how to incorporate them into my performance. The chemistry was great."
Mozaiq includes a theater student from the Las Vegas Academy, Serrina Nasrollahi, and two former LVA choir students, Raven Thomas and Heather Brown. Channeling the Supremes and Destiny's Child, the girls took Green's songs in a new direction as the show mashed Prince, Adele and even John Lennon with Green's original songs. Following that performance, Green and Mozaiq opened for Gladys Knight at Aliante Station.
When questioned about his personal struggle, Green offers his heartfelt perspective on life.
"Nobody is promised a day," he says. "We don't know our personal expiration date. We should all live each day -- really live it. "
The lyrics to AJ's song, "Jump," reflect the man inside:
"Hope remains the maker of your dreams.
"When the chance comes you gotta take it."
"Get ready. Take a step. And jump."