Question: Who has influenced your personal musical style?
Answer: Well, I definitely grew up around a variety of oldies: '50s, motown, and classic rock. My folks have played everything from rock, disco, pop, funk, and blues. My dad has always brought and played different genres like jazz, classical, and latin. With all this in my pocket, I feel I have a taste of everything for my influences.
Question: Who is your favorite male artist and why?
Answer: It's a toss up between John Lennon and Stevie Wonder. Both are outstanding vocalists who both made inspiring, motivational music and songs for peace. John Lennon was a voice of his generation, a rebel, and a badass if you will with a knack for witty lyrics and a two-toned voice. Stevie is a ball of fire and a prime example of a prodigy--with perfect songs as well as his pitch and a personality to match. He's simply a flawless artist overall.
Question: Who is your favorite female artist and why?
Answer: As a child and onto my teen years, I looked up to artists such as Aaliyah, Christina Aguilera, Avril Lavigne, and Kelly Clarkson. All have undeniable talent and a certain spark, and are all unique from each other. I still admire them and some more current female artists I favor would be Corinne Bailey Rae, Estelle, Janelle Monae, Amy Winehouse, and Esperanza. Alicia Keys and Duffy too. All of them have a sort of throwback style yet remain very fresh and contemporary.
Question: What was the first concert you attended?
Answer: The very first concert was Ziggy Marley when I was very young with my family, but the first one I begged for was Britney Spears when her "Oops
Question: If you could perform in any venue in the world, where would that be? Why?
Question: How has music inspired you?
Answer: Music is not just a part of my everday life, I'm surrounded by it every minute. If I'm not stickin' an ear out to hear that lovely song playing in a restaurant, then I'm singing five different ones in my head! Music continues to remind me that its boundaries are limitless. When a song brings forth different emotions, that's when I know it's really hit me. When it brings me to tears--or gives me the feeling as though I've just fallin' in love...I'm in another place where even "inspired" is an understatement.
Question: Do you have any formal singing training?
Answer: I took a couple short weeks worth of voice lessons in high school.
Question: What album would your friends be surprised you own?
Answer: Esperanza Spalding would be a perfect example of a complex artist that my friends would not be drawn to as I am.
Question: If you could perform with any person or group, who would it be and why?
Answer: It would be amazing to perform with Elton John.
Question: What do you do to unwind after a performance?
Answer: To unwind, I'd say a big ol' plate of anything scrumptious and a phone call to my ma--yeah, that would do the trick! :)
Question: Which theme week would be most challenging to you and why?
Answer: Honestly, there are parts of each decade that I really enjoy. What may be challenging is my very own birth year--since I was only a baby!! 1990 seems to be a tough pick.
Question: What theme week would you love to have for Season 10?
Answer: I think it would be real fun to go back to the big band era, which would really showcase everyone's voices. A flashback to the '60s would also be pretty groovy :). I feel I should have been born in that time with raw talent and wild colors! They're both right up my alley.
Question: What’s your dream song to perform?
Answer: I would love to perform "At Last" by Etta James.
Question: What makes a great performer?
Answer: I believe a great performer is someone who sounds just as great live as they do in the studio and vice versa. They should know how to work the stage. Everyone has their own "thing"--so whatever that may be, it must captivate their audience and leave them wanting more. And most importantly, they should look like they adore what they're doing and pour their hearts into each performance.
Question: How do you combat stage fright?
Answer: There has never been a time where I walked on stage and nothing came out. Nerves pump through me, but it's all really adrenaline. Being on stage in front of one or one million people is what I love to do. Sure my teeth tickle, I get goose bumps, and feel like an alien's in my stomach, but all I can do is remind myself that I love this feeling and I need to channel this vibrant energy to the people there to see me!
Question: How do you plan on differentiating yourself in the competition?
Answer: I feel that spontaneity is essential so I strive to make things happen on and off stage that weren't premeditated. It adds energy and spunk to any performance. I could be undeniably nervous, but once I get on that stage, I feel much more comfortable and always have a blast.
Question: If you could model your career after an artist, who would it be and why?
Answer: I would model my career after Corinne Bailey Rae. This radiant sugar plum is so talented and remains very gracious. Not only do I admire her vocal style, but the authentic emotion put into each word she sings pulls me in from the get-go. I respect the fact that she's so classy. She's not doin' it for the limelight, but because she feels it!!!
Question: If you couldn’t sing, what other talent would you most like to have?
Answer: Wow, well I would definitely love to be an actress. I've done many plays over the years, taken acting classes, and have been involved in improv groups so it is a passion of mine. And if it has to be a talent I don't possess--I'd say it would be a blessing to take after my dad and younger sister and play the guitar! Maybe someday...gotta cut those nails first!!
Question: What has been the most unique job/chore you’ve ever had?
Answer: I worked at an outdoor pool for four summers in a row! I was all over the place. I could be anywhere from the concession stand, to admissions, to the locker rooms cleanin' up the trash, or to my favorite--on top of the slides telling the kids and other guests when it was safe to go down. It was a very fun and social environment. (Not to mention a good place to get a nice tan!).
Question: How would you define success in life?
Answer: Success for me would be complete happiness in whatever I'm doing. As long as I'm enjoying what I'm doing and have control of my destiny while being surrounded by positive energy. If I can sing and connectr with a crowd for the rest of my life--that would be the best success there is. :)
Question: What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever seen or experienced??
Question: What’s your proudest moment in life outside of American Idol?
Answer: My proudest moment yet would have to be singingat the Montreux and Umbria Jazz Festivals all over Europe! I was only a senior and I jumped on the boat with my high school jazz band. They were an outstanding group of talent that never had a singer before I joined. So I was thrilled and honored.
Question: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
Answer: I write a lot of poetry, and more specifically, I've recently taken an interest in slam poetry. When I leave time for myself to write, I can quickly come up with rap-like rhythms that tell stories, hardships, and emotions. That's the key to slam, whatever you write needs to come straight from the heart and soul.
Question: If you have 24 hours to do anything you wanted, what would you do?
Answer: If I had 24 hours I would like to escape to other nations to experience and absorb the different musicalities and the beauty that lies within each.
Question: Who is the person that you would most like to meet?
Answer: I would like to meet Sir Paul McCartney. What an incredible day it would be to be able to pick his brain and try to figure out what made him the music man he came to be. So many questions
Question: Do you have a favorite quote, phrase or personal motto / words to live by?
Answer: I truly believe everything happens for an important reason. And with this I always say, "Que sera" - whatever will be, will be. Life goes on, but I'm also in much control of my own destiny. So all I can do is what I was planted on this earth to do and let it lead me where it may.
Question: What’s been the most surprising part of the Idol experience so far?
Answer: There have been many pleasant surprises here on Idol for me. First off, seeing the amazing talent each individual here has--it's just mind-blowing! Also, I found it very refreshing to see just how genuine the staff on Idol is. Everybody talks about the plasticity of Hollywood, but you never know 'til you're a part of a huge production and get to meet great people.
Question: What have you learned about yourself by going through the Idol audition process?
Answer: Each day here I find out more and more about my voice stylistically. I also find it easier and easier to perform on stage. I've sang on stage since I was eight, the majority in front of older crowds. This time I get to loosen up and come into my own; a free spirit.
Question: What are you hoping to get out of your Idol experience?
Answer: I'm hoping to attract many opportunities and get the chance to be a unique artist that I've always dreamt of being. Oh, and a record deal would be quite nice :) ! I'm soaking up every moment of this super surreal experience. No matter what happens (hopefully the best) I'll be taking great memories along with me and I will be more experienced on different levels.