The American Idol finalist talks
The 16-year-old Chula Vista resident and American Idol finalist is representing San Diego in a big way
You’ve never had any formal voice training. How did you get started? I think I learned by ear. I started singing Disney songs when I was two years old, and then by watching my home videos. There’s this videotape when I’m six years old, singing terribly. And then, there’s another video at seven years old. All of a sudden, I have this strong voice. It’s weird, I don’t even know where it came from.
What’s been your favorite performance so far? “Stuttering” by Jazmine Sullivan. It’s a song that I’d been wanting to cover even before the show, and I got to do it on the show, even though nobody really knew who she was. She’s like an idol to me.
One of this season’s most emotional moments was when the judges saved you from elimination on April 12. What was going through your mind in that moment? My mind was such a big blur I didn’t know what was going on, I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know where to go, I didn’t even know if they really saved me or not. I kinda felt like I was in a dream. It was crazy.
That same night, Randy called you “one of the best singers in America. Ever.” Did it register at the time? No. (laughter) I was like, “What’s going on?”
You always wear really high heels. Are you into fashion? Oh my gosh, yes! I love clothes. I love shopping. The best part of Wednesday and Thursday is not only singing and performing, it’s going to wardrobe.
Do you get a say in what you wear? Yeah, the show’s stylist suggests things, and pretty much all the time it’s fabulous. She is the bomb, especially for me because I’m into that edgy kinda look. So it works perfectly, but if there is something that I prefer more, then I give her my input and we work together.
Beyond the clothes, what’s the biggest perk about being a finalist on the show? Just being here. It’s amazing. I love everybody here. I love the contestants. I love singing in front of the audience and singing in front of America every week. It’s what I’ve been waiting for all my life.
What did you miss most about San Diego? Everything. I miss the perfect weather, and being in my bed. The people are so chill. It’s so slow down in SD. In L.A., everything’s busy and there’s traffic everywhere.
Are you excited about the American Idol tour this summer? Oh my gosh, ecstatic! It gives me a chance to see people who were eliminated earlier, and be with them. I love it so much that I cannot wait.
What are you most looking forward to in the future? My career. That’s what I’ve been looking forward to my whole life. This is one step, and after the competition, it’s another huge step. I am an artist, and this is my music, and who I really am.